Expert Voices

Without Iran deal, U.S. sanctions tool will lose force

Donald Trump speaking at White House lectern
President Trump announcing his withdrawal from the Iran deal at the White House on May 8, 2018. Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

In quitting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), President Donald Trump may have thought he could now subject Iran to “extreme pressure” from resumed U.S. secondary sanctions. But the outraged response of countries ordered to wind down their commerce with Iran within the next six months suggests that the U.S. sanctions weapon could become a boomerang.

The big picture: May 8, 2018, may soon become as infamous as March 20, 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq against the advice of many of its allies (especially France) and Mideast experts. In leaving the deal despite Iran's compliance, Trump has antagonized the rest of the world and undermined sanctions as a tool of diplomacy.