As European Union (EU) leaders gathered for a summit in Sofia to find a common path forward after Washington withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council criticised US President Trump. He communicated via Twitter that “Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think ‘with friends like that, who needs enemies?” But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump, because thanks to him, we have got rid of all illusions. He has made us realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm. ‘The fact that Tusk is tweeting in this way speaks of how furious Europe as a collective is with some of Trump’s policies.’ Looking at the history of decisions made by President Trump, withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as Iran nuclear deal, was not astounding at all. First came the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), followed by withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. Along the way was the Brussels Summit at which President Trump refused to endorse Article V of the NATO treaty and now ended the US’ commitment to JCPOA. Interestingly, India will also go through the same dilemma as it has invested over $500 million in developing the Chabahar Port. Furthermore, as Iran is the third largest oil exporter of the world, new sanctions on Iran can send the prices sky high President Trump said that he will come up with a better deal, one that will also control Iran’s ballistic missiles and its regional influence. He gave the same gesture towards a better, smarter deal when he pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement; he also promised that he would bring peace in Middle East and made similar promises regarding better and cheaper health care too. Hence, so far Trump has been an expert at destroying agreements without considering consequences for existing policies and without planning for new ones. The substitution in the president’s team from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Mike Pompeo and the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor replacing HR McMaster was a signal to the direction that the administration was taking with respect to the JCPOA. Mr Trump’s declaration of withdrawal drew opposition from European leaders, several of whom lobbied him enthusiastically not to pull out of the agreement while searching for potential ways to modify the JCPOA in a way that satisfied Trump without affronting the Iranians. On the other hand, President Trump won strong backing from Saudi Arabia and Israel, which called it a ‘historic move’ and ‘testament of a courageous leadership.’ However, the response from Iranians was muted. President Hassan Rouhani declared that the Iranians intended to abide by the terms of deal. President Trump is of the view that his policy of pressurising to maximum level had forced Kim to bargain and a similar policy of overwhelming pressure would enable the US to prise a better deal from Iran. But question arises that why should North Korea come to terms with a president who has no regard for an international and legally binding commitment made by his country? With Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the nuclear deal, the US gained the status of an untrustworthy diplomatic partner. Moreover, Trump warned that his administration was working on re-imposing harsh sanctions on Tehran, and that those sanctions would also hit European commercial interests in Iran. Trump’s unilateral abrogation of the international accord shows his disregard for the concerns of America’s European allies. Moreover, warning of repercussions for European firms doing business with Iran is an overwhelming illustration of Washington’s bullying attitude. The threat was reiterated in a tweet by the new US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who directly cautioned German firms to “immediately” start winding down business operations in Iran. The tweet has been interpreted as attempts by the US to impose its policy and law beyond its own borders. So far Trump has been quite adept at destroying agreements without considering consequences for existing policies or planning for new ones In view of evolving strategic environment, another notable change is that the unilateral US withdrawal from the JCPOA is bringing Beijing and Moscow closer together. It is for obvious reasons; if the JCPOA is to survive, it would be with Russians and Chinese coordination, since those two nations can offer Iran the biggest incentives to stay committed to the agreement. China is the largest purchaser of Iranian oil, and the two countries agreed to increase their trade to $600 billion over ten years. In 2014, Russia signed a five-year $20 billion energy deal with Iran that bypassed then-applicable Western sanctions. If Iran decides to accelerate efforts to gain weapons-level nuclear technology, this will be a significant challenge to the balance of powers in the region. The nuclear deal was a possible first step towards engagement as it was at least intended to curb Iran from the bomb that could trigger a never ending and expensive arms race in the region. Trump’s decision of withdrawal lacks a plan. Another important point is Iran’s role in Afghanistan. Iran holds influence over western Afghanistan, and can play vital role as it did back in 2001 in overthrowing the Taliban. US withdrawal will have a spillover effect in creating insecurity and instability in Afghanistan. Iran will not be very forthcoming to support US in Kabul. More importantly, the unilateral move by the US president affects Pakistan as well. Pakistan will again face the dilemma of standing with US and Saudi Arabia or with European allies and Iran. Likewise, the pipeline project between the two might head towards further delay. Interestingly, India will also go through the same dilemma as it has invested over $500 million in developing the Chabahar Port. Furthermore, as Iran is the third largest oil exporter of the world, new sanctions on Iran can send the prices sky high. It seems that Trump was led into this decision by his inclination towards Israel-Saudi fury at Iran and the pressure of conservative Americans who support him and his idea that whatever former President Obama did must be bad. The world remains divided on whether Iran should be change by isolating it or it should be normalised into the world order in a step-by-step engagement. Trump’s decision about the JCPOA may trigger a new wave of tension in the region that may eventually fuel existing proxy wars. All regional issues including Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, will continue unless Iran feels secure. It is difficult to bring Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran on the same page but furthering tensions between them will be counter-productive. The writer is Visiting Faculty at Fatima Jinnah Women University Published in Daily Times, May 21st 2018.