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Trump gambles on different path to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions

11 May 2018

Many hoped that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ― vindicated by his success at the negotiating table ― would leverage his political capital and ease Iran's harsh security environment at home. Trump should stick to this principle in his negotiations with North Korea.

That task will be even harder now, analysts say. He declared he was making the world safer, but he also deepened his isolation on the world stage and revived doubts about American credibility with a rationale that contradicted the analyses of US and foreign intelligence sources.

"Iran's exports of oil to Asia and Europe will nearly certainly decline later this year and into 2019 as some nations seek alternatives in order to avoid trouble with Washington and as sanctions start to bite", said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.

"Looking into the next 18 months, we expect global oil supply and demand balances to tighten", Francisco Blanch, head of commodities research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in NY, said in a report.

Trump's onerous demands and his warning that Iranians deserve better than their current "dictatorship" will only heighten suspicions his ultimate goal is regime change. Israel is widely believe by the rest of the world to possess nuclear weapons, but the Israeli government has never formally acknowledged having them. And while he warned that, "America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail", he did not mention the Americans being held in Iran.

Congressman Kevin Cramer said, "Iran has proven why this deal was a bad agreement in the first place".

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Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the deal, which was reached during former President Barack Obama's tenure in the White House on Tuesday.

ZTE, it should be noted, was punished after it pled guilty in US federal court to illegally using a large quantity of American components in equipment shipped to Iran and taking deliberate steps to cover up the illicit activity. And for more on how that might work, we're joined by one of the key negotiators of the Iran nuclear deal.

In anticipation of Mr Trump's decision, Iran had significantly increased its exports of crude to 2.6 million bpd to customers in Asia and Europe, a tactic to increase the level from which the U.S. would ask Tehran to cut down.

"I think Trump is insane", one person said. But with the deed now done, what lies ahead, and what are the risks to the economy and stocks? To do that that, Kim needs China to ease up on the sanctions imposed in the wake of last year's nuclear test and missile launches, which have cut off the regime's ability to earn foreign currency.

The Iran nuclear agreement was about legacy, not security.

In Iran, demonstrators took to the streets of the capitol to protest the U.S.

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But there's a deeper problem with North Korea: tunnels.

Following Mr Trump's decision, the ball is now in Europe's court; and indications are that the continent's leaders want to try to preserve the deal.

"These people are being lost in the shuffle", Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter imprisoned in Iran for about 18 months, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer after Trump announced his decision.

Trump's message to the Europeans in the run-up to his announcement was that they must come up with a way to toughen the nuclear deal if the United States was to remain in it, said sources familiar with the discussions.

"I think it was a good move", said a 32-year-old programmer from Herzliya who declined to disclose his name.

"Now is time to add JCPOA to school curriculums as an example of the kind of deals that gave away Iranians rights, and Rouhani should be described as the official who signed it", one person tweeted.

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This reality is especially problematic for the side giving up major capabilities as once the weapons, their manufacturing and support infrastructure, the delivery systems they are to be mated with, and other elements of a nuclear weapons program are gone, bringing them back becomes a very expensive and time-consuming task.

Trump gambles on different path to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions