John Hannah is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, focusing on U.S. strategy. During the presidency of George W. Bush, he served for eight years on the staff of Vice President Cheney, including as the vice president's national security advisor.
I don’t see much mystery in the recent ratcheting up of tensions between the United States and Iran. US sanctions are crushing the Iranian economy. The ever-tightening vice has proved increasingly threatening to Iran’s leaders. In response, they have been scrambling for ways to push back and force the United States to relent without triggering a potentially suicidal conflict with the US military. The US intelligence community detected the spike in Iranian preparations to target American interests, resulting in the decision to augment US forces in the region as well as a flurry of public warnings meant to deter any challenge