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Eli Lake

Iranian Mayhem Is About to Get Worse

An expiring arms embargo underscores the limits of the U.S.’s “maximum pressure” campaign.

A missile on display in Tehran.

A missile on display in Tehran.

Photographer: STR/AFP

Back in 2015, desperate to reach a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program, U.S. negotiators made a fateful concession: The UN’s conventional-arms embargo on Iran, they agreed, would be lifted in five years.

The costs of that concession, one of the worst mistakes of those negotiations, are about to come due. The embargo is set to expire on Oct. 18, 2020 — and if it does, the situation in the Middle East is likely to get even worse.