The U.S. and Iran Are Marching Toward War

Can They Find a Solution Before It’s Too Late?

An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of Oman, in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran, June 13, 2019 Handout / Reuters

With each passing day, the United States and Iran draw each other deeper into conflict. So far, they have stopped short of war. But the likelihood of an armed conflict increases with every additional provocation, whether it is an attack on a civilian tanker ship or another round of sanctions. Both countries, with their all-or-nothing strategies, are to blame. President Donald Trump’s administration has pursued a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran built on suffocating economic sanctions and a de facto oil and gas embargo. Iran has pursued a maximum resistance strategy, escalating into attacks on shipping lanes, downing a U.S. drone over the Persian Gulf, and rejecting out of hand all opportunities for de-escalatory talks with Washington. With both states unwilling to back down, the march toward war continues.


That relations could have deteriorated to this degree is remarkable. Only four years ago, Washington and Tehran signed a

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