PHOTO: Donald Trump at a rally in Washington, DC, September 2015

Monocle 24’s The Daily asked me on Tuesday night, “Will Donald Trump rip up the Iran nuclear deal?”

That question is relatively easy to answer. Despite Trump’s campaign rhetoric — and that of many Republican Congressional representatives — the US will not leave the July 2015 nuclear agreement. Key figures who opposed the deal at the time, such as Senator Bob Corker, and Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis have signalled the departure would isolate Washington and complicate its policy in the Middle East.

But that is only the starting point. The US is likely to pursue the deal’s “death by a thousand statements”. In place of leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Trummp Administration and Congress will try to make the deal “tougher”, citing Iran’s ballistic missile tests and saying that Tehran is supporting terrorism.

Those statements and actions — already started with the extension of the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act — will bolster the Islamic Republic’s hardliners. That will isolate President Rouhani, who faces re-election in May, and further challenge implementation of the agreement.

Listen from 4:07: