Whether Trump outright tears up the deal or simply orders his administration to take punitive actions against Iran, the end result may be the same: goodbye to the nuclear deal.
By Derek Davison
There will be plenty of time to dissect Donald Trump’s surprising victory over Hillary Clinton in last night’s presidential election, and what a President Trump will mean for American foreign policy generally. But one thing is clear: the nuclear deal negotiated between the P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China) and Iran may very well be among the first casualties of the incoming Trump administration.
Trump has been critical of the deal throughout the presidential campaign. However, as with nearly every other issue, his comments about the deal and what he might do with it in office were often unclear:
A businessman-turned-politician who has never held public office, Trump called the nuclear pact a “disaster” and “the worst deal ever negotiated” during his campaign and said it could lead to a “nuclear holocaust.”
In a speech to the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC in March, Trump declared that his “number-one priority” would be to “dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”
He said he would have negotiated a better deal, with longer restrictions, but somewhat paradoxically, he criticized remaining U.S. sanctions that prevent American companies from dealing with Iran.
By contrast, he has conceded it would be hard to destroy a deal enshrined in a United Nations resolution. In August 2015, he said he would not “rip up” the nuclear deal, but that he would “police that contract so tough they don’t have a chance.”
Walid Phares, one of Trump’s top foreign policy advisers and a long-time advocate of regime change in Iran, said in July that Trump will “look back at [the nuclear deal] in the institutional way. So he is not going to implement it as is, he is going to revise it after negotiating one on one with Iran or with a series of allies.” This notably puts Trump slightly outside the consensus of the Republican Party, which seems bent on simply destroying the deal. But that also means that any anti-Iran steps the Trump administration chooses to take will get virtually no pushback of any significance from a Congress in which both houses still belong to the Republicans.
Trump’s election also presumably gives his