The transfer of a major US strike force consisting of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, with its complement of 130 planes and 10 ships, through the Suez canal to the region of the Persian Gulf, is a clear message to the leaders of Iran. It follows a statement by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei in which he gave Europe an ultimatum of 30 days to make concessions to Iran or they will restart their nuclear weapons program, including increasing enriched uranium production. Concurrently the US increased the sanctions against Iran, that has immobilized their banks and has caused a major financial crisis.
Ar the same time, in a relatively conciliatory reply, Pres. Trump called on Pres. Rouhani of Iran to enter talks with him in order to overcome their differences. But, he has not taken the possibility of military action off the table if Iran indeed does restart its nuclear program against their agreement with a group of Western countries and against several UNSC resolutions. So at the moment things are in the balance. Will Iran, according to their leader’s rhetoric and demonstrations by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), ignore Trump’s warnings and remain recalcitrant, or will they opt for negotiations with the US?
If I were to bet, I would say that Iran cannot climb down, even against a show of superior military strength. It would be humiliating for them and would in a way be a halt to their vaunted Shia revolutionary drive. If push comes to shove, I could predict a military show-down between Iran and the US and its allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. The US and these allies cannot accept Iran achieving a nuclear weapon and the time to prevent it is sooner rather than when it is too late.