President Trump will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington this week, and both leaders are reportedly coming with an agenda. Not only do they want Trump to give them an exception to new tariffs and trade rules, they are hoping to convince the president that he should remain faithful to the Iran nuclear agreement.
Unfortunately, by taking this approach rather than addressing Trump’s concerns in a good faith fashion, these leaders may wind up trying our president’s patience.
From the campaign trail on, Trump has made it extremely clear that he thinks the JCPOA agreement is trash. He gave our European partners in the deal a time frame under which they could come up with some serious fixes to the deal. If they come to Washington empty-handed, well, let’s just put it this way: May 12 is going to be here before you know it. On that date, Trump will once again have to decide whether or not to certify the agreement. If he doesn’t, economic sanctions against Iran will snap back into place and the deal will be as good as dead.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Macron said he was worried about what might happen if Trump decided to take the U.S. out of the agreement. “I don’t have any Plan B for nuclear protections against Iran,” he said. “Let’s preserve the framework because it is better than a sort of North Korea situation.”
Meanwhile, Iran is taking a defiant posture. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, “President Macron is correct in saying there is no “plan B” on JCPOA. It is either all or nothing. European leaders should encourage Trump not just to stay in the nuclear deal, but more important to begin implementing his part of the bargain in good faith.”
That’s unlikely to happen, which brings us to the breaking point. The Europeans are either going to come up with a new agreement that Trump accepts (in which case the Iranians are probably going to walk away), or Trump is going to decertify the deal on May 12 and end it right there and then.
Frankly, it’s for the best. This Obama/Kerry-negotiated agreement has never been the peaceful plan that it was sold to us as, and there is no evidence that it has done a thing to curb Iran’s aggressive foreign policy. In fact, some experts believe that we are closer than ever to seeing war break out between Iran and Israel. The deal does not close off blatant avenues of cheating, nor does it keep Iran from immediately pursuing the bomb after a period of 10 years. Only at that point, they’ll be able to pursue the program with billions of dollars collected from a decade’s worth of sanctions relief.
Let’s end the deal, put the pressure back on Tehran, and see if we can’t get to the point where badly-needed regime change in Iran becomes a reality. Because that’s the only path to a truly safer future.