A clash between the US and Iran: When no one wants to fight

US-Iran strife "a very interesting situation," says former American diplomat in Middle East.


Donald Trump
Donald Trump

President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is in Bahrain Tuesday to kick off a peace conference between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

But right now, the major focus when it comes to the Middle East is Iran. The country lashed out at the US after new sanctions were announced Monday, saying the move represents a "permanent closure" of diplomacy. Trump responded Tuesday, threatening to meet any Iranian military action with "great and overwhelming force."

Douglas Silliman, who was US ambassador to Iraq until this year and to Kuwait before that, says the two countries are in a "very interesting situation."

"The imposition of frankly very crushing economic sanctions on Iran by the Trump administration, has put a lot of pressure on Iran," says Silliman, now president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, D.C. "The economy shrank last year. The currency is mostly now unable to be used for international transactions."