Suleimani's murder reaffirms Trump's policy of maximum pressure for Tehran to repair his customs

NEW DELHI: The assassination of the Iranian military strongman Qassim marks a strong reaffirmation of the US president. UU. Donald Trump The policy of maximum pressure that apparently stalled by Tehran countering the United States with its own maximum resistance that depends on its capacity for asymmetric warfare.

In the face of intense pressure from the United States through economic sanctions that inflicted serious damage to its economy, I ran He chose to increase tensions since mid-2019, targeting shipments in the Gulf of Oman, knocking down a US drone. UU. and organizing calibrated attacks in Saudi oil fields. All these actions were intended to use their influence with the militias to attack the interests of the United States and its allies in the Middle East.

In counter-attacking, I ran sought to up the stakes and Suleimani was its key man who could turn on the heat through a range of proxies and allies that included Hamas , Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Hezbollah . Though US has had extended back channel contacts with I ran , it saw the general as a high value target who might have been useful in combating ISIS but was also a threat to its interests.

The electoral calculations in the drone attack have been speculated on, but do not obscure an essential shift in US objectives under Trump — a sharper focus on getting I ran to rollback its ambitions in the middle east and significantly reduce use of various state-supported militias it has funded and armed.

This approach to I ran was driven, as experts have pointed out, by the calculation that nuclear issues were not the sole, or even the most important, point of discussion with I ran ’s theocratic dispensation. Also, having chosen Saudi Arabia as its preferred partner, the Trump administration cast I ran as the greater threat in the volatile region.

Both sides have spurned dialogue, but doing so can cost I ran more. A window that opened through a third party after I ran used mines against oil tankers was understood to have been spurned by the regime. It then upped the ante again not long after Trump held back from retaliating to a drone being downed, apparently due to the high collateral cost of such military action.

Opening a dialogue could have increased I ran ’s options as despite uneasiness in Europe, and stronger words from China and Russia, it is unclear how much useful support it will garner. After US nixed the nuclear deal, I ran failed to find the succour it needed to soften sanctions, despite sympathetic noises in some western capitals. Its reputation as a sponsor of militias hurt I ran despite support for the deal.

Opinion is divided whether the nuclear deal arrived at by Barack Obama had indeed encouraged I ran to mend its ways. Its actions in Yemen and Iraq suggest otherwise. It can now calculate that the threat of escalation may help its cause, but a miscalculation can also prove very costly to the I ran ian leadership.