President Trump seemingly served notice Friday that the days are dwindling for Barack Obama’s Iran agreement. Although deal proponents also gained time to pursue “fixes,” this is a forlorn option. No fix will remedy the diplomatic Waterloo Mr. Obama negotiated. Democrats will reject anything that endangers his prized international contrivance, and the Europeans are more interested in trade with Tehran than a stronger agreement.
There is an even more fundamental obstacle: Iran. Negotiating with Congress and Europe will not modify the actual deal’s terms, which Iran (buttressed by Russia and China) has no interest in changing. Increased inspections, for example, is a nonstarter for Tehran. Mr. Obama gave the ayatollahs what they wanted; they will not give it back.
Most important, there is no evidence Iran’s intention to obtain deliverable nuclear weapons has wavered. None of the proposed “fixes” change this basic, unanswerable reality.
Spending the next 120 days negotiating with ourselves will leave the West mired in stasis. Mr. Trump correctly sees Mr. Obama’s deal as a massive strategic blunder, but his advisers have inexplicably persuaded him not to withdraw. Last fall, deciding whether to reimpose sanctions and decertify the deal under the Corker-Cardin legislation, the administration also opted to keep the door open to “fixes” — a punt on third down. Let’s hope Friday’s decision is not another punt.