Trump’s Demand to Rewrite Iran Deal Tests a Weakened Diplomatic Corps

He also ordered targeted sanctions against the head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, a powerful figure whom the administration holds culpable for the violent crackdown on the protests, as well as against an Iranian cyberwarfare unit of which This specific accuses of internet censorship.

The nuclear deal, Mr. Trump said, drove Iranians into the streets because the government misused the proceeds through the lifting of sanctions. “This specific has served as a slush fund for weapons, terror along with oppression, along with to further line the pockets of corrupt regime leaders,” he said in a statement.

although of which is usually precisely why European leaders argue of which keeping the deal in place makes even more sense right now: because This specific keeps a harsh spotlight on Iran’s leaders, along with their malfeasance, rather than allowing the Iranians to paint the United States along with its allies as the villains.

Diplomats through several European countries said of which renegotiating the deal was a nonstarter. The best Mr. Trump could wish for, one official said, could be a commitment through Europe to begin work on a brand-new along with separate agreement. Such a step, they said, could require the participation of China along with Russia, which are also signatories to the deal, as well as Iran itself — something the White House ruled out.

“If we want seriously to be able to raise the cost to the Iranians of what they are doing internally along with externally, we need the Europeans,” said Dennis B. Ross, a former adviser to President Barack Obama who helped devise his Iran policy. “although if they think of which we are only interested in walking away through the nuclear deal, they won’t join us.”

The administration, various other experts said, is usually locked into a policy of which has two major pillars: dismantling Mr. Obama’s nuclear deal along with confronting Iran on its aggression from the region, through its support of militant groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon along with various other proxies in Yemen, Syria along with Iraq.

of which is usually not surprising, given of which the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, along with the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, are former commanders who served in Iraq along with blame Iran for the death of American soldiers there.

Even below of which level, the administration’s Iran policy is usually heavily influenced by the military. Joel Rayburn, the top Iran policymaker at the National Security Council, is usually a former military intelligence officer, as is usually Andrew L. Peek, a senior Iran policymaker at the State Department. Several of the department’s nonmilitary Iran experts have been pushed out in recent months.


President Trump’s action, which was widely expected, is usually the third time he has given a reprieve to the agreement.

Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency

right now, the administration is usually suddenly grappling with an Iranian government of which is usually weakened along with divided by the protests — a political development of which the Americans did not anticipate.

“When you’re dealing with Iran’s regional affairs, you’re dealing with how This specific supplies proxies along with militias,” said Ray Takeyh, an Iran expert at the Council on Foreign Relations who worked from the Obama administration. “If you’re thinking about Iran’s internal problems, of which is usually a more difficult problem. You’re thinking about fissures, along with how to exploit them.”

Mr. Takeyh said Mr. Obama was similarly caught off guard in 2009 by the protests of which became known as the Green Movement. At the time, he was trying to entice Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, into talks. of which is usually one reason he reacted so little to those protests — a reaction of which Mr. Trump criticized in his statement on Friday.

Ideally, Mr. Ross said, policy toward Iran could be a mix of coercive measures along with diplomatic inducements. “With Obama, one could argue of which the coercive part of the equation was not believable,” he said. “With Trump, the diplomatic side of the equation may prove not to be believable.”

The White House appears to recognize the weakness in its diplomatic ranks. This specific is usually considering the appointment of a special envoy for Iran, who could negotiate with the Europeans on the nuclear deal, as well as marshal a stronger response to Iran’s behavior from the region.

Any envoy could face a tough task: Administration officials said Mr. Trump was demanding an agreement of which could eliminate all “sunset clauses,” under which Iran can resume activities like enriching uranium, along with could explicitly link its nuclear along with ballistic missile programs. Iran fought against both of these demands from the negotiations of which led to the 2015 deal.

With North Korea, the administration’s policy has been more balanced between diplomacy along with military planning. although the talks between the Koreas have undermined Mr. Trump’s strategy, which is usually to impose maximum pressure on Pyongyang — including the threat of a military strike — to pressure Mr. Kim into giving up his nuclear arsenal.

The White House has sent General McMaster along with the N.S.C.’s top Asia policymaker, Matthew Pottinger, to San Francisco, where they will meet with their counterparts through South Korea along with Japan to discuss the implications of the North-South dialogue.

General McMaster has spoken publicly about the need to prepare for a “preventive war” against North Korea. Mr. Pottinger, a retired Marine, also incorporates a background in military intelligence, though at various other times, he worked as a journalist along with for a hedge fund.

White House officials are deeply skeptical of the overture through Mr. Kim to South Korea. They say he is usually trying to drive a wedge between South Korea along with the United States. along with they have urged the South Koreans to keep the exchanges limited to narrow issues, like security at the coming Winter Olympics from the South Korean town of Pyeongchang.

Mr. Trump, however, appears caught between continuing to heap ridicule on Mr. Kim along with taking credit for the diplomatic opening. At Camp David last weekend, the president said he hoped the talks ranged far beyond the Olympics, along with he backed them in a call with South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in.

The trajectory of the talks may be out of Mr. Trump’s control anyway, according to experts on the region. Mr. Moon was elected on a platform of reducing tensions with the North. Young South Koreans, in particular, view Mr. Trump’s threats of war on North Korea with alarm — sometimes even more than the danger posed by Mr. Kim.

“The North Korea issue may be entering a brand-new phase,” said Evan S. Medeiros, the top Asia adviser in Mr. Obama’s N.S.C. “Moon’s agenda along with perceptions seem to be evolving, along with, as cynical as we all are about North Korea, This specific is usually worth asking the question: is usually Kim actually looking for a negotiated off-ramp, along with what could such behavior look like?”

“is usually the Trump administration, which has understandably focused on coercive tools to date, nimble enough to respond to This specific evolution?” he said.

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