Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that U.S. sanctions have “failed”, even though his nation is on the brink of national rebellion because of food and other essential item shortages.
Protests have regularly broken out in major Iranian cites, as students and merchants revile the Islamist regime over its repressive social policies and foreign adventurism.
Rouhani also claimed that President Trump is afraid of war because an armed conflict, that he says Iran would win handily, would “ruin” the president’s reelection chances.
The U.S. president, for his part, has steadily increased the pressure on Iran by sanctions that Rouhani himself admits have been “crippling.” But since the Islamist regime cares little about how the sanctions affect everyday citizens, they continue to talk a big game.
Also given Trump has campaigned since 2016 against endless foreign conflicts and commitments, keeping up the strategic pressure on Iran without going to war has been part of his playbook from the beginning.
A more telling picture of the Iranian position is the recent seizure by the U.S. Navy of an Iranian smuggling vessel on the way to Yemen loaded with weapons. The Iranian smugglers surrendered without a shot fired.
The Iranians are playing a cat and mouse game with the U.S. in the region. They know if they escalate their actions too far a combined allied effort on the part of the Saudis, the Gulf States, the U.S. and perhaps even possibly the Israelis would further cripple the military and economic position of Iran in the Gulf and the surrounding area.
Their demand of a return to the deeply flawed nuclear deal signed with Iranian allies in the Obama administration is dead on arrival, as Trump also campaigned against that in 2016.
And this is a president who keeps his promises.
While President Trump has said he would be willing to negotiate with Iran, he is under no pressure to do so internationally or domestically. That makes his hand a strong one and the Iranians left talking big but carrying a very small scimitar.