The New York Times and Washington Post previously reported that Trump walked away from changes to the Iran nuclear deal that he asked for, including the removal of a sunset clause that would have allowed Iran to produce more nuclear fuel after the year 2030, but that's not the only thing he walked away from.
The Guardian reports that European and American officials spent nearly half of the past year discussing a separate package of sanctions that would have targeted Iran's missile program which they hoped would convince Trump to stand by the nuclear deal.
Trump obviously walked away from that too, but it seems like an open question if he even knew about those negotiations.
Sources in the French and British governments who spoke to The Guardian say they don't believe Trump even read the proposal they handed to him and, instead of considering it, Trump and his cabinet have told our allies they they intend to follow "the North Korean scenario."
But Trump gave the impression during his 24 April meeting with Macron that he was not even aware those negotiations had been taking place. It was also clear that even after years of campaigning against the Iran agreement, the US president did not know what was in it.
Trump told Macron he thought his policy of “maximum pressure” had forced Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table ready to make concessions, and that the same approach would work on Iran. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has told European officials the same thing.
“They call it the North Korean scenario. You squeeze the Iranians and they will do the same as Kim Jong-un. They will surrender in front of the American power,” a European official said.
We have, in fact, already applied "maximum pressure" to Iran. That's how the nuclear deal came to be. The deal was preceded by years of punishing sanctions that were lifted after Iran agreed to suspend its nuclear weapons program. We're now reimposing those sanctions even though Iran complied with the terms of the deal.
Trump and his cabinet apparently see themselves repeating the process we've already been through except this time the only allies he'll have (Iran's regional foes) will be irrelevant and no one believes we'll live up to our end of the bargain; because we haven't.
Now, given Trump's interpretation of his dealings with North Korea, I'm more concerned than ever about the immediate future.
What we know suggests Trump believes he has scared the North Koreans into subservient submission through anatomical girth alone and it's anyone's guess how he'll react if Kim Jong Un turns out to be just as much of a showman and liar as Trump is.
Trump and his cabinet apparently believe they've already won in Korea except the North hasn't actually agreed to anything concrete yet. These are not men who will react well if they discover they've been played.
It's a minor detail that we've come to expect at this point, but The Guardian also reports that Trump's own cabinet didn't know we would be withdrawing from the Iran deal until he tweeted it.
Even Bolton, Trump’s newest hire, was taken by surprise by Trump’s last Monday that he would announce his decision on the JCPOA the following day.
He was informed by an European official who saw the tweet while they were having a phone conversation, in which Bolton was supposed to be the one imparting information about US plans.