Once again, Iran is in the crosshairs of the international community. After Tehran steadfastly refused to change its behaviour, spurning a plethora of opportunities that came their way, reports have emerged that the United States is actively planning to stymie Iran’s subversive activities — of providing financial material and support for terror, and destabilising the region, especially Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The recalibration of US policy towards Iran is intended to curb the regime’s dangerous pursuits in the region and force its hand.
Over the last few years, Tehran has actively supported sectarian forces that act as its proxies in Iraq and Syria, further complicating the volatile situation in these countries. Iranian backing of extremist groups and violent ideologies in Yemen has also continued unabated.
Apart from targeting Iran’s potential nuclear proliferation, the new proposal is expected to take on cyber espionage activities by Iran’s paramilitary and armed speed boats operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Tehran is likely to see a robust US response to arms shipments such as those to Al Houthi rebels in Yemen. The plan also recommends the US react more aggressively in Bahrain, where Iranian-backed elements are attempting to create instability. Also on the cards are tougher economic sanctions in case Iran violates the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
It is time for the leadership in Tehran to mend its ways, curb its ballistic missile programme and end its ruinous support for militants and shadowy groups who create havoc in the Middle East. As a key player in the region, Iran must act as a stabilising force, instead of promoting extremism and religious sectarianism.