Iran. Iran poses the most significant threat to the Central Region and to our national interests and the interests of our partners and allies. We have not seen any improvement in Iran’s behavior since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), addressing Iran’s nuclear program, was finalized in July 2015. Iran aspires to be a regional hegemon and its forces and proxies oppose U.S. interests in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria, and seek to hinder achievement of U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and some Central Asian States. They also are working to subvert the GoI by establishing a long-term presence within Iraq’s security forces. Of note, Iran exerts influence and a degree of control over the majority of the nearly 100,000 Shia militias within the PMF. Furthermore, Iran has expanded cooperation with Russia in Syria in ways that threaten U.S. interests in the region.
The JCPOA removed a key threat posed by Iran for at least a number of years. Unfortunately, the agreement has led some to believe that we have largely addressed the Iranian problem set and that is not the case. In addition to its nuclear weapons potential, Iran presents several credible threats. They have a robust theater ballistic missile program, and we remain concerned about their cyber and maritime activities, as well as the activities of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Forces (IRGC-QF) and their network of affiliates.
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