“Today happens to be Victory Day in Russia,” a NATO planner who spoke on the condition of anonymity told me on May 9, referring to Moscow’s annual military display in commemoration of Nazi Germany’s defeat. “I don’t think you’re going to see the parade downsized by a fifth.”
Three years later, there were once again celebrations in Iran after US President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the nuclear deal—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This time hardliners in parliament set fire to a photo of an American flag and chanted, “We burned America! We burned the JCPOA!”
Trump said the three men, all US citizens of Korean descent, were freed during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang on May 9.
Trump tweeted on May 9 that Pompeo was “in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen” and that the former prisoners seemed “to be in good health.”
The release is an apparent goodwill gesture by North Korea ahead of a summit between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and Trump. In his tweet, Trump said a date and a place for that meeting has been decided. The meeting would make history just by happening—it will be the first time that a North Korean leader has met a sitting US president.
It is no accident that Trump announced it even as he dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. These two engagements will do much to define the Trump administration’s policy toward nuclear proliferators and determine whether Trump’s disruptive approach can produce real results.
Whether Trump’s decision today proves to be the right tonic to finally counter Iran’s multiple threats depends on whether the administration can craft a strategy that is as coherent as today’s action was bold. At the moment, that is not the case.
In a sternly worded statement, the White House said that the leaders of South Sudan had “squandered this partnership [with the United States], pilfered the wealth of South Sudan, killed their own people, and repeatedly demonstrated their inability and unwillingness to live up to their commitments to end the country’s civil war. The result is one of Africa’s worst humanitarian disasters.”
Announcing its aid review, the White House said: “While we are committed to saving lives, we must also ensure our assistance does not contribute to or prolong the conflict, or facilitate predatory or corrupt behavior.”
The deal—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)— was struck in 2015 by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, Germany, and Iran.
Here’s a look at reactions from around the world to Trump’s decision. [Editor's note: We are adding reactions when available. Please check back for updates.]
Trump’s decision will likely strain Washington’s ties with its European allies who had urged him to remain in the deal.
Indeed, there is only one waiver scheduled for renewal by a May 12 deadline. That provision is Section 1245 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Here’s a quick look at the history of sanctions on Iran.