'I told everybody this is what I was going to do': Why Trump torpedoed Obama's Iran deal

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Leroy N. Soetoro

May 9, 2018, 2:08:17 PM5/9/18

The lobbying campaign to save the Iran nuclear agreement was intense and
took months. British Prime Minister Theresa May raised the deal with
President Trump in more than a dozen phone calls. French President
Emmanuel Macron pressed him on it during an elaborate state visit. So did
German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a one-day work trip in April. And the
Europeans made a Hail Mary pass Monday in the form of a White House visit
by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

But for Trump, the decision to torpedo one of President Barack Obama’s
signature foreign policy achievements had effectively been made last
October, when he declared that Iran was not in compliance with the deal
and called on European allies to negotiate better terms.

The foundation was laid even earlier, in fact, as Trump declared the Iran
accord one of the “worst” deals in U.S. history at his campaign rallies —
even mocking its architect, former secretary of state John F. Kerry, as
weak for having fallen off his bicycle during a visit to Geneva for

For Trump’s longtime advisers, the only surprise in Tuesday’s announcement
shredding the Iran deal was that it took the president 15 months to make.

“The administration just said, ‘Okay, we’ve been telling you all through
the campaign and the last year and a half this is where we are, and guess
what? This is where we are,’?” said former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a
Trump ally.

This isn’t the first time Trump has had to decide whether to continue to
waive sanctions against Iran. The first two times, his State Department —
then led by Rex Tillerson — advocated waiving the sanctions to provide
European allies time to address the United States’ concerns about the
agreement and work on fixes.

The second time, Trump, as well as Vice President Pence, expressed
skepticism but were persuaded by the secretary of state to give the
Europeans more time. In the administration’s private talks, officials
said, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis agreed with Tillerson to explore the
possibility of a supplemental agreement that would extend the deal’s
restrictions and curb Iran’s ballistic missile activity and nuclear fuel

The president’s aides argued Tuesday that Trump gave U.S. allies more than
enough time to come up with terms he would find satisfactory, but many
Europeans privately said that is disingenuous because the president has
long said he intended to rip up the deal.

“He didn’t get out of the deal until now because he gave repeated
opportunities to try to fix the deal,” White House national security
adviser John Bolton told reporters Tuesday. “The president wanted to let
all the efforts go forward, and he did, right up until just a few days
before the May 12 deadline.”

Unlike in October, Trump’s Cabinet put up little resistance to a decision
many viewed as a fait accompli, given the president’s March firing of two
key Iran deal defenders: Tillerson and national security adviser H.R.
McMaster. In their place, Trump installed two hawks and staunch critics of
the Iran deal: Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“Everyone’s on the same page now,” said one White House official, noting
that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose department oversees economic
sanctions, also shared the president’s instincts to withdraw, even though
doing so was expected to have economic ramifications. Mattis, perhaps
realizing he was outnumbered after the ouster of Tillerson, refrained from
aggressively rehashing his earlier opposition, said the White House
official who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss
a sensitive matter.

In recent weeks, administration officials have been strategizing over how
to manage the economic fallout, including possible spikes in oil prices,
and have prepared a number of contingencies, a White House official said.

Trump’s decision opens up a deep rift with U.S. allies in Europe who for
months have been locked in painstaking staff-level talks with their
American counterparts, led by Brian Hook, director of policy planning at
the State Department. The French, German, British and U.S. delegations
held monthly meetings in an effort to find common ground and avoid
sparking a new conflict in the Middle East.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the three European governments issued a joint
statement saying they “regret” the American decision and vowed to continue
to abide by the agreement.

Trump’s decision to impose sanctions on companies that do business with
Iran, after a brief grace period, has set off a scramble in European
capitals as they seek to protect their companies from punitive U.S.
measures. If European companies stop all commerce with Iran, experts fear
that Tehran may conclude that the deal is of little value and resume
developing its nuclear program.

Even as European leaders pressed Trump with these arguments, the
president’s advisers reminded him over and over again of what he had
promised as a candidate, according to another White House official. This
is the same approach some advisers, including former chief White House
strategist Stephen K. Bannon, took with Trump last year when trying to
urge him to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.

“One of the most powerful persuasion tools that anybody could possibly
have with Trump is to simply point out that you said you were going to do
this during the campaign,” the White House official said. “I’ve seen it
over and over again. He shrugs his shoulders and says, ‘I told everybody
this is what I was going to do.’?”

In the first major foreign policy speech of his campaign, in April 2016,
Trump outlined his opposition to the Iran deal. For a man who sees much of
life through the prism of winning and losing, Trump said he saw no chance
of winning without first walking away.

Christopher Ruddy, a friend of the president’s, said Tuesday’s decision
represented “classic Donald Trump negotiating tactics.”

“He’s saying, ‘I don’t like the deal, I’m ripping it up, I’m starting anew
and I’m going to fix things,’?” said Ruddy, chairman of Newsmax. “It’s a
hardball tactic that he’s taking, but it’s in keeping with how he
approaches things.”

Europeans long argued that the U.S. demands amounted to a violation of the
pact — something they were not willing to do. Trump’s decision Tuesday
left bitterness among the European delegation, some of whom felt that
Hook’s team stopped working in good faith in the final weeks as it
appeared that Trump had no appetite for salvaging the deal.

A senior Trump administration official denied the accusation, saying that
European opposition to extending the restrictions of the deal, also known
as the sunset clause, doomed the talks.

“We made great progress with the Europeans to address the full range of
Iran’s threats. But the last and most critical item in the talks were
fixing the sunsets,” the official said. “Unfortunately, the Europeans were
not able to accept our language fixing this deficiency.”

The American architects of the Iran deal condemned Trump’s announcement in
unusually harsh terms. Obama, who rarely reacts publicly to Trump’s
actions, issued a lengthy statement calling Trump’s decision “a serious
mistake.” Kerry said the withdrawal “breaks America’s word.” Former vice
president Joe Biden said it will “isolate the United States from nearly
every world power.” And former CIA director John O. Brennan called it
“foolish” and “dangerous.”

But within Trump’s orbit, the president was cheered for following through
on something he vowed to do as a candidate. In a statement designed to use
the foreign policy announcement to galvanize Trump’s supporters, campaign
manager Brad Parscale said, “Over and over again, President Trump has
proven that a promise made is a promise kept.”

Trump himself has felt confident that his decision to withdraw would not
cause global disruption — in part because of experience. When he
considered withdrawing from the Paris climate accord and moving the U.S.
Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, some advisers warned that those moves
would result in significant upheaval in America’s relationships with key
allies, not to mention economic and security challenges.

Ultimately, however, the backlash to both decisions failed to register
with Trump and he has concluded that critics overstated their case. This
has made the president feel more bullish about heeding his instincts to be
a disrupter on the world stage, according to a White House official.

“One of the funny things about Trump is that he’s tactically very
unpredictable but strategically very predictable,” Gingrich said. “He
actually has a broad policy consistency, whether it’s tax cuts,
conservative judges, deregulation, the Iranians, the North Koreans. He’s
willing to listen to you, but he’s not willing to be persuaded to give up
his strategic principles.”

Donald J. Trump, 304 electoral votes to 227, defeated compulsive liar in
denial Hillary Rodham Clinton on December 19th, 2016. The clown car
parade of the democrat party ran out of gas and got run over by a Trump

Congratulations President Trump. Thank you for cleaning up the disaster
of the Obama presidency.

Under Barack Obama's leadership, the United States of America became the
The World According To Garp.

ObamaCare is a total 100% failure and no lie that can be put forth by its
supporters can dispute that.

Obama jobs, the result of ObamaCare. 12-15 working hours a week at minimum
wage, no benefits and the primary revenue stream for ObamaCare. It can't
be funded with money people don't have, yet liberals lie about how great
it is.

Obama increased total debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in the eight
years he was in office, and sold out heterosexuals for Hollywood queer
liberal democrat donors.
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