President Trump will announce on Tuesday the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. This is according to European diplomats who claim that after meeting the US president they were unable to convince him to not do this. The diplomats also warned that America’s reneging on the Iran deal could put the West into new confrontations with Tehran.
The US withdrawal from the deal could prove to be one of the most consequential national security decisions by President Trump in his 15 months in office. One senior European diplomat who has been part of the negotiations with Trump said in a briefing with reporters that the chances of the White House sticking to the deal were “very small.”
The Iran nuclear deal was signed by former US President Barack Obama. The deal involved the lifting of decades of sanctions on Tehran that had crippled the country’s economy. Iran agreed in return to ship out of the country up to 97% of its nuclear fuel and abandon any future production. The deal was seen as a major diplomatic achievement by Barack Obama. However, President Trump has always had an issue with the agreement, calling it a “disaster” and “insane.”
After winning the election, President Trump appeared to tone down on the deal. Security advisors to the White House had managed to persuade Trump that the deal was a far much better option compared to any other alternative. It was feared at the time too that the US didn’t have any plan B on dealing with Iran. This line of argument came from former foreign secretary Rex Tillerson and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Both have already been replaced.
Mike Pompeo, former director of CIA, is set to take over as the foreign secretary while John R. Bolton as national security adviser. It’s not clear what role the two have played in Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal. However, John Bolton has been a radical critic of the deal and is on record calling for military action against Tehran.
In the 28 months that the Iran nuclear deal has been in place, international inspectors have confirmed that there’s no evidence of any violation. Trump has argued though that the deal doesn’t necessarily block Iran’s path towards becoming a nuclear-armed state. However, the agreement has delayed Iran’s nuclear research by 15 years. Trump has also said that the deal does very little to limit Tehran’s missile program and its growing influence in the Middle East.
The President is confident that he can push Iran into new negotiations, but US allies are already skeptic about this. Senior officials from the UK, France, and Germany traveled to Washington to try to make a case for the deal but it seems that their efforts were in vain. Although French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both think that the Iran deal has its flaws, but they have always had confidence that the deal can be improved.