New sanctions the U.S. brought on Friday in response to Iranian ballistic missile tests won't undo a historic nuclear deal with Tehran by themselves — but the accord's odds of unraveling are rising.
Both the administration of President Donald Trump and the Iranian regime likely want to maintain the deal, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran accepting limits on its nuclear program, analysts say. But rising tensions threaten to lead the two countries down a path of tit-for-tat provocations that ultimately makes the deal untenable.
"Trump's bully pulpit will meet Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's pulpit. Iran uses a playbook a lot like Trump's — and that's incendiary," analysts for risk consultancy the Eurasia Group said in a research note on Thursday.
The U.S. Treasury Department fired the latest salvo on Friday, sanctioning 13 individuals and 12 other entities linked to Iran's ballistic missile program. That followed Iran's latest missile test earlier this week — also its first since Trump took office.