President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal focused understandable attention on the parties which negotiated it. But the move also carries implications for other regional states, including Egypt.
In 2015, Egypt welcomed any initiative to stop a nuclear arms race in the region, but viewed the negotiations skeptically. “We would hope that the agreement reached between the parties would be comprehensive and fulfilling that would prevent an arms race in the Middle East and the complete elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons,” said Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Bader Abdul Atti. Three years later, former Egyptian Foreign Minister and incumbent Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit expressed the same skepticism, saying the agreements focus solely on the nuclear program; it “is not the only element that should be pursued with Iran because it implements policies in the region that lead to instability.”
While the deal limited Iran’s uranium enrichment for a limited time, Iran never stopped supporting terrorist groups targeting Egypt, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hizballah. And the deal failed to address Iran’s expansionist ambitions in the region.