Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

How Trump Can Strengthen US Leverage Against Iran

| November 30, 2016

Before trashing the Iran deal — the agreement inked last fall, which limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief — the incoming Trump administration should consider how a policy of soft economic engagement with Tehran could provide Washington with strategic leverage and increased bargaining power in a post-Iran deal world.

Throughout his campaign, now President-elect Trump attacked the Iran deal, claiming that “it will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever negotiated.” The future of the deal now seems to be far less certain, as Trump fills key positions with outspoken critics of the agreement. Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Trump’s recent pick for CIA director, is well-known for his hardline stance on the deal, recently noting that it should be “rolled back.”

To be sure, the deal is not without its flaws. For one, there is still uncertainty around what will happen when the agreement expires in ten years, at which point Iran would be free to resume its enrichment program. Moreover, Iran recently violated the agreement’s cap on heavy water and continued to produce heavy water for two weeks after the IAEA learned of the violation. According to David Albright and Andrea Stricker of the Institute for Science and International Security, “the ongoing secrecy surrounding the decision-making of the Joint Commission is a serious shortcoming in the implementation of the JCPOA and raises legitimate questions about the adequacy of Iran’s compliance.”

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For Academic Citation: Arnold, Aaron.“How Trump Can Strengthen US Leverage Against Iran.” The Diplomat, November 30, 2016.

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