Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Offers a Strategic Alternative to President Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Approach on Iran
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Offers a Strategic Alternative to President Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Approach on Iran

Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress outlines how the United States can calm tensions with Iran and develop a framework for a new round of diplomacy.

The report argues that the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” approach to Iran has increased the chances of war and resulted in Tehran increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium—a move that further destabilizes the region. This approach has brought the United States and Iran perilously close to outright war on multiple occasions.

“The United States can’t just simply return to the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran now given how badly the situation has deteriorated in the region,” said Brian Katulis, a CAP senior fellow and lead author of the report. “We need to learn the lesson from 2015-2018: that without modest and steady efforts to increase stability in the region, a more comprehensive and lasting deal with Iran is unlikely to happen. Introducing more uncertainty in the regional landscape with erratic U.S. policy shifts hampers diplomacy.”

The United States needs to change its overall approach to the region and shift away from its heavy reliance on military tools, the report says. It should prioritize a diplomatic approach that aims for an interim deal on the nuclear question that allows broader discussions about a wider set of security concerns to take place. At the same time, the United States should support regional partners in their efforts to de-escalate tensions with Iran while simultaneously holding Iran and other countries in the region accountable for its acts of aggression against its neighbors.

Any new nuclear deal should be built on the foundation of a more comprehensive regional stabilization strategy that works to build up the defenses and address the legitimate security concerns of the United States’ Middle East partners—including implementing Obama-era security cooperation agreements with the Gulf Arab states.

Read the report: “Putting Diplomacy First: A Strategic Alternative to President Donald Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Approach on Iran” by Brian Katulis and Peter Juul

For more information or to speak with an expert please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 202-478-6327.