The Christian Science Monitor

US-Iran escalation: It’s message-sending, but the risks are high

Another day, another step in the apparently inexorable escalation of U.S.-Iran tensions that has brought the arch-adversaries to the brink of war since President Donald Trump last year withdrew from the nuclear deal.

The escalation has included a U.S. “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign that has crippled Iran’s economy and targeted its supreme leader and elite Revolutionary Guard; incremental Iranian violations of the landmark 2015 deal; Iran shooting down a $130 million U.S. intelligence drone; and Mr. Trump at the last minute calling off a retaliatory surgical strike – while planes were reportedly mid-route.

The result: the U.S. and Iran have not been this close to open conflict since the 1980s.

Which raises two very pressing questions: What is the psychology of escalation at play? And how

“Realization of danger”“Reversible steps”Rouhani under fire

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