Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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 Now that the U.S. has withdrawn unilaterally, Washington still appears to be counting on Iran's eventual withdrawal to apply a policy of maximum pressure on Tehran.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.

It's telling that no Trump administration official has been named to lead the alleged renegotiation effort, as Wendy Sherman did under Obama. Talk of building a new coalition against Iran beyond Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE remains just talk.

What's next: With the U.S. focused on the possible June North Korea summit, Iran is decidedly on the back burner. The Trump administration has yet to fully specify how it will reimpose sanctions. Countries that import Iranian oil are unsure to what extent they will need to reduce purchases, especially in a tight market with rising prices. Interestingly, their deadline to trim imports by a “significant amount” is November 12, a week after the U.S. midterm elections could overturn GOP congressional control.

The bottom line: Iran, which has threatened to withdraw from the nuclear deal following U.S. action, should stick with the deal at least until November. Then it will be better able to gauge the Trump administration's power and the international community's willingness to continue to buy Iranian oil.

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

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!