The Atlantic

Destroying the Iran Deal While Claiming to Save It

Insisting on a “better” agreement, and threatening to walk away, is a recipe for no deal at all.
Source: Heinz-Peter Bader / Reuters

President Trump’s recent “help-me-before-I-do-something-really-irresponsible” statement on the Iran nuclear deal could have been worse. But it should have been better. And it will almost certainly end badly.

Contrary to what many had feared, Trump didn’t void the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While he imposed some new penalties on Iranian officials, they were not of the sort that put the deal in immediate danger. He nonetheless chose yet again to attack and undermine an international agreement that, by all accounts, is working, to which America’s allies and partners are committed, and whose collapse would both severely undermine U.S. credibility and allow Iran to resume the nuclear activities it recently halted. By threatening to withdraw from the deal unless Congress and Europe implausibly and unilaterally alter its terms, Trump has put it on a path to collapse without any realistic plan for what to do if that happens.

Having been closely involved in the JCPOA negotiations, we know it is not perfect; no negotiated deal ever has been or could be. Yet insisting on a “better deal” and warning that one will otherwise walk

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