Small Wars Journal

Iran’s Gambit: Force the World to Rein In Trump

Iran’s Gambit: Force the World to Rein In Trump by Max Fisher – New York Times

The Trump administration has portrayed Iran’s recent moves, including its threat to resume stockpiling low-enriched uranium in violation of the nuclear agreement, as proof that Iran is an implacable rogue state, bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, that can be contained only through the threat of military force.

Iran has indeed often acted as a regional provocateur, but in this case some nonpartisan experts on Iran and on United States policy in the Middle East see something different.

They say Iran appears to be pursuing a provocative but calibrated strategy to counter what its leaders see as a potentially existential American threat — as severe economic sanctions strangle the economy and cut off vital oil revenues — as well as to preserve the nuclear agreement.

In doing so, Iran is falling back on tactics associated with its reputation as a rogue state, including asymmetric military escalation, like threatening oil shipments, though Iran denies American accusations that it attacked tankers last week, or the downing of an American drone on Thursday (in disputed circumstances), and nuclear blackmail. It is doing so, analysts say, because such tactics are part of the basis of Iranian power and because the United States has closed off other avenues for responding…

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