President Trump has certified for the second time that Iran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord that limits its nuclear program. But the leaks and background briefings surrounding his statement, followed by new sanctions announced Tuesday, sent unmistakable signals: The decision was taken grudgingly, Trump is increasingly unhappy with Iran and the deal, and he may be looking for a way out.

Richard Sokolsky
Richard Sokolsky is a nonresident senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program. His work focuses on U.S. policy toward Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
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This is potentially playing with fire. The Iranian regime is repressive, a serial human rights abuser and expanding its influence in the region. Iran without nuclear weapons is a far less dangerous adversary. Unless Iran cheats big time on the agreement, there are four very good reasons why the administration would be well advised not to abandon it or take actions designed to push Iran to do so.

Signaling can be dangerous. Everything about the president’s certification, which is required every 90 days, seemed like a warning to Iran that the next time might be different. The White House put out the story that Trump spent 55 minutes of an hour-long meeting arguing against certification and that he’d been talked into approving it the first time around in April. Administration officials mentioned the additional sanctions and said they intended to strengthen enforcement policies in response to Trump’s request for a more hard-line approach...

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This article was originally published by USA Today.