Hassan Rouhani and Donald Trump - USA, Iran News

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U.S. strategy on Iran is confused and Washington seems increasingly short of options to avoid escalation, with President Donald Trump saying that the choice between war and diplomacy “could go either way.” “The Trump administration is facing a fork in the road with respect to its own policy,” said Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The U.S. has “deployed an enormous amount of pressure on Iran” and is “well prepared to keep that in place for as long as they deem it necessary,” as long as Washington “can avoid escalation and an eruption of a military conflict,” said Maloney. Asked Monday if the U.S. was leaning toward negotiation or conflict, Trump did little to reassure those who prefer the former in resolving an international crisis that is currently one of the world’s most potentially explosive. “I’m okay either way it goes,” said the president, who has imposed punishing sanctions on Tehran while also repeatedly calling for dialogue. Iran has publicly refused to take part in any talks held under pressure. Meanwhile tensions have mounted, with drones shot down, oil tankers mysteriously attacked and ships seized by both Tehran and U.S. ally the U.K. According to Maloney, Iran is “trying to get a sense of where the red lines for the administration are.” But so far, despite tough talk — “We are ready for the absolute worst,” Trump said Monday — the president has repeatedly emphasized his desire to avoid a new U.S. military intervention, and spoke publicly…

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