(Slate) -- President Trump’s statement Friday on the Iran nuclear deal may be the most dishonest speech he has ever given from the White House—and, depending what happens next, it could be his most damaging. It flagrantly misrepresents what the deal was meant to do, the extent of Iran’s compliance, and the need for corrective measures. If he gets his way, he will blow up one of the most striking diplomatic triumphs of recent years, aggravate tensions in the Middle East, make it even harder to settle the North Korean crisis peacefully, and make it all but impossible for allies and adversaries to trust anything the United States says for as long as Trump is in office.
It is well known that Trump hates the Iran nuclear deal, which is formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. During the election campaign, and again in Friday’s speech, he has called it “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions” in U.S. history. And yet, all of his advisers, all the European allies who co-signed the deal, and even the vast majority of Israeli military and intelligence officers—including some who opposed the deal in the first place—have urged him not to pull out.
The problem, from Trump’s point of view, is that the Iranians are abiding by the deal’s terms. The JCPOA required Iran to dismantle the vast bulk of its nuclear program, essentially closing off every road to a nuclear bomb—in exchange for which the U.S. and the other countries would lift sanctions, which had been imposed as penalty for its nuclear activities.
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