(Persia Digest) - President Trump on Monday crystallized the differences between his nuclear negotiating strategy toward Iran and that of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Trump has three key demands for any new deal from Iran, but Pompeo has 12.
Tom Rogan writes in The Washington Examinter that Trump was clear. "We're not looking for leadership change." Pledging to meet with President Hassan Rouhani if the conditions are right, Trump said he's "looking for no nuclear weapons, no ballistic missiles, and a longer period of time. Very simple. We can have it done in a very short period of time."
Contrast that tight framework with the 12 explicit demands Pompeo says Iran must meet for a new agreement.
Pompeo's demands range the gamut of U.S.-Iranian issues. Requiring, for example, that Iran cease its support for groups such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, Pompeo clearly seeks Iran's structural change away from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's theological project. In essence, Pompeo is asking the Islamic Republic of Iran to not be the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Trump's approach is different in action as well as words.
Rightly pressuring Iran, Trump has balanced military deterrence with avoiding a shooting war. At the same time, Trump's articulation of a three-tier nuclear, ballistic missile, and time durable deal is wise. Subject to a more vigorous inspections protocol, which Trump also referenced on Monday, this new deal would constrain Iran's long-term ability to threaten American interests and Israel's existence. The same cannot be said of the current Iran nuclear deal.
Any post-deal Iran will require U.S. military and intelligence restraint, but the nuclear concern is supreme. Pompeo and Trump's negotiating divergences cannot be ignored. They are now crystal clear.