Jun. 3, 2019
- Iran Might Not Be Able to Wait Trump Out – John Hannah
The U.S. intelligence community detected a spike in Iranian preparations to target American interests, resulting in the decision to augment U.S. forces in the region as well as a flurry of public warnings meant to deter any challenge.
It’s rapidly dawning on Iran’s leaders that their preferred strategy of waiting out the Trump administration may not be viable. The risks of sitting back and absorbing ever more powerful blows from a relentless U.S. sanctions machine for another 18 to 20 months, or even longer, have grown unacceptably high.
The U.S. announcement in late April that it would no longer extend sanctions waivers to countries that had continued importing Iranian oil was aimed to drive Iran’s oil exports to zero, shutting down completely the regime’s most important source of revenue and hard currency. Japan and South Korea ceased imports immediately. India and Turkey followed suit. By early May, evidence indicated that even major Chinese energy firms had suspended purchases from Iran. Overnight, Iran’s economic prospects went from dire to disastrous.
The risks of a broader conflagration must of course be taken seriously. But war is far from inevitable should the U.S. need to respond militarily to Iranian provocations. Israel has attacked hundreds of Iranian targets in Syria over the past two years, probably killing scores of Iranian troops in the process – all without triggering a wider war. It’s clear that Iran’s regime has no interest in getting into a major conflict with Israel, much less with the U.S.
The writer, senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is former national security advisor to former Vice President Dick Cheney. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)