Vali Nasr in The Atlantic:
Among the most strident critics of the nuclear deal with Iran are those who believe it furthers the survival of its leadership. By throwing Iran’s rulers an economic lifeline, they believe, the deal is an abject failure. America
These days, those regime-change evangelists, having shrugged off the lessons of the Iraq War, are back at the helm of U.S. foreign policy. John Bolton, Donald Trump’s new national-security adviser, has long advocated regime change in Iran, and more recently has argued that the administration should openly embrace it as a foreign-policy goal. At the same time, Bolton and his ilk are pushing for a denuclearization deal with North Korea ahead of Trump’s planned summit with Kim Jong Un, the country’s leader. Preparations for the meeting will likely be in full swing by May 12, the next deadline for extending the Iran deal. The Trump administration, in other words, could find itself in the odd situation of tearing down the nuclear deal with Iran while pursuing a similar deal with North Korea.
With proponents of regime change ascendant, the temptation in the Trump administration to cast the deal aside in an effort to weaken Iran is great. Yet the immediate ripple effects of such a decision will breed dangerous consequences, both in Iran and across the Middle East—ones that the Kim regime will be watching carefully.