So why hasn’t Iran pulled out of that agreement, given Trump’s decision to re-impose the crippling sanctions that his predecessor lifted? One reason is that despite everything Trump has done in the last year, the agreement remains a sweet deal for Iran. If it complies with the deal’s limits for the next seven to 13 years, it can stockpile as much low-enriched uranium as it wants. In the meantime, it can install more efficient centrifuges and keep its once-illicit infrastructure.
Trump’s campaign of maximum pressure offers a way out of this flawed bargain. By waging economic war on Iran, the president is using the same tactics that pressured the regime into nuclear negotiations in the first place. Despite the PR campaign from Iran’s foreign ministry, the evidence shows that threats and pressure work against the Islamic Republic. This time around, Trump and his cabinet have vowed that any negotiations will also address Iran’s support for terrorism and its missile proliferation, along with regional meddling.
So instead of scrambling to come up with another special financial mechanism or a series of bribes to keep Iran in the deal, Europe’s great powers should respond to Iran’s latest threats with some threats of their own: If Iran abrogates its commitments to the deal, Europe will begin enforcing its own sanctions on Iran’s banks and oil sector.