President Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Campaign and Iran’s Endgame

Mohammed Nuruzzaman is Associate Professor of International Relations at the Gulf University for Science and Technology, Mishref, Kuwait.
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  • November 2020

    Iran—US relations are in a state of flux due to President Trump’s draconian sanctions, what is dubbed the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, to force Iran to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran’s ‘counter pressure’ policy, in contrast, has sought to blunt the effects of sanctions and compel the Trump administration to return to the nuclear deal. This article examines the basic thrust, goals and shortcomings of Trump’s anti-Iran campaign, and also explores Iran’s policy choices and responses to face off Trump’s campaign of ‘maximum pressure’. The prospect of slow death under sanctions and recent changes in Iran’s domestic power equations in favour of the hardliners is potentially paving the way for Iran for a war decision to permanently free itself from the suffocating shackles of US sanctions.