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What the future of the Iran nuclear deal means for U.S.-Middle East relations




US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally organized by the Tea Party Patriots against the Iran nuclear deal in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC.
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally organized by the Tea Party Patriots against the Iran nuclear deal in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

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Among the many question marks still surrounding President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition into office, one of the most pressing continues to be what he will do about the Iran nuclear deal.

Formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Trump vowed during his presidential campaign to dismantle the “disastrous” deal with Iran if he were elected. The landmark agreement is one of the hallmarks of President Obama’s administration and essentially rolled back international sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to significantly dial down its nuclear program. While it wasn’t ratified by Congress or formally signed, the member nations of the agreement remain committed to keeping it intact, and while President-elect Trump does have the power to pull the U.S. out of the deal, it’s unclear whether that’s what he meant by ‘dismantling’ the deal or whether he aims to renegotiate it.

What should President-elect Trump do in regards to the Iran nuclear deal? What would happen if he decides to pull the U.S. out? How might he renegotiate it? What can we glean from recent cabinet appointments in terms of how he might proceed? What could happen to relations between the U.S. and other Middle Eastern countries as a result? Who stands to gain/lose the most from the U.S. pulling out of the deal?

Guests:

Ellie Geranmayeh, policy fellow in the Middle East and North Africa Program of the European Council on Foreign Relations

James Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at The Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy