About That Other Nuclear Threat…

Is the Trump administration trying to blow up the Iran deal — or just playing hardball?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets US President Donald Trump  prior to the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 7.
Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / IAN LANGSDON        (Photo credit should read IAN LANGSDON/AFP/Getty Images)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets US President Donald Trump prior to the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 7. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / IAN LANGSDON (Photo credit should read IAN LANGSDON/AFP/Getty Images)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets US President Donald Trump prior to the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 7. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / IAN LANGSDON (Photo credit should read IAN LANGSDON/AFP/Getty Images)

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton penned an open appeal to President Donald Trump last week, recommending U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Bolton says that he has effectively been shut out of the West Wing, despite being asked by former chief strategist Steve Bannon to draw up just such a plan.

The president repeatedly railed against the deal on the campaign trail pledging to “rip it up” on Day One. Yet the administration has already twice certified Iran’s compliance. With another congressionally mandated certification deadline looming, will the administration follow through on threats to withdraw from the international agreement?

On this week’s first episode of The E.R, FP’s executive editor for the web Ben Pauker is joined by Mike Doran, Will Tobey, and Dan de Luce to weigh the options. Can the fragile framework of JCPOA hold, even if Iran plays slightly outside its bounds? Or will the White House try to re-sanction its way out of a nuclear-armed Iran?

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton penned an open appeal to President Donald Trump last week, recommending U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Bolton says that he has effectively been shut out of the West Wing, despite being asked by former chief strategist Steve Bannon to draw up just such a plan.

The president repeatedly railed against the deal on the campaign trail pledging to “rip it up” on Day One. Yet the administration has already twice certified Iran’s compliance. With another congressionally mandated certification deadline looming, will the administration follow through on threats to withdraw from the international agreement?

On this week’s first episode of The E.R, FP’s executive editor for the web Ben Pauker is joined by Mike Doran, Will Tobey, and Dan de Luce to weigh the options. Can the fragile framework of JCPOA hold, even if Iran plays slightly outside its bounds? Or will the White House try to re-sanction its way out of a nuclear-armed Iran?

Michael Doran is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Doran served in the George W. Bush White House as a senior director in the National Security Council, where he was responsible for helping to devise and coordinate United States strategies on a variety of Middle East issues, including Arab-Israeli relations and U.S. efforts to contain Iran and Syria. He is the author of Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter: @Doranimated.

William Tobey is a senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs was most recently deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration. There, he managed the U.S. government’s largest program to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism by detecting, securing, and disposing of dangerous nuclear material. He has participated in international negotiations ranging from the START talks with the Soviet Union to the Six Party Talks with North Korea.

Dan De Luce is FP’s chief national security correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @dandeluce.

Ben Pauker is FP’s executive editor for the web. Follow him on Twitter: @benpauker.

Tune in, now three times a week, to FP’s The E.R.

Subscribe to The E.R. and Global Thinkers podcasts on iTunes.

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.