A great hue and cry went up throughout Europe and from former Obama administration officials and various foreign policy experts when President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran deal (JCPOA). Critics said, “What’s he going to do now to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons? Where’s his Plan B?”
This was a nonsensical argument to begin with, which is even clearer now that we see how effective “Plan A” is working.
Before Trump’s decision, Iran was already cheating (e.g., by refusing to allow inspections of its military sites — the places most likely to have nuclear research going on) and taking advantage of various loopholes (e.g., work on naval propulsion reactors). German intelligence services also revealed ongoing Iranian efforts to obtain materials for weapons of mass destruction. In addition, Israel disclosed Iran’s secret trove of documents, proving that Iran lied about its past work on developing nuclear weapons and creating the suspicion the that materials were hidden so that the project could resume when the JCPOA expired, if not before.
Trump gave ample warning to his European allies that he planned to abandon the “worst deal ever” if the agreement was not strengthened. As columnist Bret Stephens noted, “the same people who previously claimed the deal was the best we could possibly hope for suddenly became inventive in proposing means to fix it.”