U.S. officials said on November 10 that President-elect Donald Trump can devastate Iran's nuclear deal with world powers by walking away from it as he has vowed to do.
Their assessment contradicted Iranian President Hassan Rohani's assertion on November 9 that there is "no possibility" Trump could dismantle the deal because it was approved by multiple nations on the United Nations Security Council.
But U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner and other U.S. experts said the deal is not legally binding and Trump not only could refuse to abide by the deal, he could reverse President Barack Obama's executive orders carrying out the U.S. side of the deal by easing economic sanctions on Iran.
It's "an agreement that any party can walk away from," Toner said. "And that will have profound consequences on the integrity of the agreement."
Toner added that U.S. abandonment of the deal likely would prompt Iran to start building a nuclear weapons program again -- a "reality," he said, that he hopes will deter Trump from reneging on the deal.
Former U.S. Treasury official Zachary Goldman agreed that Trump can effectively kill the deal.
"Anything enacted by executive order can be rescinded by executive order," he told Reuters.