President Donald Trump has extended sanctions relief for Iran “one last time” under the 2015 nuclear deal-however; he has crossed that action by putting new sanctions on several Iranian officials, including Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, a senior Iranian political figure. It is a move that has upset many Western allies, and angered Iran, whose foreign ministry has vowed to retaliate.

Scrapping the Iran nuclear deal has been one of Trump’s campaign promises-he had repeatedly promised to tear it up and reintroduce the deal in harsher terms. Since coming to office, however, Trump has certified the accord, signing waivers suspending sanctions, with the White House reporting that Iran is complying with the deal. Yet, Trump has seized every opportunity to verbally criticise the deal; realising that unilaterally backing out could have severe consequences with European allies, Trump seems to be using the Iranian protests to slowly unravel the US from the accord.

Instead of sanctions against Iran following the nuclear deal, Trump is imposing punitive measures over issues such as terrorism, human rights and ballistic missile development, a move which Iran complains cancels any financial benefit arising from the 2015 accord. Less incentive of Iran to follow the accord has worried European partners of the agreement, who foresee the danger of the deal breaking.

While we sympathise with the Iranian protesters, the US must realise that these recent decisions do nothing to help the protesters or US national interests. The nuclear deal has allowed transparency in Iran, which partly lead to anger of the Iranian people at the regime. Withdrawal of the US allows the Iranian regime to conflate anger of the people at US imperialism, and also severely compromise American relations with European allies. The rest of the deal members must make sure that they can mitigate a unilateral US action by not following the US down this destabilizing path.