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Trump and the Iran Deal: 5 possible outcomes



On Monday afternoon, President Trump declared via Twitter that his ruling on Iran Deal will come tomorrow.

The Agreement 2015 signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran – reverses economic sanctions against Iran. In return, Tehran gave up its ability to produce enriched uranium that could be used in a nuclear weapon. The President is known to oppose it and calls it "crazy" and one of the worst deals ever signed. At the election campaign, he promised to scrap them immediately.

As President, Trump has slowed down a bit. Although he decided months ago to decertify the transaction, he has not yet imposed any sanctions.

Until now.

According to the current rules, the President must decide whether or not to waive sanctions against various components of the Iran Agreement 90 days. He did that in the past.

But in recent months the President has signaled an interest to take a tougher line. Trump replaced several of his moderate foreign policy advisors with keen opponents of Iranian trade, including recently confirmed Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. Trump has also spent some time in consultation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the most bitter critics of the agreement.

With experts thinking tomorrow, Trump could make an effort to dismantle the deal more aggressively. Many predict that he will lift sanctions on the Iranian central bank. He can also decide to reinstate them with key Iranian business people and institutions. French President Emmanuel Macron says he believes Trump will give up the deal "for its own internal reasons". (The energy markets agree and are prepared for the worst.)

In truth, however, the Iran deal is rather complicated President has several different approaches. Here are the options sorted by deal to deal:

Deal: Trump decides not to reinstate sanctions. He announces that the United States will continue to honor the 2015 agreement for an indefinite period.

Theoretically, there is no reason Trump should not stick to the deal. All major international bodies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, say that Iran is completing its end to the agreement. However, the president is not convinced despite the strong lobbying of all European leaders.

The odds are basically zero.

Less agreement: Trump rejects the sanctions one last time. But he promises to do so in 90 days, unless Iran makes bigger concessions.

If Trump decides to go that way, he would give the other signatories some leeway to address some of the President's biggest complaints. Trump has criticized the deal because it has an expiration date. He does not like the agreement not prohibiting Iran from testing intercontinental ballistic missiles. And Trump has said that Iran must cut its support from groups like Hezbollah and stop supporting rebel groups in Syria and Yemen.

European leaders say that some of these problems can be addressed. But it's hard to imagine how. Iran has already said that it will not renegotiate the deal. And some of Trump's main concerns, such as Iran's support for groups like Hezbollah abroad, are outside the scope of the agreement. "I doubt [Germany, France and the U.K.] could reassure Trump in a way that would stabilize the deal," Iran expert Ali Vaez said in an email. "The time has come for Europeans to turn and try to keep Iran in line with the agreement without the US."

Even less deal: Trump continues sanctions on Iran, but says they will not be implemented immediately.

As with the above option, allies have the opportunity to return to the table. But it does not seem like they could make any significant changes. And with this more aggressive agreement, Iran would have even less incentive to participate.

No deal: Trump decides to lift sanctions on Iran and announces that the United States will begin to punish those who injure them immediately.

If Trump decides to reinstate the sanctions against the Iranian central bank. Companies and countries will have 180 days to stop buying oil from Iran. Those Who Do not Are Punished by the US

It is not clear what could happen next. Optimists say that this aggressive approach could be to bring Iran back to the negotiating table. In truth, that does not seem likely. It is not clear that the UK, France and Germany would play ball. Leaders from these countries have said that they will continue to comply with the agreement. And the Iranian ambassador to the UK told CNN last week that if the United States leaves the agreement, "it means there's no deal left."

Russia could also use the opportunity to try to weaken the United States its own agreement with Iran.

Really, really no deal: Trump could impose even more sanctions than he has to.

Experts call this the "nuclear option". Trump could decide not only to revive sanctions against the central bank, but also sanctions against 400 Iranian people and companies. No matter what happens tomorrow, Trump's reluctance to abide by the terms of the Iran Agreement has weakened the deal, probably deadly. As Vaez put it: "The first option would be the best, but also the one that Macron least called at the end of his visit." As for the others, he said, "They range from the unwanted to the frankly destructive, and everyone would at least spell the persistence of the damaging ambiguity surrounding the fate of the atom deal."


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