Five takeaways from Trump’s Iran announcement

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report GOP Rep calls on primary opponent to condemn campaign surrogate's racist video Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 MORE announced on Tuesday that the United States will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump had long expressed dismay at the terms of the agreement, negotiated during former President Obama’s second term in office and signed in 2015.

Beyond the decision to abandon what he called a “horrible, one-sided deal,” what were the main takeaways from his announcement?

A sharp break from Europe

The United Kingdom, France, Germany are all signatories to the Iran deal — and had all urged Trump to stay in it, in some shape or form.

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Recent visits to Washington by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson were focused on trying to find some way to keep Trump on board.

His decision to exit the deal is a rebuke to them all. 

Soon after the announcement, Macron, Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May released a joint statement expressing “regret and concern” over the decision. 

They also encouraged Iran to “show restraint” in response to Trump’s announcement and — predictably but crucially — said that they remain committed to the deal.

To Trump critics, the European response suggests that the U.S. has dealt itself a self-inflicted wound. 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Murkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump| Esper orders hundreds of active-duty troops outside DC sent home day after reversal | Iran releases US Navy veteran Michael White Davis: 72 hours cementing the real choice for November OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan MORE asserted that the withdrawal “will isolate the United States from nearly every major world power. It will weaken our credibility and global leadership.”

One European diplomat, in the hours before the announcement, warned the decision “will have various consequences that I think we have yet fully to understand.”

Trump supporters, of course, do not see it that way at all. 

But, at a minimum, the fact that traditional U.S. allies in Europe are in such stark disagreement with Trump complicates the administration’s argument that the deal deserves to be trashed.

One more ‘America First’ moment

Trump makes no secret of his distaste for multilateralism in many areas, from trade to security. 

Figures within his administration who had once sought to restrain his go-it-alone impulses, including former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonDeadline for Kansas Senate race passes without Pompeo filing Democrats launch probe into Trump's firing of State Department watchdog, Pompeo The Memo: Fauci at odds with Trump on virus MORE and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, have departed. 

In their place are more hawkish figures — Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoMurkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump Pepper spray fired during Tiananmen Square memorial in Hong Kong The Hill's 12:30 Report: NYT publishes controversial Tom Cotton op-ed MORE and John Bolton, respectively.

Trump’s basic argument on the Iran deal is that it does not look after American interests first, nor provide for American security. 

“America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. And we will not allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth,” he said in his remarks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House.

While Trump’s unilateral tendencies cause consternation among much of the Washington foreign policy establishment, his unabashed nationalism is clearly a draw for his supporters.

So too is his willingness to argue that he is following through on his campaign promises. 

“The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them,” Trump said on Tuesday.

A major Obama legacy, undone

Beyond the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iran deal was perhaps Obama’s biggest foreign policy achievement.

Trump had essentially erased it, at least so far as U.S. involvement is concerned.

Obama hit back in a lengthy statement in which he praised the deal as a “model for what diplomacy can accomplish.” In its absence, he warned, “the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East.”

Other Democrats attacked Trump for, in their view, being guided more by a reflexive anti-Obama impulse than by a fair appraisal of the agreement’s strengths and weaknesses. 

“Everything President Obama has done, this president wants to undo,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) tweeted. “An agreement that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is one thing that should never be undone just to satisfy a campaign promise.”

John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden's New Deal Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil MORE, the key U.S. negotiator of the deal during his time as Obama’s Secretary of State, released a statement accusing Trump of “throwing away” measures aimed at preventing nuclear proliferation.

Kerry had made a last ditch — and controversial — push to keep the deal alive. That in itself underlined how important it is to Obama and those who served him.

Iran: Now what?

Now that Trump has made his high-stakes move, all eyes are on Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sent mixed signals in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s announcement.

He gave some grounds for hope to those who want to see the deal survive when he suggested it would remain in place so long as its goals could be reached with the other signatories.

But he also warned that if those arrangements were unsatisfactory, Iran would once again begin uranium enrichment.

Trump pleases Netanyahu, again

Even as Trump’s move was met with disapproval in several capitals, he could take succor from the acclaim of one ally.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enthused that his government “fully supports President Trump’s bold decision today to reject the disastrous nuclear deal.”

Trump’s decision was a big victory for the Israeli prime minister, who claimed last week to have evidence that Iran had been “brazenly lying” when its leaders had insisted they were not pursuing nuclear weapons prior to the deal.

Netanyahu had previously praised Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. 

The supportive relationship between the two men is a marked difference to the chilliness that characterized Netanyahu’s dealings with Obama.