For America’s “maximum pressure” strategy to be more effective and coherent the Trump administration must confine sanctions relief to the objective of amending the nuclear agreement (conveying this to Tehran via reliable channels) and simultaneously increase military pressure.
Maximum pressure will always be only a half-measure unless it has a military component in the shape of expansion of American military presence in the region (especially now in light of the new conditions in the Persian Gulf); determination to challenge Iranian moves on the ground; and the presentation of a credible military threat to the ayatollahs in Tehran. Without these measures Iran is more likely to miscalculate and be tempted to execute its planned attacks (probably by proxy) against American troops in the region and test American resolve even in the straits of Hormuz.
Col. (Res.) Udi Evental is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at IDC Herzliya. While serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, he served as head of the Strategic Planning Unit of the Political-Military and Policy Bureau of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, assistant for intelligence to the military secretary of the prime minister, intelligence attaché in Washington, and elsewhere.