Tuesday, President Trump declared that he would not "need an exit strategy" if war were to break out between the United States and Iran. Or will there be some type of negotiated settlement-perhaps even one created to merely avoid conflict for now? They're living badly right now.
In Iraq, as tensions rose between the USA and Iran, militants fired more than a dozen rockets at bases hosting US personnel and other sites of American business interest. This is a classic bargaining pattern but in the current context, such an approach is particularly risky due to the potential for misperceptions.
Wherever it was, Trump backed off a plan to attack Iran because it would have caused 150 casualties, which Trump thought a "disproportionate" punishment for downing a pilotless drone.
Trump imposed the sanctions, the executive order says, "in light of the actions of the Government of Iran and Iranian-backed proxies, particularly those taken to destabilize the Middle East, promote worldwide terrorism, and advance Iran's ballistic missile program, and Iran's irresponsible and provocative actions in and over global waters, including the targeting of United States military assets and civilian vessels".
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani speaks during a meeting with tribal leaders in Kerbala, Iraq, on March 12, 2019.
With an economy on a downward spiral, the Islamic Republic senses that it is stuck in the fruitless position of complying with the JCPOA without receiving any of the benefits. I like Iranians so much, and that plays into your decision, too.
Yes, Iran's leaders did see.
That appears to have had a knock-on effect on Hezbollah, the Lebanese political party and militia group closely linked to Iran.
With no route to de-escalation at the moment, the economic battle - and, as the administration was keen to point out in recent days, the cyber-battle - continues. Until the 1979 uprising and overthrow of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the US was the largest provider of weapons to Iran. Tension has escalated sharply since last month when the Trump administration tightened its sanctions noose, ordering all countries to halt purchases of Iranian oil. Yet, Washington is misreading signals from Tehran and interpreting them as provocations.
Macron stressed that all counties should attempt to prevent regional tensions from escalating, saying, "Many of the decisions made by the U.S. government are of domestic use".
He also knows Iranian leaders are lashing out because they are buckling under the weight of the unprecedented sanctions he has imposed.
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He also warned against further tensions in the region and said tensions will have no achievements for any sides in the region.
"We would love to be able to negotiate a deal if they want to". The advisors believe that these tensions will increase the threat of a war, which raises the pressure on President Trump.
Yet while Hezbollah relies heavily on Iranian funds and weapons, Saad says the relationship has become more of an alliance than proxy-patron, especially with the war in Syria.
In May, there was flutter about a reprisal of these talks, as Iran's deputy foreign minister met the Omani Sultan and Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, set up a visit to Tehran after a Tokyo summit with Trump. Iran is more inclined to resort to escalatory measures, particularly as it expects Trump to feel the pressure to resolve the Iran issue without getting involved in a war as he begins to campaign for re-election.
On Monday, the president signed an executive order to slap "hard-hitting" sanctions on Iran that would also target the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"When I took over, Iran was a terror".
"Iran's going down the tubes", he said. So instead of striking back militarily, Trump struck back economically. Overall, this is only increasing the misperceptions. He asked: "Is this a message of honesty?" Also, Abe could try to persuade Trump not to provoke Iran, if he really desires a direct negotiation with Iran. Khamenei's tweet highlights how misperceptions have been undermining potential negotiations.
"Having failed to achieve its goal through pressure, the enemy is coming forward with an offer of talks, while assuming the Iranian nation is simple-minded", the Leader said, according to a Press TV report of his statements.
There is a way to deescalate the situation. Each side calculates red lines based on vital national interests for which, if necessary, they are prepared to fight - as Kennedy did during the missile crisis.
Dr Mari Nukii is Research Fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Tokyo.