PoliticsForeign Policy


Trump's Latest U-Turn: Renewing The Iran Nuclear Deal

He bombed Syria. He won't label China a currency manipulator. He likes NATO. Now, he's extending what he called "the dumbest deal you can imagine."
Posted at 9:16 PM, Apr 19, 2017

Candidate Donald Trump made it clear he was not a fan of the nuclear deal with Iran. 

"I think the Iran deal is the dumbest deal you could imagine. I think it's gonna go down as one of the worst deals in the history of this country, maybe of the world," Trump said in 2015. 

"I think it was the worst deal I've ever seen negotiated," Trump told Fox News.

But now, his administration is renewing the agreement.

This reversal seems to have become a bit of a pattern. Trump has flipped on positions, including labeling China a currency manipulator, military intervention in Syria and the importance of NATO. 

So, why didn't Trump rip up the deal like he promised? To figure that out, it's important to know what the deal actually is, and what it does. 

Struck by the Obama administration in 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action aims to keep Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal through economic incentives. 

In addition to the U.S., five other countries and the European Union agreed to lift sanctions against Iran in exchange for it's assurance it won't try to make or acquire a nuclear weapon. 

Even if the U.S. backs out of the agreement, new U.S. sanctions won't have much effect unless the other countries bring their sanctions back as well. Otherwise, Iran can just shop elsewhere.

And the JCPOA gives Iran a reason not to try to make a nuclear weapon.

And a nuclear-armed Iran could be very, very bad. 

The U.S. considers Iran a leading state sponsor of terrorism due to its support of militant Palestinian groups like Hezbollah, as well as its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

Even though Trump renewed the deal he heavily criticized, it is under review. That could mean Trump is looking for other ways to pressure Iran.