President Donald Trump finally made good on his promise Tuesday to get out of the Iran nuclear deal. As I have written, I would have kept the agreement in limbo and let the regime’s clerics twist in the wind. But what’s done is done.
Much will be written about what the U.S. and its allies should do on the nuclear file. Iran’s leaders have made vague threats, and the West must prepare for the prospect of losing visibility into the country’s declared nuclear infrastructure. That said, the most urgent task now for Trump is increasing the odds of success for Iran’s democracy movement.
To understand why, consider the argument first put forward in 2005 by former CIA analyst and Iran specialist Kenneth Pollack. In his book, “Persian Puzzle,” Pollack said there were two clocks for Iran: a countdown to nuclear weapons, and a countdown to democracy. He argued that the best guide for U.S. policy was to try to slow down the former to give more time for the latter.