Can Trump Pivot From ‘Maximum Pressure’ to Diplomacy With Iran?

Can Trump Pivot From ‘Maximum Pressure’ to Diplomacy With Iran?
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, listens to Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri during an army parade just outside Tehran, Iran, April 18, 2019 (Office of the Iranian Presidency photo via AP Images).

This time last month, the United States and Iran seemed to be headed toward a military conflict. The Trump administration was warning of new and imminent threats emanating from Tehran, evacuating diplomatic personnel from Iraq and deploying military assets to the region, even as some elected officials warned that the threat was being exaggerated.

Military tensions have cooled somewhat since then, but Iranians are already on a war footing, as they struggle to make ends meet in an economy that has been brought to its knees by U.S. sanctions. Pressure is mounting on Iran’s political leaders, who this week followed through on a pledge to accelerate the pace of uranium enrichment in a bid to generate leverage.

In this week’s podcast interview, WPR’s associate editor, Elliot Waldman, talks with Suzanne Maloney, deputy director of the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution and a senior fellow in the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy, about these and other recent developments in the Trump administration’s standoff with Iran. Suzanne weighs in on the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran, how the prospect of diplomatic negotiations with the U.S. are being seen in Tehran, and efforts by Japan and other U.S. allies to head off a military conflict.

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
Amid Ratcheting Tensions, Iran Doesn’t Know What Trump Really Wants
Trump’s Iran Policy Risks Catastrophic Success—or Catastrophic Failure
The Nuclear Deal Raised Iranians’ Hopes. Now They’re Focused on Survival
Pre-Emptively Striking Iran Would Be One of the Worst Blunders in American History
Will Their Tensions With the U.S. Push China and Iran Closer Together?

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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