How the U.S. Can Deal With Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program

First Step: Don’t Destroy the JCPOA

Iran's Revolutionary Guards fire missiles during a military exercise near Qom, November 2006. Fars News / Reuters

When President Donald Trump announced last month that he had refused to certify the national security value of the Iran nuclear deal, giving Congress an opportunity to fatally undermine the agreement, he focused on a supposed shortcoming that has long concerned the deal’s critics: a “near total silence on Iran’s missile programs,” as he put it. The fact that Iran has continued its ballistic-missile program, the critics’ argument goes, demonstrates the failure of the nuclear deal (also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) to improve regional and global security.

These critics are right that Iran’s ballistic missiles are a threat to the United States, its allies, and its interests in the Middle East. They are wrong, however, that the continuation of the ballistic-missile program represents a failure of the JCPOA. Abandoning or undermining the JCPOA will, if anything, make it more difficult for

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