The president is more combative on Twitter than he is to initiating military action...He has an excellent political radar and he recognizes that there is no appetite among Americans for another costly protracted military intervention in the Middle East.
Tehran has detained a growing number of foreign nationals on bogus charges, including several academics...Given these risks and today’s threats aimed at a U.S. NGO and its staff, all academic and research organizations should seriously reassess their engagement with Iranian government institutions.
The Trump administration is facing a fork in the road with respect to its own policy...[the US has] deployed an enormous amount of pressure on Iran [and is] well prepared to keep that in place for as long as they deem it necessary... [as long as Washington] can avoid escalation and an eruption of a military conflict.
Provocations in the Gulf...help galvanize more effective European diplomacy by raising the costs...They remind Trump of his own domestic interests in avoiding either spikes in the price of oil or another costly, protracted U.S. military intervention in the Middle East as he begins his re-election campaign.
This is precisely how Iran negotiates: the unctuous charm of (Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad) Zarif paired with a punch in the face from the (Revolutionary Guards). They are two sides of the same coin, complementary and coordinated.
They [Iran] want to demonstrate that they can hit any traffic going through the Gulf at any time. That has the benefit of spooking not just the Trump administration but also other key stakeholders to the nuclear agreement and also their neighbors.
[Iran is] testing limits to gauge the response of the U.S. and the other key stakeholders...It's a very effective way to try to read a mercurial U.S. administration and inject some greater urgency among the other parties to the deal.