Justifiably angered, the Europeans are discussing ways around the American sanctions, further eroding the trans-Atlantic alliance and perhaps hastening the day when they have a financial system far less entwined with the United States’.
Mr. Pompeo’s speech did not demonstrate how walking away from the nuclear deal “has made or will make the region safer from the threat of nuclear proliferation,” Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said. There is “no alternative” to the deal, she said.
There is no defending Iran’s support for Bashar al-Assad, the bloody dictator in Syria, or its use of Hezbollah militants to control Lebanon and threaten Israel. But other countries — including Russia in Syria and Saudi Arabia in Yemen — also fuel regional instability.
Although Mr. Pompeo said the administration’s aim was a comprehensive agreement with Iran, the real goal seems to be to break the regime or force it to resume the nuclear program, thus giving the United States and Israel an excuse for military action.
The world’s experience with regime change in Iraq should make clear why this is a terrible idea. Along with waging war on a false premise, causing tens of thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars in wasted funds, and enabling the spread of Islamist militants, it’s a major reason Iran has gained a foothold in Iraq today.
It’s no coincidence that John Bolton, one of the George W. Bush administration’s architects of that disaster, is now at the center of American policymaking as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser.
There’s also the irony of, as Mr. Pompeo is making these demands, his boss is offering North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un — believed to have as many as 60 nuclear weapons — security guarantees to abandon his arsenal. Iran has no nuclear weapons and has significantly curbed its program.
Over the past several weeks, the Iranians have had a reasonably measured response to the American provocations, even as President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, has faced pressure from hard-liners eager to push back against the United States and restart the nuclear program. The world is left to hope — with no help from Washington — that restraint can hold.