So what are the major factors working against the Iranian government?
The Trump administration, unlike its predecessor, claims to oppose Iran’s domination of what is left of the Syrian state. Unlike his predecessor, US President Donald Trump did not hesitate to strike militarily when Bashar al-Assad, supported by Iran and Russia, twice assaulted defenseless civilians with sarin nerve agent. When Russian “military contractors” sought, in February of this year, to cross the Euphrates River to attack American-held positions, there was no ignominious retreat. On the contrary, the Kremlin learned a hard lesson about testing American resolve east of the Euphrates de-confliction line. Iranian-led Shia militias and regime military units have been similarly educated.
The US and Iran should negotiate, but meaningful steps need to be taken in advance and the objective must be to solve all major bilateral issues.
This is a win-win situation for politicians and arms merchants; and a lose-lose situation for ordinary people, particularly Iranians, and all peace lovers who would rather see their resources spent on economic development.
Earlier presidents at least knew Iran was a trap. They saw how Iran had destroyed Jimmy Carter’s presidency and almost did the same to Ronald Reagan’s. Although it proved impossible, their preference—at least until Barack Obama—was to ignore Iran.
Trump’s subsequent offer to meet with his Iranian counterpart “without preconditions” produced an understandable feeling of whiplash, a week after he appeared to threaten Iran with destruction. During his campaign, Trump promised an “unpredictable” foreign policy. It is not clear whether he knew at the time about the Nixon-Kissinger “madman” doctrine of the 1970s. More likely, this was preening bluster, intended to capture the world's attention. Trump’s offer to meet Iran’s leadership seems like a similar piece of posturing.
After a long week of Iran headlines – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laying out the administration’s Iran strategy, Presidents Trump and Rouhani trading implicit threats of war, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) Commander Qassem Suleimani addressing Trump by name in a speech - one might be forgiven for mistaking the above as a recent quote.
Here’s what you need to know about this set of sanctions:
What is the JCPOA?
The JCPOA or Iran nuclear deal is a 159-page document agreed to on July 14, 2015 by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States—plus Germany with Iran. It traded curbs on Iran’s nuclear program for sanctions relief from the European Union, United States, and United Nations. The JCPOA went into implementation on January 16, 2016.