Tensions between Tehran and Washington have been escalating faster than ever over the last few decades, while on the one hand, we are witnessing a military buildup in the region, but on the other hand, US officials, while stressing that no war will occur, constantly talk about negotiations with Iran and its conditions. Under these circumstances, perhaps the most likely scenario in Iran-US relations is negotiations in a relatively equal condition, and the option of war can be described as an unlikely choice. Because the strategy of brinksmanship which the US government is pursuing by maximizing the sanctions pressures and new military buildup in the region, as well as the Islamic Republic of Iran through resistance, suspending some of its JCPOA commitments and military buildup, could ultimately create an opportunity for dialogue between the parties.

It should be noted that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) had somehow created a balance between the demands and needs of Iran and the demands and needs of the United States. When this balance was reached, the JCPOA produced results, but when Washington unilaterally pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement, it disturbed the balance and hoped that it would force Iran into JCPOA or non-JCPOA negotiations. But Iran’s resistance, as well as the decision recently made regarding the partial suspension of its JCPOA commitments showed that Tehran wants to restore this disrupted equilibrium and enter into negotiations by holding the upper hand.

Recent statements by Iran President Hassan Rouhani also indicate that we are in favour of negotiations but would not sit at the negotiation table under the current situation. The Supreme Leader also has emphasized that there will be no talks in this regard. In other words, if the conditions change, there is a possibility of talks between Tehran and Washington. Therefore, the Americans must come to the conclusion that Iran is taking the same strategy against the strategy of brinksmanship; that is, Iran, in addition to strengthening its regional and defence activities, may later resume its nuclear activities as well.

The Americans are likely to be in a position to hold talks with Iran, either out of concern over the outbreak of war or what they call the production of “nuclear weapon” by Iran. They may treat Iran on relatively equal terms and may disregard the 12 conditions set by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In these circumstances, it can be said that the US has entered fair negotiations resulting in taking and giving some concessions. Iranian officials state that in a situation where there is no balance and the Americans are putting maximum pressure on the country, entering into any dialogue with the United States will be merely a concession from Iran and not gaining any concession from Washington.

Of course, it should be noted that the strategy of brinksmanship has very risky conditions. In other words, it is a gamble so that a military encounter might occur intentionally or inadvertently, but at least balance could be created and could encourage the parties from the panic of worsening conditions to giving concessions to the other side. Therefore, if we exclude the possibility of war, we can imagine that what is happening now could help initiate talks so that the Americans would no longer treat Iran from above and sit at the negotiation table on equal terms.

Under such conditions, the Americans will recognize the winning cards and the tools that are available to Iran and will meet Tehran’s demands. Therefore, it can be said that the future of these developments is, in fact, the two ends of a spectrum and from this military buildup and war of words either a major war would emerge — the indications of which are not strong — or better conditions would be created for negotiations between the parties.

Of course, it is also possible neither of the two events would occur and the situation would remain the same in the medium term, that is, the maximum American pressure and the maximum Iranian resistance would continue until it would eventually take a newer shape.

As far as the military option is concerned it must be noted that the United States will not enter into the 20th-century war with Iran. In fact, many experts and scholars argue that America today has changed the tools of the war otherwise the war and its nature are still an option.

The United States has come to the conclusion not only about Iran but about many countries that the most destructive, most effective and least costly weapon in its arsenal is the sanctions that are highly effective, inflict no human casualties or financial damage on the US economy can be used in the wars Washington has in mind.