“Aggressive, unpredictable, unreliable”

It’s funny, Trump didn’t used to be this opposed to Iran. Now, between all the domestic scandals he faces, and his love of military power along with the warmongering far-right, he’s decided to reverse course and get aggressive with Iran.

“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Room. “The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing we know exactly what will happen.” In announcing his decision, Trump said he would initiate new sanctions on the regime, crippling the touchstone agreement negotiated by his predecessor. Trump said any country that helps Iran obtain nuclear weapons would also be “strongly sanctioned.”
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” the President said. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.” … “At the point when the US had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actually cash — a great embarrassment to me as a citizen,” Trump said.

One problem: what are the consequences of withdrawing? Iran’s nuclear program was going fine when they were under earlier sanctions, so imposing sanctions isn’t going to have much effect. As for the political situation within Iran,

Sadeq Zibakalam, a prominent political commentator and professor of politics at Tehran University, struck a pessimistic tone about the consequences of Trump’s decision in Iran. “Many people are worried about war,” he told the Guardian on phone from Tehran. “Whenever the country faces a crisis in its foreign policy or economy, the situation gets better for hardliners, they’d be able to exert their force more easily.”

He added: “At the same time, hardliners will gain politically from this situation, because they’ll attack reformists and moderates like [President] Rouhani that this is evidence of what they had been saying for years, that the US cannot be trusted, and that US is always prepared to knife you in the back.”

Zibakalam, who is close to the reformists, said he did not think it would take long for Europeans and other nations to follow in the footsteps of the US, because they won’t endanger their economic ties with Washington, which would outweigh the benefits of doing business with Iran.

Rouhani has taken an aggressive stance to jump in front of the hardliners.

“This is a psychological war, we won’t allow Trump to win… I’m happy that the pesky being has left the Barjam,” he said referring to Persian acronym for JCPOA or the nuclear deal.

“Tonight we witnessed a new historic experience… for 40 years we’ve said and repeated that Iran always abides by its commitments, and the US never complies, our 40-year history shows us Americans have been aggressive towards great people of Iran and our region .. from the [1953] coup against the legitimate government of [Mohammad] Mosaddegh Mosadeq government and their meddling in the affairs of the last regime, support for Saddam [Hussein during Iran-Iraq war] and downing or our passenger plane by a US vessel and their actions in Afghanistan, in Yemen,” he said.

“What Americans announced today was a clear demonstration of what they have been doing for months. Since the nuclear deal, when did they comply? They only left a signature and made some statements, but did nothing that would benefit the people of Iran.”

Rouhani said the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA) has verified that Tehran has abide by its obligations under the deal. “This is not an agreement between Iran and the US… for US to announce it’s pulling out, it’s a multilateral agreement, endorsed by the UN security council resolution 2231, Americans officially announcement today showed that their disregard for international commitments.. We saw that in their disregard for Paris agreement..

“Our people saw that the only regime that supports Trump is the illegitimate Zionist regime, the [s]ame regime that killed our nuclear scientists”

“From now on, this is an agreement between Iran and five countries… from now on the P5+1 has lost its 1… we have to wait and see how other react. If we come to the conclusion that with cooperation with the five countries we can keep what we wanted despite Israeli and American efforts, Barjam can cursive,” he said referring to Persian acronym for JCPOA or the nuclear deal.

“We had already come to the conclusion that Trump will not abide by international commitments and won’t respect Barjam.”

And the other signers to the Iran deal are keeping a stiff upper lip, at least for now.

According to the IAEA, Iran continues to abide by the restrictions set out by the JCPoA, in line with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The world is a safer place as a result. Therefore we, the E3, will remain parties to the JCPoA. Our governments remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld, and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case including through ensuring the continuing economic benefits to the Iranian people that are linked to the agreement.

Most commentators are united in calling the withdrawal a prelude to disaster. Most Americans were fine with the Iran deal. Most of the world is starting to get on board this train:

Last year, on a reporting trip though a few European capitals, something I heard over and over from European foreign policy officials: We remember 2003, and we’re starting to think this is the real America. Aggressive, unpredictable, unreliable, and dangerous.