The nuclear deal was never perfect. But the Trump administration’s determination to derail it could have terrible consequences
Three years ago, the Guardian welcomed the Iran nuclear deal as a triumph of diplomacy. Though sceptics doubted its value, Iran has complied with its terms – surely a vindication of the patient, painful work invested in it. Yet the agreement has never had a chance to fully mature; and now it is on life support, in the words of one expert. Donald Trump’s visceral hostility to any success attached to Barack Obama’s name, and the hawkishness of those around him, made America’s withdrawal this spring all but inevitable. Now the US administration has reimposed blanket sanctions and will turn up the heat again in November with banking and oil restrictions.
The resistance of the EU and especially the “E3” signatories (Germany, France and the UK) is welcome. The question is whether it can save the deal. No one suggests that it is perfect – but it was the best reachable. Now the circumstances are worse: Iran is a stronger force in the region and the moderate president Hassan Rouhani has lost credibility domestically because the deal barely survives. So few believe that an improved agreement is in sight, and though the US administration denies that its real goal is engineering regime change, both its comments and actions suggest otherwise.