The Executive, the Magistrate, and the Maverick
11. The World from Mar- a- Lago: Deciding to Kill Qasem Suleimani
11 The World from Mar-a-Lago: Deciding to Kill Qasem Suleimani
Trump’s decision to stand down after Iran successfully targeted a U.S. unmanned surveillance drone did not allay the tensions in the Middle East. Instead, bellicosity continued to grow as the U.S. and Iran gradually intensified their tit-for-tat exchanges. In fact, less than one week after deciding not to strike Iran, the Trump administration imposed additional sanctions on the country’s religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Taylor, 2019). In an attempt to show its resolve, the administration also deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar to defend U.S. forces and personnel in the region. The F-22 Raptor’s capacity to target and destroy Iranian surface-to-air missile batteries such as the S-300 system were intended to serve as an additional deterrent (Lendon, 2019).
However, despite the administration’s best intentions to constrain Tehran, on July 1, 2019, international inspectors announced that Iran had breached the critical limit established in the JCPOA on how much nuclear fuel it could possess (Sanger, 2019c). A week later, Tehran informed the international community that it had surpassed the 3.67 uranium enrichment cap and would move to increase those levels even further, while emphasizing that it would do so “for peaceful purposes only” (Specia, 2019). As Iran slowly extricated itself from some of the provisions of the JCPOA, the Trump administration doubled down on its policy aimed at punishing members of the regime. More precisely, on July 31, 2019, the administration extended sanctions to Iran’s foreign minister,...
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