US President Donald Trump makes no bones about his rejection of the nuclear agreement with Iran. “I feel strongly about what I did. I’m tired of being taken advantage of,” Trump said a few days after he put the international community on notice about a possible US withdrawal from the accord. “It might be total termination. That’s a real possibility. Some would say that’s a greater possibility.”
However, if you listen to his advisers, “termination” is not on Trump’s mind. “We want to take the agreement as it exists today” and improve it, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told CNN. “Right now, you’re going to see us stay in the deal,” US Ambassador to the United States Nikki Haley said on NBC. “We’re in the deal to see how we can make it better.”
The contradictions are not unusual for the Trump administration, analysts said. Trump’s Middle East policy is more of a hodgepodge of go-it-alone rhetoric, tweets and improvisational, off-the-cuff remarks than the product of a comprehensive strategy. The wait for a Middle East policy package under Trump is turning into a growing recognition that none will be forthcoming.