The landmark deal to ease trade sanctions against Iran, in exchange for dismantling their nuclear weapon program, seemed to offer a path to normalizing trade with the most populous country in the Middle East. Iran even took the significant step of transferring its stock of weapons-grade nuclear material to Russia.
Then the country fired a missile ‘test’ in the vicinity of a U.S. Navy vessel in November. It was the second time Iran had tested a ballistic weapon in 2015.
The U.S. has promised new sanctions in retaliation for the provocative move. The White House delayed imposition of the sanctions, much to the chagrin of hawks who want to the U.S. to take a strong stand against Iranian aggression in the region. In response, Iran has vowed to accelerate its development of ballistic missiles if new sanctions are imposed.
The prospects for normalizing trade with Iran have dimmed, and the situation may yet escalte further.