Donald Trump
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Trump’s problem with the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration is that it’s working. According to both U.S. officials and the international body created to supervise the agreement’s implementation, Iran is complying.

Over the course of the presidential campaign, Trump insisted that the agreement was a disaster. It’s not at all clear that he has any idea what is/isn’t included in the deal and simply adopted that position as a way to attack President Obama. So when his advisors told him that it was working and failed to provide him with an excuse to abandon the agreement, apparently he had “a bit of a meltdown.”

Mr. Trump had expected to be presented with options for how to get out of the deal, according to two officials, and in the words of one of them, “he had a bit of a meltdown when that wasn’t one of the choices.”

Going forward, the president has made it clear what he expects.

President Trump, frustrated that his national security aides have not given him any options on how the United States can leave the Iran nuclear deal, has instructed them to find a rationale for declaring that the country is violating the terms of the accord.

Can we all agree that this is absolutely bonkers? Trump has decided that he wants to abandon the agreement so he has instructed his aides to find a rationale for declaring that Iran is violating it.

Here’s the plan they’ve come up with:

…according to several foreign officials, the United States has begun raising with international inspectors in Vienna the possibility of demanding access to military sites in Iran [something that is excluded as part of the agreement] where there is reasonable suspicion of nuclear research or development.

If the Iranians balk, as seems likely, their refusal could enable Washington to declare Tehran in violation of the two-year-old deal.

No one with half a brain is going to buy that nonsense. And already, Iran is going to the international oversight body to claim that it is the U.S. who has broken the agreement.

Iran believes new sanctions that the United States has imposed on it breach the nuclear deal it agreed in 2015 and has complained to a body that oversees the pact’s implementation, a senior politician said on Tuesday.

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, explains how this will affect our European allies, who are part of the agreement.

With the United States walking out of the Paris climate accord, cutting U.N. funding and sowing doubts about NATO and other trade commitments, the Iran agreement isn’t about Iran alone. It’s about upholding confidence in the international order.

So, if Trump pursues a meltdown with Iran, he will also trigger a meltdown with Europe. Another one, to be precise.

As an aside, Russia is part of the P5+1 that negotiated the Iran nuclear agreement. But given that Putin’s overall goal is to destabilize the international order Bildt is referring to, it is not at all clear that he would be opposed to a meltdown of U.S. relationships with our European allies.

Our plates are full with trying to keep track of all the ways that Donald Trump’s presidency threatens this country both domestically and globally. This, however, presents a unique danger. A meltdown with Iran from which our European allies (and the rest of the globe) distance themselves and leave us to go it alone is a recipe for disaster. People like McMaster, Mattis and even Tillerson are probably aware of that. Right now, they might be the only ones who can stop it from happening. But for how long?

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.