What’s Next for Trump’s Iran Policy? (National Review, June 8, 2020)

June 8, 2020

So far, the “maximum pressure” strategy has succeeded. If Trump wins a second term, expect it to continue.

President Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal struck by the Obama administration with Iran appears to be a significant success.

This success is seen in several ways: The withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has isolated Iran and has denied the mullahs the revenue they had been spending on their military, missile development, and the nuclear program. U.S. sanctions reinstated as a result of the withdrawal are also denying the Iranian regime funds to support terrorists and proxies, and may be forcing Tehran to pull its troops from Syria. Further, U.S. withdrawal has given the administration leverage to negotiate a new agreement that addresses the full range of threats Iran poses to the Middle East and the world. While Iran is currently refusing to discuss a new agreement, mounting evidence of Iranian cheating on the JCPOA plus a surge in regime-sponsored violent provocations against U.S. forces in the region have driven once-panicky European states closer to Trump’s approach.

Contrary to the evidence, the president’s critics insist his JCPOA withdrawal has been a failure. They do so on the grounds that there has been no movement on negotiating a better deal and that Iran’s belligerent behavior worsened after the U.S pulled out of the agreement. Many critics, already apologists for the mullahs, have become more open about it, claiming that the regime was in compliance with the nuclear deal and blaming Trump for provoking the ayatollahs to ramp up their nuclear program after the U.S. withdrawal.

Claims that Iran has complied with the JCPOA are inaccurate and false. Moreover, the regime’s reactions were expected consequences of Trump’s decision and do not discredit the withdrawal.

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