Donald Trump spent lots of time on the campaign trail vowing to “tear up” the Iran deal made by President Obama to avert Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Up to this point, the deadline for revoking the deal has been pushed down the road, but it comes to a head again on May 12 when the next self-imposed deadline is up to either kill the deal, or extend it further. Given the state of relations with Russia, and the negotiations with China over North Korea, ending the Iran deal could have wide ramifications.

The Hill reports on the current state of the President’s mindset which seems to be around a 50/50 chance of either renewing or revoking, as of now:

When Trump extended Iran’s sanctions relief in January, he pledged it would be the last time unless European allies agree to a supplemental deal to fix what the president sees as the fundamental problems with the nuclear pact negotiated by the Obama administration.

And while negotiations with the Europeans are ongoing, hopes for a solution are increasingly fading.

“Every single day I have a new percentage about whether we’re going to get a new deal. Today is 51/49 no deal,” said Behnam Ben Taleblu, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who favors fixing the deal instead of scrapping it.

Trump came into office vowing to tear up the “worst deal ever negotiated.”

The pact signed by the United States, Iran, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany provided Tehran with billions in sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

Trump sees three main issues: several provisions sunset, inspectors can’t demand to see some military sites, and it does not address Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for terrorists.

During Trump’s first year in office, his national security team argued it was in the U.S. interest to remain in the deal — a stance that influenced Trump’s decision to decertify the deal but not to re-impose sanctions. Decertification had little bearing on the deal’s fundamentals, but re-imposing sanctions could doom it.

Now, two of the administration officials who supported staying in the deal have been ousted and are being replaced with staunch Iran hawks.

With the turnover of security and defense personnel within the administration, hawks like the newly appointed National Security Advisor, John Bolton, will be taking a different line on Iran. If there is one group of people who seem to have some sway over Donald Trump, it appears to be the military commanders within the Pentagon. It’s amazing the Iran deal lasted this long considering how often Trump bashed it on the campaign trail. Clearly, however, he was following advice of those around him to leave it in place and see how it progressed. If Bolton gains stronger sway in the administration, Trump may be inclined to ignore the Pentagon and instead take a strong tact against Iran.

As Bloomberg notes, this may be Bolton’s chance to “kill the Iran deal”:

If you want to get a sense of just how the next national security adviser, John Bolton, fits into Washington’s foreign policy ecosystem, consider his lobbying last year against the Iran nuclear deal. The details here tell us a lot about how President Donald Trump’s next national security adviser understands America’s place in the world.

So eventually Trump settled on the current U.S. strategy: threaten to walk away unless America’s European allies agree to address its weaknesses, namely its sunsets, Iran’s missile programs and the weak inspection regime.

Not everyone agreed. Bolton wanted to rock the boat.

With the help of his longtime collaborator, Fred Fleitz, Bolton crafted a policy paper on how to exit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal title of the agreement intended to secure international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for lifting certain sanctions against the regime. An exit would be more involved than just announcing America’s withdrawal.

Bolton urged the Trump administration to pursue a diplomatic and political strategy that presented a paper on findings on how Iran was in breach of the agreement. He called for coordinating the decision with allies, but leaving Russia and China (two countries that negotiated and agreed to the deal in 2015) out of these consultations until the last minute.

White House officials at the time told me that Bolton briefed Trump on the plan (he has had access to Trump since his campaign in 2016). But eventually the president went with the strategy to try to fix the Iran deal instead of killing it altogether. Next month, when Bolton comes into his new job, he will have a chance to make his case again to the president — this time as national security adviser.

The winds are changing, and the next few months may prove pivotal when it comes to laying foreign policy groundwork for the next several years. A new lineup within the administration may be charting a new path which will further depart from the course set by President Obama. We could be entering a more hawkish time in negotiations, perhaps a time that will resemble the “cowboy diplomacy” of President Bush rather than the quieter, conflict-avoidance foreign policy of President Obama.

6 COMMENTS

  1. We could be entering a more hawkish time in negotiations, perhaps a time that will resemble the “cowboy diplomacy” of President Bush rather than the quieter, conflict-avoidance foreign policy of President Obama.

    Quieter, conflict-avoidance foreign policy of President Obama? Should this sentence read the sissified, wussified, girly approach of the most incompetent boob to ever be president.?

    Another mess for President Trump to clean up. A mess caused by KETCHUP KERRY and O’Bugger. I wonder how the Democratic lackeys of the MSM will spin this.?

    • Name calling is apparently your best game plan. I assume you picked up this habit from Swamp King Trump or perhaps Polluter Pruitt. Swamp King Trump wants “Polluter Pruitt,” to replace “Mr. Magoo”, the present attorney general.

      Swamp King Trump almost certainly intends to fire Citizen Mueller because he is terrified about what Citizen Mueller will soon do. Members of congress that support the firing of Citizen Mueller by Swamp King Trump will find many of their stripe swept aside by voters in the midterm election and the one thereafter.

      Since Swamp King Trump has made the biggest, messiest mess known to man, shouldn’t he and his tribunal be held responsible? Heinz Ketchup Kerry has long been gone from the arena and forgotten. Swamp King Trump still can’t let of his go of his hatred for O’Bugger and wastes countless hours of presidential time tweeting all about it. The Swamp King is also using presidential time to take care of his own sordid personnel affairs.

      • Hatred for O’Bugger? You are mistaking pity for hatred, after all why would President Trump hate an incompetent boob??

        As far as citizen Mueller is concerned, he probably is very glad that their are gullible, naive souls like you out there. That knowledge will allow him to waste enormous sums of the American taxpayers money, seeing that your hatred has blinded you to the fact that he hasn’t accomplished squat in his time as Special Counsel. Just the fact that he is taking advantage of those with frustrated liberal mindsets should be enough to have President Trump fire him. After all President Trump is obligated to protect all Americans, even those who hate him for destroying Queen Hillary.?

  2. John Bolton is just one more aged and warmongering mind that Trump has added to his inner circle. Bolton was one of the primary speakers in perpetrating the myth that Iraq, in 2003, was amassing weapons of mass destruction, and he still remains unapologetic about bringing about a war that had enormous consequences for Iraq and the United States. Bolton’s super PAC worked with Cambridge Analytica based out of London, England. It’s founders were Steve Bannon and Robert and Rebekah Mercer. Their research firm breached tens of millions of people’s data without their permission to craft targeted political campaign ads of which Trump was the prime beneficiary.

    On March 16, 2018 Facebook suspended the accounts of Strategic Communication Laboratories, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, as well as the accounts of a University of Cambridge psychologist Aleksandr Kogan, and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, Inc. Cambridge Analytica, all specialized in using online data to create voter personality profiles in order to target them with messages and ran data operations for Trump’s presidential campaign.

    • You seem fond of saying what Cambridge Analytica did for President Trump. Am I mistaken in saying that O’Bugger used Cambridge Analytica for the exact same thing in 2012. Are you telling me that it is perfectly fine for Democrats to as you put it craft targeted campaign ads using people’s info without their permission, but not Republicans? How hypocritical of you!!!?

      • You are so very mistaken in saying that Barrack Obama, or his campaign used Cambridge Analytica at any time—ever. His campaign did use Facebook and every time an individual volunteered to help out – for instance by offering to host a fundraising party for the president – he or she would be asked to log onto the re-election website with their Facebook credentials. That in turn would engage Facebook Connect, the digital interface that shares a user’s personal information with a third party, the Obama campaign.

        Notice that this was an invitation that came directly from the Obama campaign, which the volunteer could either choose to accept or reject.

        The big difference being that Cambridge Analytica offered no choices. They choose to secretly steal voter’s data in order to engage in psychological warfare.

        Meanwhile, the key owners of the outed Cambridge Analytica have already set up a new data company, Emerdata, whose owners and employees include Nix (former president of Cambridge), Rebekah Mercer, her sister, Jennifer Mercer, Erik Prince, the former mercenary (and brother to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos) who created the private military company Blackwater, now known as Academi. Same old crowd, ready to engage in more of the same.

Comments are closed.