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The unconfortably reality is that not doing anything about Iran has become the norm.

Maybe Donald Trump was right about Iran this whole time. The Iran nuclear deal that the previous Obama administration negotiated was nothing more than a Ming vase. Its goal was to get Iran to stop uranium enrichment. The West must admit that it failed.

It should be stressed that Iran has continued developing its nuclear weapons program for a couple of reasons. Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi voluntarily abandoned his program, but he was eventually overthrown. Who’s to say whether he would have survived had he not abandoned his nuclear program, it is however unlikely that NATO would have intervened had he possessed nuclear weapons. This same line of reasoning is why North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un is ramping up his nuclear arsenal.

Ukraine surrendered its nuclear arsenal to Russia as part of the Budapest Memorandum in 1994 in exchange for security guarantees. As we all know now, those guarantees were not worth the paper they were written on. Now, of course, Russia has ignored its previous commitments to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty. That Iran is also providing Russia with drones and other arms speaks volumes.

Whether you like Trump or not, regardless of his motives, he made the correct decision in removing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. Iran has demonstrated little desire to halt its illicit nuclear activities and given its subterfuge, would have continued doing so even with a nuclear agreement in place.

In 2021, unofficial talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia began. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stressed that Saudi Arabia wanted “good and special relations with Iran.” In March of this year, both sides announced that they wanted to normalize relations. The plan is to reopen their respective embassies within two months. China had taken on the role of mediator in drawing up this agreement. The media took the result as a sign of China’s growing influence in the Middle East.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led military intervention called “Operation Decisive Storm” began in Yemen against Iranian-back Houthi rebels. Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates actively took part in the military intervention which was logistically supported by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. In July 2015, the United Nations declared an emergency in Yemen due to the escalating humanitarian crisis, while UNESCO declared two World Heritage Sites in Yemen threatened due to the armed conflict. Since then, lists have been drawn up to protect cultural assets from airstrikes.

According to the United Nations, thousands of civilians have been killed in Yemen with millions more impacted by the conflict. According to some estimates, at least 20 million Yemenis are dependent on humanitarian assistance.

The point of highlighting the conflict is that it directly relates to Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is hoped that by normalizing relations between the two countries, some long-term agreement can be found to end the conflict in Yemen.

Leena Adel and Ben Rich write in The Conversation that there is some hope on the horizon that the brutal conflict might come to an end. “Last month, China brokered a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a landmark deal that restored full diplomatic ties between the two bitter rivals. There was hope the detente could also bring an end to one of the world’s longest-running – and virtually forgotten – proxy wars in Yemen, as well. Indeed, peace talks have begun to end the eight years of a brutal conflict between a Saudi-led coalition of nine regional countries and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The war has created what is often referred to as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

The unsaid reality is that many people do not quite yet know what will happen with Iran. The realities on the ground don’t offer any clear guidance as of yet. What complicates matters is that Iran and Israel are constantly at odds, but Israel is also trying to develop a working relationship with Saudi Arabia so it’s a complicated issue. What is certain is that Iran is well on its way to becoming a nuclear power which complicates everyone’s lives whether you live in Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Brussels, or Washington. Fingers cross the whole region doesn’t blow itself up.

Eva Kneifel is studying Politics and History at FernUniversität Campus Hagen.