The issue of Iran has been very divisive, and it has divided Americans. While this is common among many issues, the interesting thing is that it has divided Americans within each political party. Furthermore, the anti-establishment, anti-war side seems less inclined to a war or military confrontation with Iran, while the war-hawks and establishment figures seem more receptive to an idea of a confrontation with Iran the country continues to attempt to skirt around U.S. sanctions. The article, “How to Contain Iran” in The Economist gives its opinion, by the editors, talks about the approach the U.S. needs to take with Iran.

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To begin, the writers seem very supportive of the idea of how to control Iran under President Obama’s administration. Furthermore, the writers talk about how the path to a nuclear weapon was blocked 4 years ago when Iran agreed to what is known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. In this deal, Iran was subjected to the “toughest inspection regime in history” and restricted its nuclear program to solely civilian usage (The Economist 1). However, say the writers, Iran is now free to go over its threshold restricted by the deal because President Trump threw the deal out and now nothing is stopping Iran from building its nuclear stores.

While the article says that Iran is nowhere near becoming a nuclear superpower, it is still heaping tons of pressure on the U.S., as it just shot down a drone and has become more aggressive in its nearby seas. This adds more tension between the U.S. and Iran, but neither country has an appetite for war, so both countries, the article implies, are engaging in an aggressive form of showmanship, waiting for the other to blink (The Economist 2).

While Trump holds a deep dislike for Obama’s old deal, says the article, he is engaging in toughening sanctions on Iran rather than go to war. This approach is much like the one the Obama Administration used on Russia after the annexation. President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign will only heighten the tensions and cause both sides to have to work hard in reading each other’s red lines. This is something that is very risky since one side may end up misreading their enemy’s and war can break out. The article also goes to say that if war broke out with Iran, this would cause America’s progress with North Korea to all but be erased, as North Korea would become less trusting of the United States and its ability to negotiate (The Economist 4).

The writers believe that Iran and the U.S. need to talk, as this is the only plausible solution to the current problem. Furthermore, while both sides remain dead-locked in a high stakes fight, optimists do remain optimistic, as they note how Trump and Kim Jong Un had a tense relationship before getting along, perhaps too well.

The article goes to write how tough it is to negotiate with Iran, but that both leaders want to come to the table. It is just matter of how, and the article states that the U.S. should present a good faith gift to Iran in order to coax them to come to the negotiation table (The Economist 6).

In the end, it is all about how the U.S. will initiate Iran, as the Iranian hardliners are ruling over Iran’s relations with America. In other words, the article states that the U.S. won’t solve all of its problems, but it will essentially put Iran back in the box if it can come up with another agreement, possibly going beyond 2030 or even 2040 (The Economist 7).

  • “How to Contain Iran.” The Economist, vol. 431, no. 9149, Jun 29, 2019, pp. 12. ProQuest,
  • Inbar, Efraim. “There is No “Better Deal “with Iran.” BESA Center Perspectives, Online Journal 9 (2015).
  • Samore, Gary S., et al. “The Iran nuclear deal: A definitive guide.” (2015).