Donald Trump has opined that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal signed by several major world powers and the Middle Eastern state is one of the worse negotiated deals he has ever seen. He called US secretary of state John Kerry who negotiated the deal “stupid” and mercilessly mocked the former presidential candidate for being the worse secretary of state he has ever seen. This dubious honour was largely due to Trump’s view that Kerry was hugely out-foxed at the negotiating table by the Iranians. Trump has said that dismantling the deal would be one of his number one priorities as president.
But will he be able to? The challenge is going to be for Trump to get the other signers of the deal – UK, Russia, Germany and France – to follow suit and rip up the deal. Already, these countries have lifted sanctions against Iran and big oil companies, such as France’s Total have already begun to “explore” their options for Iranian oil and gas deals.
American companies are prohibited at this time from developing oil and gas in Iran. Trump’s foreign policy, which is still forming, is anticipated to be even more isolationist insofar as dealing with Iran. He seems inclined to reneg the deal in total and apt to try to get Europe to “do as he says.”
Conventional wisdom seems to be that if Trump pulls out of the deal or put his European allies on the spot, this could have serious, unwanted consequences for the United States. According to an article on CNBC.com:
But that course of action could have serious ramifications for the United States.
When the United States first tried to isolate Iran in 1996 by threatening sanctions on any foreign company that developed Tehran’s oil and gas industry, the European Union forbade companies from complying with the U.S. sanctions. Ultimately, the U.S. backed down and declined to enforce the sanctions.
The EU finally got on board a decade later after Iran’s covert nuclear program came to light.
But now, Europe — as well as Russia and China — would not be pleased if the United States sabotaged a hard-won deal that it helped negotiate. The agreement limits Iran’s nuclear program and gives international inspectors access to its atomic facilities.
Will Trump give in to the other players like Europe and China on this Iran nuclear deal and risk looking like a paper tiger? Or will he call his own bluff and risk alienating his European allies as well as his new friendship with Russian president Vladimir Putin?