Iran Nuclear Deal: Trump Drive to Ax Pact May Alienate …

F. Brinley Bruton and Ali Arouzi and Paul Goldman

President Donald Trump’s repeated promises to rip up the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal may accomplish what Tehran has been trying to do for decades — drive a damaging wedge between the U.S. and key European allies.

Trump has made no secret of his dislike for the 2015 agreement, which saw painful sanctions lifted in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program. On the campaign trail, he called it “the worst deal ever.”

On Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said “Iran is clearly in default” of U.S. expectations for the pact. He cited Iranian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, its development of ballistic missiles and “cyber activities.”

Tillerson added: “We have to consider the totality of Iran’s activities and not let our view be defined solely by the nuclear agreement.”

While the Trump administration also extended sanctions relief to Tehran under that deal, NBC News reported that Trump plans to sign off on a new Iran policy ahead of his first appearance at the United Nations General Assembly next week. The president is seeking to take a more aggressive approach, according to administration officials.

While there is broad consensus that Iran is abiding by the agreement with the U.S., Russia, China and three European powers, some American officials have hinted that Trump would decertify the deal when it comes up for renewal in October.

Image: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley

Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley