Don’t Ask Tehran to Meet New Demands
As a candidate for president in 2016, Donald Trump pledged to stop wasting American blood and treasure on wars in West Asia. During his time in office, Trump instead further trapped the United States in the region and inflamed divisions to the point where a minor incident might quickly spiral out of control and lead to a major war.
The new administration in Washington has a fundamental choice to make. It can embrace the failed policies of the Trump administration and continue down the path of disdain for international cooperation and international law—a contempt powerfully evident in the United States’ decision in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, that had been signed by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union just three years earlier. Or the new administration can shed the failed assumptions of the past and seek to promote peace and comity in the region.
U.S. President Joe Biden can choose a better path by ending Trump’s failed policy of “maximum pressure” and returning to the deal his predecessor abandoned. If he does, Iran will likewise return to full implementation of our commitments under the nuclear deal. But if Washington instead insists on extracting concessions, then this opportunity will be lost.