“Protests and upheaval are sweeping Iraq and Lebanon. The wrath of demonstrators in the streets is being directed against their own political classes and at Iran’s government. Citizens in Lebanon and Iraq are not only fed up with economic mismanagement, ineffective governance, and entrenched corruption of political elites at home, but they also directly link their dismal situation to Tehran’s corrupting influence and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s exploitation of their countries to fund and arm militias unaccountable to their countries.

“Taken together with the extensive riots in Iran, U.S. President Donald Trump sees these developments as proof that his administration’s so-called maximum pressure policy of squeezing the Iranian economy is working. Not surprisingly, the administration is now determined to double down on its sanctions policy, convinced this will force Tehran to capitulate and seek negotiations with a new willingness to concede on the regime’s nuclear program and regional behavior…”

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