Editor’s Note: Frida Ghitis, a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a frequent opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to the Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. Follow her on Twitter @fridaghitis. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author. Read more opinion on CNN.
While Washington is increasingly consumed with the impeachment drama, the globe has not stopped spinning and dangerous regimes have not stopped making menacing moves.
The latest news comes from Iran, where the regime has just announced it is injecting uranium into centrifuges spinning in a nuclear facility deep inside a mountain in Fordow, raising questions about Iran’s intentions to build a nuclear weapon. Since President Donald Trump announced in May 2018 that the US was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran has strayed further from the 2015 accord, which was also joined by China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the EU. Under the JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran agreed to limiting its uranium enrichment efforts and accepted monitoring from international inspectors in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Iran’s latest provocation is further evidence that Trump’s policy on Iran is turning into a disaster. That may offer some comfort to Trump’s critics, but it should not. Iran’s actions, which put it closer to a nuclear bomb, are extremely troubling because they raise the risks of war in the world’s most unstable region and boost the incentive for further nuclear proliferation among its Sunni Arab rivals.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sounded the alarm on Thursday, saying, “Iran is positioning itself for a rapid nuclear breakout.” That was a far cry from his swaggering response last year, when he predicted the sanctions in Iran would force Tehran to change its behavior. When asked what the administration would do if Iranians restarted their nuclear program, he replied, “We’re confident that the Iranians will not make that decision.” He was wrong.
Back then, Trump repeatedly blasted the Iran nuclear deal, calling it “the worst deal ever negotiated.” His plan was to reimpose harsh sanctions on Iran to pressure its leaders to reopen negotiations and strike a better deal than the original one spearheaded by Barack Obama’s administration. One of the main flaws of the JCPOA, accor