Let’s assume the Iranian escalation is directly tied to withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Doesn’t that suggest that Iran places getting nukes above prosperity? All of the analysis on the subject leaves out what will Israel do if Iran closes in on a nuclear weapon.
Iran a known state sponsor for terrorism. They repeatedly call for death to Israel. Do you think Israel would sit idly by while Iran is closing in on a nuke? History says they will strike, and then there’s a significant chance that war follows.
Trump pulling out of the deal keeps tension high, but odds of war low. Iran knows it would not be a US invasion if the conflict heats up. It wouldn’t be terribly difficult to destroy the Iranian naval forces and wreck their ports. This leaves them unable to export oil and their economy grinds to a halt. On the other hand, if Israel attacks then the chance of a ground war is significantly higher.
Iran is posturing to try and get the best deal they can, but thought that Trump would react with military might. By not doing so Trump has established the better hand. He’s coming across as the more level headed person in the situation and Iran is coming across as the antagonist.
By threatening the free transit of oil Iran has lost much of the sympathy from Trump pulling out of the deal. This is very much a diplomatic problem where they don’t have a good exit strategy option. Their problem is compounded by the fact that threatening the free transit of oil is their trump card, no pun intended.
Continue to antagonize and western sentiment hardens against them. It’s just a matter of time before the economic pain becomes untenable. Their oil ecportd are already down to 300k barrels a day, and that can be further choked off by more sanctions and/or cooperation from third party countries who are allowing the sales to continue.
Iran has no good options anymore, but Trump does. By pursuing the maximum pressure diplomatic route Trump has made sure peace has a chance. It’s much less likely for peace if Iran gets a nuke.