The White House is turning to a grand coalition of the willing to persuade foreign governments to pressure Iran, the suspected culprit in last month’s suspected attempt to hack into the Democratic National Committee. In the short term, the priority is to persuade European allies, with whom the U.S. must reach a deal by Oct. 31, to join the effort.
Beyond that, there is now a consensus that Iran will never be the country it was 10 years ago, when it was seen by many as the most powerful player in world politics. The threat from a country with closer ties to Russia, now viewed as a more destabilizing force, would send waves of anxiety through the U.S. government and the world, officials said.
“It’s just a stunning power shift and it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Iran is doing what it needs to do” for a range of critical needs such as saving the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, to prop up Syria’s Bashar Assad, or to try to counter the violent Sunni extremists of al-Qaeda, said one senior administration official who spoke anonymously to describe the meeting of U.S. national security officials on Friday.
That shift is an outcome of a policy of careful negotiations with foreign countries over the past decade, resulting in more crippling sanctions on Iran and increasing the complexity of its foreign policy.
On Sunday, top European leaders who will meet with President Trump in Europe on Monday will ask him to either impose new sanctions on Iran or to reopen negotiations on a nuclear deal that has already been extended twice. He is expected to make a decision this week.