Trump Is Going to Make a Huge Mistake on the Iran Deal

President Trump is expected this week to refuse to recertify that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal, a milestone diplomatic agreement that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Mr. Trump seems poised to take that action despite the reality that Iran is not violating the terms of the deal.

  • .. In fact, his key national security cabinet officers have publicly said that Iran is meeting its commitments.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is charged with monitoring and verifying the deal, has issued eight reports over the past two years echoing these conclusions.

.. Instead, the president seems prepared to argue that the deal is no longer in the United States’ vital national security interest because of Iran’s other activities in the Middle East

.. rather than take responsibility for deciding the future of the agreement, the president wants to pass the buck. The White House has signaled that after his certification decision, Mr. Trump will urge the Republican-controlled Congress not to reimpose sanctions on Iran that would scuttle the deal. Instead, he hopes Congress will pass new legislation to address concerns that were never part of the nuclear agreement’s original mandate.

.. this decision will breach the trust of America’s partners and isolate our country.

.. If President Trump undermines the nuclear deal, the repercussions for American foreign policy will be disastrous: It will drive a wedge between the United States and Europe, weakening the critical trans-Atlantic relationship and increasing the influence of Iran, Russia and China.

.. when the president travels to China next month seeking support to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program, he will find the Chinese less willing partners. Washington’s credibility will be damaged for the next time we want countries to agree to something, such as

  • condemning Iran’s malicious behavior in the Middle East
  • or tightening the screws on North Korea.

.. we are likely to lose any possibility of dialogue with North Korea because Pyongyang will assume the United States will not honor its commitments, even on multilateral agreements

.. unjustified unilateral American action will give the Iranians the moral high ground, allowing them to rightly say that it was the United States, not them, who killed the deal. At the same time, if Iran stays in the agreement with the other countries who are party to it, the United States will lose any standing to bring concerns to the Joint Commission

.. The United States, and the world, would lose our eyes and ears on the ground in Iran — the inspectors. This information vacuum could, in short order, lead us to consider military action to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities, perhaps leading to a wider war in the Middle East. Given the escalatory cycle we are in with North Korea, as well as Pyongyang’s and the president’s rhetoric, America will be faced with two countries whose nuclear ambitions threaten our security.


Iran and our allies in this agreement know that a congressional election is looming, and a tough stance against Tehran could make for appealing campaign ads. The president and the Republican-controlled Congress are not only playing with fire. They are lighting it themselves.