It did not and now there is no doubt that Trump is tough on Iran. Indeed, Trump has withdrawn from the nuclear deal, reimposed sanctions on Iran even when it angered US allies, and designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. This can truly be described as a “maximum pressure” approach.
It is important to remember that the only reason Trump had to do all of this is because of the fatal flaws in the nuclear deal signed by six world powers and Iran. The deal could not stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. It could only delay its progress until 2024, which is just five years away.
Worse still, the sanctions relief allowed Iran to gain huge wealth for its temporary concessions on its nuclear program. This money has been spent on Iran’s ballistic missile program, terrorist proxies, and domestic repression.
The deal also had other problems. Namely that it failed to deal with Iran’s other malign behaviour, like its regional warmongering or human rights abuses.
So Trump canned the deal and focused on improving relations with its traditional allies in the Gulf, like Saudi Arabia.
Importantly, despite this tough approach, Trump doesn’t want war with Iran. He is very much opposed to military intervention abroad. Instead, he wants to bring the Iranians back to the negotiating table for a better, fairer deal. This won’t happen, of course, because the Regime is incapable of change so it will require regime change by and for the Iranian people.
Even Europe is beginning to concede that it might not be worth the effort to preserve a flawed deal with a rogue state, especially after EU foreign policy Federica Mogherini leaves her position later this year. After all, Iran plotted several terror attacks and assassinations on European soil since the nuclear deal was signed, most of which were thankfully caught by the relevant authorities before anyone could get hurt.
It’s clear that Iran is feeling the pressure with declining oil sales and a loss of $10 billion in revenue due to sanctions. This is increasing the Iranian people’s anger at the Regime, although in fairness their uprising began before Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal.
It’s clear that the US is no taking the Iran threat seriously and it’s clear that the rest of the world should start.