The deal limited Iran’s ability to enrich uranium for eight years and reduced its stockpiles. Trump has called it the “worst deal ever”.
The US president has to report regularly to Congress on the state of the deal. The next scheduled report is on 15 October.
There’s no evidence Iran isn’t honouring its side of the deal. US secretary of state Rex Tillerson admitted as much last month at the United Nations.
However, Tillerson went on to claim, “It’s pretty difficult to say that the expectations of the parties that negotiated this agreement have been met.”
Those “expectations” relate to Iran’s conduct outside the agreement, such as its interventions in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
After Trump reports, Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose the sanctions that were lifted as a result of the deal.
These were first introduced in 1979 as a response to the Iranian revolution. Former president Bill Clinton increased them in the 1990s, as did Barack Obama in 2012.
The sanctions were ruinous for ordinary Iranians. They also strengthened the right’s grasp on the machinery of the state.
Iran began to develop its nuclear weapons programme seriously after former president George W Bush’s wars brought US troops to its neighbouring countries?Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama’s decision to broker the deal with Iran and four other states showed the limits of US imperial power. His attempt to contain China meant the US had to make compromises elsewhere.
There is little mood among the other signatories of the deal—Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany—for the US to reopen hostilities with Iran’s regime.
Even in Israel, which vehemently opposed the deal initially, opinion is split.
Trump has picked fights with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, challenged China and battled sections of the ruling class in the US.
Opening up a new confrontation with Iran, opposed by both the US’s enemies and allies, could be one of the nails in his coffin.