Four days ahead of a May 12th deadline, President Trump announced Tuesday that the U.S. will be backing out of the Iran Deal, and that new, tougher sanctions will be enacted to deter Iran’s development of nuclear weaponry.
Trump said, “If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons. Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran Deal.”
The partisan purveyors of doom and gloom are out in force, carefully painting catastrophic scenarios that result in the exact outcome that the United States is trying to avoid; a nuclear Iran.
Many Iran Deal supporters (like the Washington Post Editorial Board) claim that the only two options are the Iran Deal... or war.
This isn’t anywhere close to true, and it's an unfair framework. Pumping a theocratic and despotic regime with cash while simultaneously relaxing oversight and accountability is most certainly not a path to peace. And it's not the only option besides war.
I detailed last week how the Iran Deal is deeply flawed. It puts Iran on an easy path toward nuclear weapon development with no realistic penalty structure.
New, stronger sanctions will be imposed outside of the Iran Deal, which will deescalate the flow of cash to Iran since the Iran Deal was implemented. Israel and Saudi Arabia are on board because the last thing they want is a nuclear Iran, which would drastically distort the balance of power in the Middle East and destabilize the region.
Even though our European allies will try to salvage the deal (initially, at least), the United States should still be able to build the necessary cohesion with Europe. If, however, the European Union and United Nations are stubborn to work on new sanctions with the U.S. post-Iran Deal, then we might see more bilateralism from Trump, a la his TPP exit (or Britain's Brexit). Putting all that aside - the likelihood of Europe salvaging the deal without U.S. participation is slim.
Trump continued, “In a few moments, I will sign a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime. We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States. America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran would like to keep a deal in place with Europe, Russia, and China if possible. Regardless of Rouhani's defiant rhetoric, he understands that the Iran Deal is out of his control at this point. The Rouhani administration supported and negotiated the deal from its beginning, and with the deal beginning to crumble, Rouhani is running PR damage control on the home front.
On Laura Ingraham’s show Tuesday night, National Security Advisor John Bolton said, “What President Trump did by pulling out of the deal is get back to what the real objective should be: stopping this dangerous regime from threatening us and our friends around the world with nuclear weapons.”
This was a major decision in Trump’s second year – another significant reversal of Obama’s legacy – and he made the right move despite pressure from Europe, the U.N., and an American public that was deeply divided (or seemingly apathetic) about the issue.