LONDON (Dispatches) -- It’s been one year-and-a-half since Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran – calling it the worst deal ever – and embarked on a policy of "maximum pressure”.
Trump has been piling sanctions and heating up the rhetoric against the Islamic Republic. The U.S. president has said that he aims to negotiate a better agreement with Iran and his policy will bring the Iranians to the table for that new deal.
"However, the maximum pressure policy has not yet succeeded in bringing Iran to the negotiating table or curbing its regional activities across the Middle East. In fact maximum pressure seems to have backfired and pushed Iran across the edge,” British daily The Independent wrote on Saturday.
Iran just announced the fourth phase of its step by step withdrawal from the nuclear deal, moving further away from limits placed on its nuclear program under the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).
After Iran’s announcement, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urged the world to address Iran’s nuclear escalations and take serious steps to increase pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Economically, Iran has been able to draw on some of its financial reserves to cushion off the impact of American sanctions, The Independent said.
Politically, Iran has been able to utilize the theme of nationalism and historic grievances about big power bullying, it added.
"From an international perspective, the world is more sympathetic to Iran’s position in the nuclear dispute, than the United States. Because Iran stayed strictly committed to the nuclear deal for one year, after the U.S. left the deal and violated its terms,” the paper said.
Experts say it is the Trump administration that started this dispute and is primarily responsible for its non-resolution.
There is also not much admiration for Trump on the international stage – except among right wing authoritarian and neo-fascist groups – and that also helps Iran, Nader Hashemi, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, told the paper.
According to The Independent, the Trump administration’s policy on Iran has isolated the United States and diminished its leverage to enforce the JCPOA, if not open the door to its complete destruction.
"The policy of ‘America First’ has always meant America Alone and now we have this dangerous and predictable nuclear misbehavior enabled by Trump’s failed policy,” Harry Reis, director of policy and strategy at the New Israel Fund, said.
"At the moment, president Trump and his administration are running out of options on Iran. There is not much left to sanction in Iran, and short of military conflict, there is not a lot more pressure that can be applied,” The Independent said.