Baker Institute expert: Trump ‘has a range of options’ on Iran


Jeff Falk

Baker Institute expert: Trump ‘has a range of options’ on Iran

HOUSTON — (May 8, 2018) — President Donald Trump will announce his decision on whether the United States will pull out of the Iran nuclear accord at 2 p.m. EDT today.

Credit: University

“President Trump appears inclined to have the United States withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement,” said Joe Barnes, a foreign-policy expert and the Bonner Means Baker Fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Barnes is available to discuss Trump’s announcement and its implications with the media.

“But he (Trump) has a range of options — including the re-imposition of some, but not all, sanctions — that might not kill the deal outright,” Barnes said. “Much will depend on Iran’s response. Tehran may wish to stay in an agreement, however tattered, as long it continues to provide economic relief.”

In March, Barnes published an issue brief, “Trump Policy in the Middle East: Iran,” which he co-authored with Robert Barron, the former policy assistant to the Baker Institute director. The brief explores the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran and analyzes the ways in which it differs from that of the Obama administration. It lists core U.S. interests as they relate to Iran and to limiting Iran’s influence in the region and analyzes the difficulties associated with formulating policies that advance these goals at an acceptable cost.

In their conclusion, the authors wrote, “Mistrust between Washington and Tehran has shaped U.S.-Iranian relations for decades. That mistrust is surely at a higher level under Trump than under Obama. This raises the risk of miscalculation on both sides and the chances of escalation when and where an incident occurs, whether in Syria, the Strait of Hormuz or between Israel and Hezbollah. It will require goodwill and deft diplomacy to avoid such conflict; both are in notoriously short supply in the Middle East.”

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Barnes. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.


Related materials:

Barnes bio:

Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute.

Follow Barnes via Twitter @BrazosRealist.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top three university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.