New York Times:
President Trump has flip-flopped many times during his first months in office. But none may be as consequential as his decision on April 18 to certify that Iran is abiding by the nuclear deal of 2015, paving the way for further waiving of sanctions. In just a few months, Mr. Trump has gone from promising to “tear up” the nuclear deal to allowing its extension.
The administration has now said it will conduct a 90-day review of whether lifting sanctions — as required by the nuclear deal — will be in line with American national security interests. But that timeline is not long enough to save the deal and stop the United States and Iran from sliding dangerously back to a path toward war.
There are a number of potential land mines on the near horizon. The first is in Congress, where a bipartisan effort is underway to introduce new sanctions on Iran that, despite the protestations of the legislation’s sponsors, would violate the terms of the nuclear agreement by adding new conditions onto the deal. If this legislation reaches the president’s desk, he will have a choice between rejecting it and keeping the nuclear deal alive, or signing it and causing an international crisis. By certifying to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the deal, it is now more difficult for Mr. Trump to push the United States out of compliance by adopting new sanctions or failing to renew the sanctions waivers. But anything is possible.
Another emerging threat comes from Iran’s domestic politics. Presidential elections next month may put Iran’s foreign policy back into the hands of the country’s hard-liners, who, much like Mr. Trump, define their country in opposition to the world. Despite the overwhelming support among the Iranian public for the nuclear deal, and despite projected economic growth of 6.6 percent, the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, is by no means a certainty...
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