USA–Iran: between “Maximum Pressure” and “Heroic Flexibility”

 
PIIS013122270011962-9-1
DOI10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-7-69-79
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Affiliation: Institute of Europe RAS
Address: 11/3, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow 125009, Russian Federation
Journal nameMirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia
EditionVolume 64 Issue 7
Pages69-79
Abstract

The article analyzes the factors that determine the evolution of the United States’ conceptual approach to the Islamic Republic of Iran during the four administrations (from W. Clinton to D. Trump), as well as the main factors that influenced formation of Iran’s policy towards the U.S. Since the mid-1990's until recently, Washington’s approach has undergone significant changes – from the doctrine of “containing Iran” to the “maximum pressure campaign” on the Iranian leadership. The policy of the current U.S. administration has actually put the Gulf region on the brink of a full-blown military explosion (exchange of missile strikes in January 2020). However, in recent years, Tehran has also noticeably tightened the foreign policy line of “heroic flexibility” proclaimed in 2013 by Ayatollah A. Khamenei. And yet, despite the gigantic military superiority over Iran, the United States seek to avoid a direct clash with it. The reason is not only predicted losses on both sides. The ultimate goal of the American establishment is to bring Iran back to the bosom of partnership with the United States. Tehran understands this, and therefore, from time to time sends reconciliation messages to Washington. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S.–Iranian attitude has not changed. It is significant that, despite the magnitude of the epidemic and the number of victims in the country, Tehran refused a humanitarian gesture – the medical assistance offered by the Trump administration. Simultaneously, despite political disagreements with the European Union, the Iranian leadership agreed to accept European assistance. Against this background, the confrontation between the United States and Iran in the Persian Gulf continued to grow: the leaders of both states are betting on a strategy of mutual deterrence, which results in balancing on the verge of a collision

KeywordsIran, USA, JCPOA, nuclear deal, maximum pressure, heroic flexibility, sanctions, confrontation, Persian Gulf, Arab monarchies
Received29.09.2020
Publication date29.09.2020
Number of characters37092
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1 События января 2020 г. стали значимыми, показательными и даже рубежными для отношений между США и Ираном. Впервые за прошедшие 40 лет после Исламской революции Вашингтон и Тегеран открыто применили друг против друга силу в виде обмена ракетными ударами, что вполне могло быть расценено сторонами как акт уже начавшейся войны или объявления таковой. Однако войны не произошло: стороны разошлись “по предварительной договоренности” – Иран понес реальную потерю в виде гибели генерала Касема Сулеймани, командира подразделения “Аль-Кудc” Корпуса стражей исламской революции (КСИР), а Пентагон претерпел материальный ущерб, нанесенный его базе в Ираке, плюс около сотни американских военнослужащих подверглись сравнительно легкой контузии (последствия разрывов ракет поблизости от мест их укрытия в бункерах).
2 В пиковые моменты эпизодов январского противостояния эксперты выстраивали возможные сценарии казавшихся неизбежными масштабных боевых действий. Появлялись сравнительные таблицы показателей боевой мощи двух стран, которые свидетельствовали не в пользу Ирана [1]. Делались прогнозы относительно сроков полного разгрома военной структуры Ирана и т.д. Вашингтон, однако, дал возможность иранскому руководству “спасти лицо” ответным (после ликвидации К. Сулеймани) ударом по американской базе в Ираке (по предварительному уведомлению Тегераном по нескольким каналам, чтобы избежать реальных жертв среди американцев) [2], после чего каждая из сторон провозгласила себя “победителем”, а конфликт – исчерпанным эпизодом.
3 Тем не менее вопросов появилось немало. И важнейший из них таков: стремятся ли сменяющие друг друга администрации Белого дома только добиться изменений “в поведении Ирана” при сохранении отношений враждебности между двумя странами или преследуют более далеко идущую цель – сменить режим в Тегеране, чтобы превратить ИРИ во влиятельного в регионе партнера Соединенных Штатов?
4

ИСТОКИ И ЭТАПЫ ПРОТИВОСТОЯНИЯ

5 На официальном уровне все американские администрации с середины 90-х годов и по сей день давали однозначный ответ на этот вопрос: США не стремятся к смене режима в Тегеране, а добиваются ''изменения его поведения в регионе'', включая отказ от ядерной программы военного назначения и производства баллистических ракет [3] 1. 1. Zakaria T., Bohan C. Obama's Olive Branch to Iran Turned into Sanctions Hammer. Reuters, 14 January 2012. Available at: >>>> (accessed 01.03.2020).
6 Однако американская пресса и многие аналитики склонны интерпретировать подходы администраций Б. Обамы и Д. Трампа как стремление изменить именно режим в Тегеране, но по-разному: Обама делал ставку на политические средства, на поощрение умеренных политиков в Тегеране, видя в этом суть международного соглашения по ядерной программе Ирана (Совместный Всеобъемлющий План Действий – СВПД, подписанный в 2015 г.), а Трамп, отказавшийся от СВПД в его нынешнем виде, наращивает экономическое и военное давление на Иран вплоть до готовности применить силу. «Президент Трамп и его высокопоставленные чиновники отрицают стремление “сменить режим” (в Тегеране. – А.Ш.) военными средствами. Но они явно не против того, чтобы их кампания “максимального давления” на Иран, подкрепленная убийством его наиболее ценного военного лидера, привела к резкому перевороту и, возможно, даже падению теократического правительства Ирана. Подход Трампа контрастирует с подходом администрации Обамы, которая вместе с Европой пыталась “ввести Иран в новую эру не давлением, а силой убеждения”», – пишет обозреватель The New York Times Майкл Кроули [4].

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