Trump wanted a more docile Iran, but it has the opposite

Trump wanted a more docile Iran, but it has the opposite
As the Trump administration tries to garner international support for its case against Tehran, it faces the dilemma of two key objectives: to restrict Iran's nuclear program and reverse Iran's assertive behavior in the Middle East: its policies have so far opposite effect.

Describing the administration's demands last year for a new agreement with Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that Iran stop enriching all uranium and stop its "malign behavior" in the Middle East, promising to impose "the sanctions strongest in history. " Those sanctions are now in place and Iran's economy has been pushed into a deep recession.

But Iran has warned that it will soon surpass the low enriched uranium reserves limit set by the 2015 nuclear agreement. And instead of cutting forces, US officials have accused Iran of using mines to mount attacks on six vessels, leading to to the Pentagon to strengthen the US military stance UU In the region.

On Thursday, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps increased the stakes by shooting down an unmanned US military surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian media said the plane was operating in Iranian airspace. But the United States Central Command, which confirmed that an Iranian surface aircraft fired on the drone, said it was in international airspace.

Defending the administration's strategy, Brian Hook, special representative of the State Department for Iran, told Congress that the punitive sanctions that EE. UU It has forced Teheran to reduce its military budget, to reduce its support to militant groups and could even lead it to negotiation. Table - this time in the terms of the United States.

"For almost all indicators, the regime and its representatives are weaker," Hook said Wednesday. "Our pressure campaign is working."

But while President Trump insists that he is prepared to speak with the leaders of Iran, it is known that there are no negotiations in progress. Leaders from both sides have said they are not looking for a military confrontation. But both sides are trying to increase their leverage. Air Force General Paul Selva, vice president of the joint leaders, acknowledged on Tuesday that "the risks of miscalculation are real."

Underscoring the continuing dangers, Mr. Hook then participated in a classified briefing, along with the Pentagon and intelligence officials, in two Senate panels on Iran's recent actions and the response of the United States.

The greatest tensions in the Persian Gulf are the latest turn in the policy of Trump's administration in Iran, which began with a push by the United States to persuade the allies to toughen the 2015 agreement. Concluded by six world powers with Iran, the agreement allows Tehran to continue enriching some uranium and lifting international sanctions in exchange for Iran accepting restrictions on its nuclear program.

While the Trump government struggled to win the support of European allies for this approach, French President Emmanuel Macron warned Trump at a meeting in April 2018 that getting rid of Iran's nuclear deal could risk a war with Tehran

But Mr. Trump came out of the agreement the following month, calculating that the imposition of severe sanctions would weaken Iran's military stance in the region and perhaps Tehran's strong arm to agree to a more stringent agreement that would end Iran's support for Iran. the militant groups and stop the enrichment completely.

In June 2018, Mr. Trump stated that his decision had already led Iran to stop its aggressive behavior. "Iran is not the same country as a few months ago," Trump said at the time. But as economic pressure on the Tehran regime began to pile up in recent months, the administration began to worry that Iran and its representatives are beginning to attack.

For advocates of Mr. Trump's policy, the attacks on oil tankers are an indication that security in the region must worsen before Iran is brought to the negotiating table and Tehran meets the requirements.

For critics, the recent violence is a sign that the United States has led to a dangerous confrontation with an adversary whose brand of paramilitary warfare is relatively cheap and who is unlikely to accept the government's twelve demands, which include withdrawing all the forces under control The command of Iran from Syria.

"If the Trump administration takes the negotiations seriously, and is far away If it is clear, you must convincingly point out that your 12 far-reaching demands are not immutable. So far, his focus has been "take it or leave it," said Robert Einhorn, a former State Department official who participated in Iran's negotiations during the Obama administration.

"Trump should offer not to adopt new sanctions if Iran agrees to negotiate and remains within the bounds of JCPOA," Einhorn added, using the acronym of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.