French President Emmanuel Macron is proposing a “new deal” with Iran that is just as sure to be rejected by other parties as the “fixes” demanded by Trump:
At a joint news conference today, French President Emmanuel Macron said he and President Trump had agreed to work on a “new deal” that includes the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran but incorporates additional measures.
The enlarged deal would contain three more “pillars”: assurances that Iran cannot reconstitute a large nuclear program after certain JCPOA restrictions expire in 2025; limits on Iran’s ballistic missile development and transfers of weapons to regional proxies; and diplomacy to resolve the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
Iran has repeatedly expressed its opposition to renegotiating the terms of the JCPOA, so a “new deal” isn’t going to go anywhere. Throwing in additional restrictions on Iran’s missile development and its support for proxies is a guarantee that Iran will want nothing to do with this proposal. Tying it to the settlement of ongoing wars seems like a recipe for complete failure. At least two of the other parties to the deal will have no interest in Macron’s “new deal,” and Germany has shown no appetite for revisiting the agreement, either. Besides being unrealistic, all of this is entirely unnecessary when the existing nuclear deal is doing exactly what it was supposed to do. Trying to “fix” a working agreement by trying to tack on several other unrelated issues isn’t going to produce a better agreement. It will just harm and possibly kill the agreement that already exists.
The U.S. and its allies have far less leverage today than they did before the JCPOA was completed, and Macron is talking about negotiating a more sweeping and more restrictive agreement than the existing one. The P5+1 correctly judged that the JCPOA was the best agreement they could get at the time, and they wisely chose not to link the nuclear issue to anything else because they knew doing that would derail the talks. Macron is proposing that Iran will somehow give up more under less international pressure and will make concessions on a range of issues that Iran doesn’t even consider to be up for discussion. That can’t succeed, and this is no way to try to save the nuclear deal. It just feeds Trump’s delusion that making arbitrary changes to an agreement after the fact will work.
During one of their joint appearances today, Trump denounced the JCPOA once again as “insane” and “ridiculous,” so it is hard to see how the president isn’t going to renege on the deal next month as he has repeatedly threatened to do.