To defuse this crisis the US must start talking to Iran | Peter Westmacott

As Washington raises the stakes, the risk of a misunderstanding is high – and it could lead to a new conflict in the Middle East,

Once again Iran is the focus of attention for Washington’s foreign policy hawks – and by extension for the rest of us. Donald Trump says he doesn’t want a war with Iran, but his national security adviser, John Bolton, has despatched warships and bombers to the region while the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has been sharing worrying intelligence about Iranian intentions with close allies and congressional leaders.

What’s going on? It’s now a year since Trump tore up the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated in 2015 by the Obama administration along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU. Since then, egged on by Israel and the Gulf states, he has announced new sanctions, despite Iran’s full compliance with the terms of the deal, and tried bullying the Europeans and others into applying US sanctions in order to deny Iranians the economic benefits they were promised.

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Read More To defuse this crisis the US must start talking to Iran | Peter Westmacott

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