May 8, 2018 / 9:36 PM / 16 days ago

Special Briefing: U.S. withdraws from Iran nuclear deal

President Donald Trump has made his decision. The United States is going to withdraw from what he called Tuesday a "defective deal" – the multinational agreement to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons. Reuters Commentary has enlisted leading thinkers to address the global implications of Trump's dramatic course of action.

President Donald Trump announces his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement during a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst -

Trump's decision "significantly increases the chances of war" – and that may be exactly what he wants, says State Department veteran Peter Van Buren.

Iran would be further strengthened – and the United States weakened – in the Middle East, writes Nussaibah Younis. Why? Tehran’s efforts to get a pro-Iranian government elected in Iraq’s May 12 vote could force an early exit of U.S. forces, enhance support for Tehran’s agenda and aggravate regional volatility.

Trump made the right call, says Michael Makovsky, a former Pentagon official who now leads the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. The withdrawal offers “clear benefits” to pressure and isolate Iran, as well as more freedom for countries like Israel and the United States to take military action against Iranian nuclear facilities “if that becomes necessary.”

MORE COMMENTARY

Bullying Iran is likely to backfire, says former Iranian diplomat and nuclear negotiator Seyed Hossein Mousavian. “I know from firsthand experience that … the modus operandi of Iranian leaders when it comes to addressing pressure is to become inflexible, steadfast and retaliatory.”

Iranian-made Emad missile is displayed during a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, in Tehran February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

Was there a better way to contain Iran? Yes, says Carlos Pascual, a former U.S. ambassador who led the negotiations to impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports in 2012. Pascual argues that Trump should have worked for a ceasefire in Yemen instead – especially as sanctions will be harder to impose and less effective this time around.

Don’t expect Trump’s decision to curb Iran’s missile program, writes Maysam Behravesh. “From Tehran’s point of view, the missile program is a question of self-preservation, particularly because decades of Western sanctions have prevented Iran from building up a powerful air force.”

Trump’s objections to the deal are “dead wrong," and won’t help him in his upcoming talks with North Korea, says David E. Wade, chief of staff in the U.S. State Department when the Iran accord was signed.

For more from Reuters Commentary, see Deadline Iran.

BREAKINGVIEWS

Donald Trump just unloaded multiple bullets targeted at America's foot, writes Reuters Breakingviews columnist George Hay.

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U.S. withdraws from Iran nuclear deal
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