While a lot of people were reacting hastily in expecting dramatic shifts in US policy based on President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign speeches, the talk from some analysts of the Iran deal being effectively dead because of the reaction results seems particularly premature.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was particularly quick to downplay the risks to the deal, noting that as a multilateral deal between the entire P5+1 and Iran, no single government can practically overturn the deal. This has been a common misunderstanding by US Republicans seeking to derail the already signed deal with Congressional resolutions, and appears to have spread into the presidential primary.
While the US could conceivably renege on its obligations under the deal, and indeed that has been what some Congressional resolutions suggested doing, it wouldn’t overturn the entire deal so much as render the US the sole violator of it. If anything, such a move risks an international backlash from the other P5+1 nations, particularly those in Europe.
This reality has already been obvious in the first year of the deal, with the Obama Treasury Department slow to keep US obligations related to lifting sanctions, a fact which sparked criticism from Iran, but far more criticism from Western Europe, whose companies are losing out on massive deals with Iran because of US banking sanctions.
Faced with the reality that he can’t effectively “change” the Iran nuclear deal, Trump really has no reason to risk isolating the US economically by trying to roll back US compliance. There is simply nothing to gain, and plenty to lose.
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