In the wake of a successful final nuclear deal and the end of most sanctions, Iran is expected to have a lot more cash on hand. And it looks like it already has started to spend some of that windfall. The Times of Israel and AP report:
According to a Channel 2 report Monday, Israel has observed an increase in Iran weapons shipments to Hezbollah members — in Lebanon and on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Iran has also sent weaponry to Hamas rulers in Gaza and is even attempting to arm Hamas members in the West Bank, the report said.
“Israel warns: Iran is acting in recent days and weeks to prepare and arm Hezbollah for conflict with Israel, on a large scale,” Channel 2’s diplomatic correspondent Udi Segal tweeted later Monday.
Needless to say, this isn’t exactly a sign of a desire for peace, or that the Mullahs intend to use the nuke deal to reenter the community of nations. Instead, it suggests that Iran, which was already acting aggressive while in dire economic straights, intends to use its windfall to bolster its regional proxies. Such a move would not only give more resources to groups like the Houthis and the Assad regime that are already fighting, but also would raise the stakes of American or Israeli retaliation following any violation of the nuclear deal.
Iran’s regional behavior suggests every day that those who criticized the attempt to resolve the nuclear problem outside the context of Iran’s conventional, regional hegemonic push might have been on to something after all.