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5/9/2018 10:28:00 AM
IU experts react to Trump's rejection of Iran deal

Michael Reschke, Herald-Times

President Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal didn’t surprise Indiana University experts, but reactions to the decision were mixed.

Hussein Banai, an assistant professor whose research is focused on relations between Iran and the U.S., said there was no compelling reason to withdraw and Trump has no chance of negotiating a better deal, as the president has claimed he's open to doing.

Jamsheed Choksy, a distinguished professor and chairman of IU's department of Central Eurasian studies, said the renegotiation of arms deals is common and he thinks Trump's strategy can work. "They need the deal more than the U.S.," he said, referring to Iran. "They do not need to be racked with another round of U.S. sanctions."

Both Choksy and Banai said the decision was expected because Trump has disparaged the deal since before he was elected. The agreement — struck in 2015 by the United States, other world powers and Iran — lifted most U.S. and international sanctions against the country. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program that would make it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.

Trump wants to make a deal that deters Iran's ballistic missile program and to renegotiate Iran's role in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The administration of former President Barack Obama tried to see if there was room to include those things during its negotiations, but it quickly became clear that if they were included, a deal wouldn't be reached, Banai said.

"Iran does not want to negotiate on those issues," he said.

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