Expert Voices

Trump leans on distortions to explain Iran deal withdrawal

A woman reads Tehran Times on May 9, 2018 in Tehran, Iran. US President Donald Trump announced 'withdrawal' from Iran nuclear deal on May 9, 2018.
A woman reads the Tehran Times on May 9, 2018. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Trump’s decision to abrogate the Iran nuclear deal was supported less by a threat from Iran than by a misrepresentation of what the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) achieves.

The big picture: Many of the reasons Trump laid out for withdrawing from the JCPOA today were inaccurate. The deal does not pave the way for Iran to “reach the brink of a nuclear breakout”; in fact, it extended Iran’s nuclear breakout time from about a month to more than a year. It also rolled back Iran’s existing program, kept it under strict limitations and included a pledge from Iran that it would never seek a nuclear weapon.