Can the US and Iran Avert a Military Confrontation?

The Iranian government announced this past weekend that it breached several important limits in the nuclear deal Iran agreed to and signed in 2015. This comes less than three weeks after Iran shot down an American surveillance drone pushing the United States to the edge of military retaliation, and the July 4 British seizing of an Iranian supertanker, off the coast of Gibraltar, carrying crude oil to Syria. To appreciate the stakes in this escalating crisis, it is important to understand the history and the options facing the U.S.

Hostilities between the U.S. and Iran have existed since 1979-1980 when 52 American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days. That crisis was the result of deeply held anti-American sentiment integral to the ideology of the Islamic Republic of Iran that shaped bilateral relations in the ensuing decades. (Iran or its proxies may well have killed hundreds of U.S. military

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