A boy poses in front of a model of Simorgh satellite-carrier rocket during a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, February  2016.
Raheb Homavandi / REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has put Tehran “on notice.” Earlier this month, Washington imposed fresh sanctions on Iran in response to its latest ballistic missile test, which defied the UN Security Council resolution tied to the July 2015 nuclear agreement. “The days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over,” said Michael Flynn, then U.S. national security adviser. Although the full contours of Trump’s Iran strategy still remain unclear, this long overdue measure marks an important first step in resuscitating a chief casualty of the landmark deal: U.S. deterrence.

The ongoing debate surrounding Trump’s Iran policy—should the president enforce the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, tear it up, or renegotiate it?—poses the wrong question and, in so doing, misconstrues the challenge facing Washington. For Tehran, the JCPOA now

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