IRAN’S LIMITED OPTIONS
The Trump administration is not trying to incite a war with Iran. It is trying to prevent Iran from doing something stupid that could lead to a real war. The sanctions that the president has levied on Iran are hurting, and Tehran doesn’t like it.
Iran’s ability to fund surrogates such as Hezbollah has been greatly diminished; as a result, their capacity to do Iran’s dirty work in the area of terrorism has diminished. Iranian oil exports have dropped dramatically, and the impact — as usual — is on the rank and file citizenry rather than the ayatollahs or the senior members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Iran’s options are limited, but they are not non-existent. The first option is to enter into serious negotiations with the United States to eliminate its nuclear weapons program and cease its provocative use of terror in the region to further its foreign policy objectives.
Realistically, this isn’t going to happen any time soon no matter how much economic sanctions hurt. Until the Iranian street erupts in protest, the elites in Tehran will attempt to wait the Americans out in hope for an administration more tractable than the present one in Washington. Despite that, the Iranian leadership will continue to attempt to make its displeasure known, but its options for doing so are both extremely limited and dangerous.
The most serious option the Iranians have is to close the Straits of Hormuz. This is highly unlikely as it would represent an act of belligerency. Freedom of the seas has been a “go to war issue” for the United States since 1798, and Iran was the subject of very firm American kinetic action in the mid-1980s when it began attacking oil tankers during the Iran-Iraq War. Worse still, a closure of the straits would severely limit Iran’s already diminished oil exports. That option is extremely unlikely.
(Excerpted from The Washington Times article by Gary Anderson)
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