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President Trump announces the U.S.' withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House on May 8, 2018. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump is nothing if not consistent. In announcing that the United States is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, he gave a familiar litany of reasons: Iran is still a bad actor, and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not enough to keep it from acquiring nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them when the restrictions in the deal begin to expire.

Yes, but: What Trump didn’t explain is how he plans to compel Iran into a new deal now that the U.S. has cheated on the old one. He also offered no incentives for Iran to return to the negotiation table.

Trump provided no details on how the old sanctions would come back into force or how the U.S. would deal with the many countries that want to continue trade with Iran. Restoring sanctions is a complex process that will take considerable time and face considerable pushback.

The spotlight now turns to Europe — which has said it will try to maintain the agreement absent U.S. participation — and to Iran. The consequences for this decision are likely to be severe: further weakening U.S. leadership, exacerbating conflicts in the Middle East and undermining non-proliferation norms.

What's next: Trump seems to think his decision will help his upcoming negotiations with the dictator of North Korea. But Kim Jong-un, seeing how a U.S. president has reneged on his predecessor’s commitments, is likely to demand more benefits up front. That will make the North Korea talks even more difficult.

The bottom line: The Iranian people Trump claims to admire will now face greater economic hardship, and the peace he purports to want for the Middle East and the world at large looks further and further away.

Barbara Slavin directs the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.

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