Iran has secured great-power patronage for the first time in four decades. Tehran now possess advanced centrifuges, a growing stockpile of highly enriched uranium, and a cadre of decent physicists and nuclear engineers. The clerical regime likely has no significant technical hurdle left to clear on its way to a nuclear weapon. Iran’s developing alliances with Russia and China have aided its atomic progress.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, as Iran’s nuclear program gained speed, the U.S. and Europe piled on sanctions, sometimes with the approbation of China and Russia. Today, geopolitics—as well as realpolitik nuclear calculations—are much friendlier to the Islamic Republic. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine made it crystal clear that Vladimir Putin doesn’t care for a world order led by Europe and the U.S. China, too, has retreated from being “a responsible stakeholder” in a liberal trading system. Instead it is trying to construct its own version of an East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, much of it designed to give Beijing dominion over Taiwan.

Mr. Gerecht, a former Iranian-targets officer in the Central Intelligence Agency, is a resident scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mr. Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Follow Reuel on Twitter @ReuelMGerecht. FDD is a nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

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