The United States stepped right up to the brink of striking Iran over a downed American drone—and then abruptly stepped back. Yet the conditions that have stoked weeks of tensions remain fully in place, as does the question of what exactly President Donald Trump plans to do in the face of Iranian threats against American assets and interests.
Now that the two countries have traveled so far down the road to war, is there any realistic off-ramp to the negotiations the U.S. president keeps saying he ultimately wants?
On the surface, that path is nowhere to be found. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has repeatedly disavowed the idea of negotiating with the United States ever since the Trump administration withdrew last year from the Iran nuclear deal. Trump reimposed all sanctions against Iran that the Obama administration had lifted as part of the 2015 pact, recently taking the additional step of pressuring other countries to stop buying oil from Iran altogether.
Read the full article and more in The Atlantic.