Tensions between the United States and Iran continue to intensify. The Iranian government marked the one-year anniversary of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the multilateral agreement that capped its nuclear program by announcing that it would no longer comply with elements of the deal, a move that prompted Washington to impose new sanctions. This tit-for-tat exchange followed the dispatch of a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group to the region following reports that Iran or its proxies were preparing to attack U.S. interests in the area. All parties must step up efforts to de-escalate tensions as the prospects for conflict rise.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has worked since taking office to kill the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name of the 2015 multinational agreement that constrained Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement and then began to steadily turn the screws on the Tehran government, putting sanctions on its economy to force comprehensive changes in virtually all aspects of Iranian foreign policy. The U.S. seeks to push Iranian oil exports, the foundation of its economy, to zero; thus far, they have fallen to 700,000 barrels a day, considerably less than the 1 million to 1.5 million barrels needed to sustain its economy.

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