Peeling off our friends: Like in some breakups, our friends aren’t on our side. Our European allies lobbied you hard to stay in the deal. After you pulled out, Iran is going to amplify the message that in this break up, it did nothing wrong. In other words, Iran will play the victim card, particularly when Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with European signatories in Brussels on Tuesday.
We will probably hear escalatory statements from Iran while Zarif is in Europe. The regime will want to send a clear message that the stakes are nuclear: if the Europeans are unsuccessful in getting sanctions waived, Iran will potentially restart its program because its economic incentive for signing the deal will be gone.
Promoting fire and fury: Iran will use your decision to stir up fire and fury against the United States and our interests in the region. Iran has proxy forces in countries including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and Israel even said it was targeted by Iran from Syrian bases just last week. Israel pushed us to walk away from the deal (and has an ongoing standoff with Iran), so it may feel the brunt of an Iranian operational response to your decision. Pulling out of the deal can also be used as a way to inspire attacks against the United States and our allies because it feeds the narrative that the United States is evil and untrustworthy.
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