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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

Birx: Trump White House could have reduced COVID deaths by 30 to 40%

Deborah Birx, then-coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a news conference in the White House last November. Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deborah Birx, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator under former President Trump, told a House subcommittee this month that the Trump administration could have prevented tens of thousands of deaths during the early stages of the pandemic.

Driving the news: "I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining ... and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30% less to 40% less range," Birx said in closed-door testimony to the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, according to excerpts provided by the panel.

Study: Fear of debt keeps Latinos out of college

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fear of never being able to pay off school loans is keeping many young Latinos in the U.S. from going to college or completing a degree, according to a report published in September.

State of play: Latinos tend to have more difficulty repaying school debt than white student borrowers, according to Federal Reserve data, at the same time that they need more loans in order to afford tuition.

3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Biden administration objects to Israeli settlements plan

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (L) meets with Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has privately protested to the Israeli government over its plan to approve the planning and construction of more than 3,000 new housing units in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: The approvals for new homes in the settlements will be the first since President Biden assumed office, and come after Biden and his top aides personally pressed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to restrain settlement activity and decrease the number of new housing units.

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