As it mulls the future of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the U.S. finds itself at odds with Europe on policies toward the Islamic Republic. The existence of conflicting camps amongst the parties to the nuclear agreement means that, whether the accord is “fixed or nixed,” America needs to bolster its alliances outside the P5+1— and the solution can come through the often-overlooked Eurasian nation of Azerbaijan.
Long-held concerns over the nuclear deal came to the fore a mere month ago when an Iranian drone violated Israeli airspace near the Syrian border. Israel intercepted the drone, while Syria shot down an Israeli F-16. The clashes are a direct consequence of the nuclear deal’s enabling of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, to grow its military presence in war-torn Syria.
The White House responded to the episode by expressing its support for Israel, “to defend itself from the Iranian-backed Syrian and militia forces in southern Syria.” It was the latest example of the Trump administration’s stern rhetoric on Iran. At the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, President Trump stated that the U.S. is calling on fellow world powers to “confront Iran’s support for terrorists and block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.”
Earlier in January, Mr. Trump announced his plan to “fix” the nuclear deal, including a 120-day deadline for America and the deal’s European partners to impose stricter terms on the Iranians. If Mr. Trump cannot bring Europe to his side on the nuclear issue, the U.S. may pull out of the agreement brokered by the Obama administration.
But the president needs more than tough talk on Iran — he needs an action plan. America must be prepared for prolonged diplomatic tension with Europe over the Iran deal, meaning the U.S. should bolster its strategic alliances elsewhere.