In May 2018, the Donald Trump administration withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, popularly known as the Iran nuclear deal.
The U.S. then ramped up sanctions on the Iranian theocracy to try to ensure that it stopped nuclear enrichment. The Trump administration also hoped a strapped Iran would become less capable of funding terrorist operations in the Middle East and beyond, proxy wars in the Persian Gulf, and the opportune harassment of ships transiting the Strait of Hormuz.
The sanctions are clearly destroying an already weak Iranian economy. Iran is now suffering from negative economic growth, massive unemployment, and record inflation.
A desperate Iranian government is using surrogates to send missiles into Saudi Arabia while its forces attack ships in the Gulf of Oman.
The Iranian theocrats despise the Trump administration. They yearn for the good old days of the Obama administration, when the U.S. agreed to a nuclear deal that all but guaranteed future Iranian nuclear proliferation, ignored Iranian terrorism and sent hundreds of millions of dollars in shakedown payments to the Iranian regime.
Iran believed that the Obama administration saw it as a valuable Shiite counterweight to Israel and the traditionally American-allied Sunni monarchies in the Gulf region. Tehran assumes that an even more left-wing American administration would also endorse Iran-friendly policies, and so it is fishing for ways to see that happen in 2020 with a Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or Joe Biden presidency.
Desperate Iranian officials have already met secretly with former secretary of state John Kerry and openly with Senator Diane Feinstein, likely to commiserate over Trump’s cancellation of the nuclear deal and to find ways to revive the Obama-era agreement after Trump leaves office.
To that end, the Iranians wish to disrupt world oil traffic while persuading China, Russia, and the European Union to pressure the U.S. to back off sanctions.
Iran hopes to provoke and embarrass its nemesis into overreacting — or not reacting at all. If Trump does nothing, he looks weak to this Jacksonian base of supporters. But do too much, and he appears a neoconservative, globalist nation-builder. Either way, the Iranians think Trump loses.
After all, Iran knows that Trump got elected by flipping the blue-wall states of the Midwest — in part by promising an end to optional interventions in the Middle East. Accordingly, Iran hopes to embarrass or bog down the U.S. before the 2020 elections. In Tehran’s view, the challenge is to provoke Trump into a shooting war that it can survive and that will prove unpopular in the United States, thus losing him the election.
Iran, of course, is not always a rationale actor. A haughty Tehran always magnifies its own importance and discounts the real dangers that it is courting. It harkens back to its role in the 2003–2011 Iraq War, a conflict that proved that U.S. efforts could be subverted, hundreds of American soldiers could be killed, public support for war could be eroded, and a more malleable American government could be transitioned in.
They despised Obama, too, as was clearly demonstrated by how they embarrassed him (and the entire nation) by taking our sailors captive in international waters and having Kerry apologize and THANK them for being so kind.
Perhaps Iran believes if they provoke a shooting war with the US they can get money from terror supporters flowing towards them, though without Obama in office, I don’t know who that would be.
Remember when violations (or imagined violations) was a thing?
Stupid. All Trump has to do is put authorization for action before Congress. Most if not all Republicans will support it. If Democrats block it and Iran continues to misbehave, the Democrats show why no one should want them in control. If Democrats happen to act like Americans instead of Democrats, then Trump thumps Iran and demonstrates his leadership… again.
Other nations that have seen the evidence agree Iran is behind it. Now, Iran has shot down a US drone 20 miles off their coast. Ask Congress for permission to act. Watch Democrats show how anti-American they are.
Iran must think cowardly idiots are still in charge instead of someone that can use their stupidity to promote his agenda of weakening them to the point where they finally return to the negotiating table for actual negotiations with a negotiator.
If we held all the cards, Iran wouldn’t be posing a serious problem. Imagining that we do could lead to disaster.
@Greg: Your lack of understanding is truly extraordinary.
What do desperate people do when all their options are exhausted? (CLUE: Look at your pathetic Democrat Party)
Pelosi has just said the evidence is real that Iran is committing these provocations. I guess you think SHE wants war, too. She calls Iran irresponsible and “a bad actor”.
Of course, she shows signs of dementia and possibly drunkenness, so who knows?
Trump unilaterally dumped a nuclear agreement with which Iran was complying, pressured our allies to join in new economic sanctions that have seriously and intentionally damaged the Iranian economy, and sent a carrier strike group into the Persian Gulf in response to unspecified provocations, officially proclaimed their Revolutionary Guard to be a foreign terrorist group, and publicly threatened to bring about Iran’s end if they dared to attack our interests. All of which has now resulted in a series of calculated responses demonstrating that we do not hold all of the cards.
Pointing a finger and yelling They provoked us first! isn’t going to help much if we blunder into another moronic Middle East war, that at best would open the field for a more rapid expansion of Saudi-backed Wahhabist extremism and leave us too depleted to remain a credible foil to Russian and Chinese expansion.
I understand that. There’s nothing about it that should be difficult to understand.
@Greg: Trump got out of a deal that was only good for Iran. The fact that, by your own admission, Iran reacts to the failure of that terrible deal by committing acts of piracy and terrorism only proves that Obama was taken for a fool and Iran needs a regime change in order to be able to behave as a civilized nation.
All you understand is to support the side opposing the United States. That’s why you have to lie to justify it.
@Greg: Greg is commenting about this because his employer told him to. This is about the information war to protect the false legacy of Obama.
He even indirectly invoked Bush W and offered no solutions.
What other propaganda do your handlers want you to promulgate?
All of that is a historic win.
The only cards not held are the ones Obama gave to them. You’re watching a real President take them back.
Whose side are you on, anyway? Iran is against all of your Party’s values.
@Nathan Blue: Democrats have new values.
Iran’s Mullah leaders have nothing to lose……
Iran is sick: years of denying an STD problem have led to a nation of sick, infertile people many reaching the tertiary stages of some venereal diseases where the brian gets the damage.
Iran is poor: we have an average of $56,000+ per family in the USA, Iran’s average is a mere $5,600.
Iran is aging quickly: the population is about 10+% over 60 now but will balloon up to 40% in a few years with no one capable of caring for all these old folks.
Iran is a one crop nation: Once oil could be fracked from the lands in the USA, Iran’s fortunes sunk and will never return.
Iran’s religious hope is in a messiah who only comes forth if chaos rules the world, so whatever they can do to bring chaos, they’ve got little-to-nothing holding them back from it.