The conflict in Yemen is intensifying. The U.S. Navy launched cruise missiles at radar sites in areas controlled by Iran-backed Houthi forces in retaliation for attempted missile strikes on U.S. vessels, and Iran reportedly sent warships to the waters off Yemen. The moves risked bringing Iran into direct confrontation with the United States and Saudi Arabia, its ally. But while Iran will not skip an opportunity to poke its regional rival in the eye, Tehran does not want overt confrontation with the United States in Yemen.
Islamic State remains strong. It may have lost ground in the Middle East this year, but it has upped its game beyond the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria, inspiring or conducting a terrorist attack every 84 hours since June.
The nuclear agreement will ensure that a barrier to dialogue with Iran is removed. In the short term, its regional impact will be minimal, but over time the agreement should temper Iran’s regional policy.