Expert Voices

Trump's strategy on the Iran deal: force Iran to quit

 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Heritage Foundation May 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Pompeo spoke on the topic of 'After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy.'
Secretary of State Pompeo speaks about the Iran deal at the Heritage Foundation May 21, 2018, in Washington, DC. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

Since taking office, the Trump administration has been challenging Iran to break the terms of the nuclear deal by denying its full economic benefits and casting uncertainty over the reimposition of sanctions. Now that the U.S. has withdrawn unilaterally, Washington still appears to be counting on Iran's eventual withdrawal to apply a policy of maximum pressure on Tehran.

The big picture: Conversations with individuals familiar with administration thinking suggest that there's no real strategy for renegotiating the deal. Secretary of State Pompeo’s recent “Plan B” was a political mission impossible that Iran — absent radical regime change — could never accept. And so far, the maximum pressure strategy has met with resentment from the United States' European and Asian allies.