In breaking Iran deal, Trump goes on collision course with allies

There was an inevitability about Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally abandon the Iran nuclear deal.

As a candidate he declared the agreement, which includes America’s European allies as well as Russia and China, to be the worst deal in history.

Weighing options: Iran President Hassan Rouhani

This fraying of the transatlantic alliance will be welcomed by Vladimir Putin. Indeed fracturing that relationship has long been Russia’s primary foreign policy goal.

Thirdly, it could trigger an arms race in, as Barack Obama put it in a statement released hours ago, the most dangerous region on earth.

“If the constraints on Iran's nuclear program under the JCPOA are lost, we could be hastening the day when we are faced with the choice between living with that threat, or going to war to prevent it,” read Obama’s statement.

Fourthly, the decision could make Trump’s upcoming nuclear negotiations with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un at risk.

Writing in the Atlantic earlier today David Frum, a former advisor to George W Bush posed the question, “What happens if or when North Korea resumes weapons tests that threaten US cities at exactly the same time as Trump is blustering against Iran? Even one nuclear crisis is a lot; two in the same summer seems overwhelming—especially for a president whose thoughts are day by day consumed by his own ever-intensifying legal troubles.”

Who wins? Russian President Vladimir Putin

Sceptics of the deal disagree with these assessments. The hawkish Republican senator Lindsey Graham has already said in a statement that the deal was failing to constrain Iran’s support for terrorism across the region.

“I hope President Trump will work with our allies around the world to find a better deal which will truly end Iran’s nuclear weapons ambition and hold them accountable for being the largest state-sponsor of terrorism.”

But it remains hard to see how Trump can now expect to work closely with allies who he so wilfully ignores.

He is now, as the former vice president Joe Biden has already put it, on a collision course not only with America’s foes, but with its closest allies.

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