On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump fulfilled one of his campaign promises and took the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. In doing so, he broke the United States’ commitment to implement the deal in good faith and, notwithstanding his positive words on future talks, imperiled the possibility of a diplomatic settlement of the nuclear issue by undermining U.S. credibility in diplomacy. The end result will be a weak sanctions regime, an Iran that over time violates its nuclear commitments, and a Middle East that becomes even more unstable than it already is.
Even by the Trump administration’s admission, Iran has been faithfully implementing the nuclear deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will almost certainly confirm this fact by the end of May, when it issues its next quarterly report on Iran. Thus, the nuclear crisis to come will not be Iran’s fault, but rather that of the Trump administration and those who prodded it to renounce the one mechanism in the past 35 years that has reliably constrained Iran’s nuclear program.
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