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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

As much as President Trump would like credit for solving the Iran nuclear problem, he will not get far trying to replicate the approach his administration has taken toward North Korea. The facts on the ground in each country are simply too different.

The bottom line: Torpedoing the nuclear deal will not intimidate Iran into talks. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reiterated the country's position Thursday morning: "We will neither outsource our security nor will we renegotiate or add onto a deal we have already implemented in good faith."

First, North Korea already has nuclear weapons, which Kim Jong-un considers sufficient leverage to negotiate effectively with U.S. By killing the Iran deal, Trump will only convince Tehran that it should secure similar leverage — a bigger nuclear program, perhaps even nuclear weapons — before resuming talks. Trump may also find it difficult to squeeze Iran while continuing to squeeze North Korea, potentially giving Iran even more time to work with. After all, to keep North Korea talking and ultimately making concessions will require concerted and ongoing U.S. pressure.

Second, Iran has a true domestic politics with many competing factions, despite its authoritarian edifice. Although an absolute dictator may be swayed, Iran’s leaders, jostling for power and position, won’t bow to brazen intimidation any more than American politicians would. In fact, Trump’s tactics will likely embolden hardliners in Tehran, who will see an opportunity to sideline rivals tainted by an association with the U.S. — in which case everything that worries the U.S. about Iran will only get worse.

Why it matters: It’s a mistake for Trump to follow his North Korea model — which is still being tested — in deciding the fate of the Iran nuclear deal. A victory for hardliners in Iran will only put the U.S. in a more difficult negotiating position down the line, with much higher stakes.

Vali Nasr is dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Go deeper

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two assault rifles believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI said in a statement to news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Presidential Palace on March 10, 2021 in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.

Biden defends not immediately raising refugee cap

President Biden speaking with reporters after leaving his cart following his first round of golf as president at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Saturday sought to explain why he didn't immediately lift the Trump administration's historically low refugee cap.

Driving the news: Several Democrats accused Biden Friday of not fulfilling his pledge to raise the limit after it was announced he'd keep the cap. The White House said later it would be raised by May 15. Biden told reporters Saturday, "We're going to increase the number."