Abbas Milani is the director of the Iran Studies Program at Stanford and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. Among his several books are Modernity and Its Foes in Iran (1998), Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir (2006), and The Shah (2011); most recently, he has co-edited, with Larry Diamond, Culture and Politics in Contemporary Iran (2015). (January 2020)
During his presidency, Trump’s strategy of “maximum pressure” and “restoring deterrence” have weakened America’s position on every count of its stated policy objectives in the region, while simultaneously, at least in the short run, strengthening the most conservative elements within the Iranian regime. Compared to three years ago: we have no nuclear agreement with Iran, let alone a more comprehensive one; we have enabled greater Iranian influence in the region, especially in Syria and Iraq, not less; and we have seen the Islamic Republic’s theocratic order become more repressive and entrenched, not more open or democratic.