CESD Brief: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Trump, Iran and Azerbaijan: how to be a good neighbour in a turbulent geopolitical context?

In 2015, the Obama administration – in a joint endeavour with the other UN Security Council Permanent Members (UN SC P5) and Germany – drafted an agreement regarding the peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear program. The agreement was labelled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). On 8 May 2018, the current US president Donald Trump presented his remarks denouncing the agreement and claiming it “a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program”. Donald Trump also addressed issues such as Iran’s development of ballistic missiles potentially delivering nuclear warheads to US soil, Iran’s support to insurgency groups in the Middle East (even naming Iran an Al-Qaeda supporter) and Tehran’s increased military spending. In light of Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal, the regional developments surrounding Iran deserve new attention. The decision-makers in Washington started revaluating Iran’s foreign and military policy, which become bolder in its neighbouring regions. Now, Iran’s influence stretches from the Mediterranean Sea coastlines to the Hindu Kush mountains; some consider the recent events in Yemen and Bahrain as Iran-inspired as well. As a testament of Iran’s increased influence, Iranian generals negotiate with Kurdish military groups and present them ultimatums on behalf of the central Iraqi government in Baghdad. The ‘Shia-Crescent’ concept has become a regional geopolitical reality.

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