It was well telegraphed in advance but that didn’t make the punch of the US withdrawal from the Iran deal any less powerful.
President Donald Trump has just sent an earthquake through the Middle East and risked alienating key European allies.
Anyone who thinks there was a glimmer of optimism, and the door is left open for a new deal, wasn’t really listening to what the President had just said.
Virtually every aspect of the Iranian regime’s foreign agenda was attacked.
This was not just about the deal. This was about Iran’s aggressive behaviour across the region.
The problem with brokering a new deal that would be acceptable to the US is that it would have to encompass so many things – a rowing back of Iranian influence in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon and also a halt to its ballistic missile programme.
Iran is unlikely to swallow that pill and be bullied to the table on Mr Trump’s terms.
And the other factor is that the American withdrawal strengthens the hand of the hardliners who were sceptical about the deal in the first place.
At the heart of the US position is the – probably misguided – belief of the administration that the Iranian regime is even weaker than it looks and may even collapse when the new sanctions start to bite.
It is true that the Iranian economy is in freefall and the currency is nosediving, but the hardliners will use this to crack down on any dissent and will muscle it out.
There is of course the spectre in all of this of a military intervention.
If Iran restarts its nuclear programme, there is a very real chance of a strike.
Israel has already stated its case.
Remarks made by Benjamin Netanyahu at the beginning of the week have taken on an even greater level of meaning since Trump’s announcement.
On Sunday, he told his cabinet: “We are determined to block Iran’s aggression against us even if this means a struggle.
“Better now than later. Nations that were unprepared to take timely action to counter murderous aggression against them paid much heavier prices afterwards.”
From – SkyNews