President Trump Announces Withdrawal from the Iran Deal: NSI Experts Weigh In

This afternoon, President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an international agreement between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and the European Union. Below, NSI experts consider how this decision will impact regional stability and U.S. foreign relations.

May 8, 2018

Jamie Fly – NSI Visiting Fellow; Former Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Marco Rubio

“The Iran deal was based on a web of lies and obfuscations about the nature of the Iranian regime and the threat that regime poses to America and our allies.  Now that President Trump has removed the United States from the deal’s restrictions, the administration should confront Iran’s malign influence across the Middle East and do all possible to help the Iranian people achieve the freedom that they deserve.”



Matthew R. A. Heiman – NSI Visiting Fellow; Former Lawyer, National Security Division, U.S. Department of Justice and the Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq

“President Trump’s decision to end U.S. participation in the magical-thinking Iran deal, also known as the JCPOA, was correct as a first step.  The JCPOA involved the U.S. trading away billions of dollars in the form of sanctions relief for an alleged pause in Iran’s march to a nuclear weapon.  But it failed to address what happens after 2025, Iran’s belligerence in the Middle East, its continued development of ballistic missiles, and its sponsorship of terrorism.  Contrary to the Obama administration’s hopes for this being the foundation of a new relationship with Iran, the theocracy there pocketed the money and used it to continue efforts to undermine Iraqi democracy, send more resources to its proxy, Hezbollah, in Lebanon, provide cover for Bashar al Assad in Syria, and foment further instability in Yemen.  Step 2 must involve a comprehensive strategy by the U.S. and her allies to roll back Iran’s malign influence across the region.  The work has just begun.”


Jamil N. Jaffer – Founder, National Security Institute; Former Chief Counsel, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee

“The Iran deal was never worth doing for the United States – we gave up too much leverage for too little in gains; the complete failure of the deal to address the massive problem of Iran’s malign influence across the region and its support for international terrorism, combined with the deal’s short nuclear sunsets and its weak provisions on advanced uranium centrifuge research, ballistic missile development and testing, and surveillance of prior military nuclear work sites make the deal wholly inconsistent with U.S. national security interests, a fact recognized by the bipartisan majorities in Congress that voted against the deal negotiated by President Obama and his team.  President Trump is doing the right thing by walking away from the deal and returning us to maximum leverage by reimposing sanctions now.”


Andrew Keiser – NSI Visiting Fellow; Former Senior Advisor, U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

“The JCPOA went out of its way to avoid addressing Iran’s malign activities around the world. That sent a dangerous message to America’s adversaries. President Trump is right to reinstate sanctions until that behavior changes. The deal was not in the national security interest of the United States when it was signed and it is not today.”




Lester Munson – NSI Visiting Fellow; Former Staff Director, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

“We should hope the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran leads to a more robust and sustainable international treaty that imposes strict limits on Iran’s nuclear weapon and missile programs. Much diplomatic work needs to be done. The JCPOA notably failed to curtail Iran’s support for terrorism and its destabilizing of other governments; in fact, both increased since the nuclear deal was signed. President Trump has an opportunity to rebuild a new, international coalition that opposes Iran’s regime and he should take maximum advantage of it.”