As such, the success of everything that the Americans have done in Iraq since 2003 hinges on Iran unless the USA is prepared to maintain a large number of combat troops on the ground in Iraq indefinitely. The latter option is simply not feasible, especially under Obama's administration and given the country's current economic weaknesses.
This American dependence on Iran and the latter's enormously strengthened influence in the region is the main reason behind the sanctions drive. The balance of power has shifted toward Iran in an unexpected - from an American perspective - way.
American withdrawal from the region will be quickly followed by greater Iranian control over the Persian Gulf. This has nothing to do with nuclear weapons, as Iran has by far the most powerful and sophisticated conventional forces in the region.
The nuclear issue is misdirection. The real issue for America is how to extricate itself from yet another disastrous military campaign without looking like a loser. For this, it has to negotiate a deal with Iran, but it has to try and reduce Iran's gains in any such negotiated settlement. Hence, the targeting of Iran's economy.
Will Iran be able to outmanoeuvre USA in this area too? Quite likely, especially as the Americans insist on digging an even deeper hole for themselves in Afghanistan.
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