The Iranian and U.S. flag on a stage at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015.
Carlos Barria / Reuters

Even as Iran dismantles large portions of its nuclear facilities and the United States lifts sanctions, critics continue to believe that Iran is bent on achieving regional hegemony, is increasing its support of proxies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen, and is likely to cheat on the nuclear deal. As Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio like to remind voters, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei continues to claim that “Death to America” is a pillar of Iranian culture. But instead of taking Khamenei at his word, which is meant more for Iranian hard-liners, observers should focus on Iran’s actions.

Iran has made historic strides. It has complied with the nuclear deal in full up to this point, sooner and more comprehensively than expected. It has returned a number of unlawfully detained Americans, and when U.S. swift boats errantly breached Iranian territory, Iran

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  • JEFFREY A. STACEY is an international security consultant based in Washington, D.C. He was a State Department official in the first term of the Obama administration and is the author of Integrating Europe.
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