The Trump administration has no Plan B on Iran beyond “not Plan A"

Here Plan B begins to bear more than a passing resemblance to the Underpants Gnomes Theory of Profit. Step 1 is terminating the Iran Deal. Step 3 is Iran complying with all U.S. demands. Step 2? Step 2 is a wee bit hazy.

The White House fact sheet offers only one suggestion on this point: “President Trump will work to assemble a broad coalition of nations to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon and to counter the totality of the regime’s malign activities.” But how, exactly, does the administration propose to do this? Sure, Israel and the Persian Gulf countries are happy. But since they do not really trade much with Iran anyway, they do not add much to the coalition. It is not clear at all why Russia and China will agree to any changes in the JCPOA.

Reinstating sanctions undercuts the United Nations Security Council, as well as our European allies that are signatories to the JCPOA. But the only way Iran feels any uptick in economic pressure is through secondary sanctions pressuring European countries to scale back their trade and investment in Iran. So, in essence, the Trump administration is deciding that the way they will improve the Iran deal is by threatening to sanction our NATO allies.