Foreign Policy Digital

Echoes of Iraq in Trump’s Confrontation with Iran

The rising tensions with Tehran bear disturbing similarities to the run-up to war in 2003. Chief among them: the presence of John Bolton.

The Trump administration says it does not want war with Iran. Many of its actions suggest otherwise.

In the year since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear pact, his administration has dramatically raised tensions by reimposing sanctions, choking off all of Iran’s oil exports, labeling the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group, and, most recently, sending an aircraft carrier strike group to the Middle East. In response, Iran said Wednesday it would begin a partial withdrawal from the nuclear deal (which until now Tehran and other major nations have continued to observe)—a move that Trump critics fear the president could use to justify an attack.

Most telling of all, perhaps, is that Trump’s Iran policy appears to have fallen into the hands of National Security Advisor John Bolton, the unremitting hawk who has repeatedly called for regime change in Tehran and was a

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