This fall, we are likely to see President Trump’s Middle East foreign policy shaken on multiple fronts. The withdrawal of troops from Syria is echoing in all directions, as the region’s actors change their assumptions about what the United States might do. The U.S. policy of maximum pressure on Iran is high on the list of questions.
When the Trump administration chose to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and heavily sanction Iran, it expected ordinary Iranians would demand that Iran make concessions and pressure the government through mass protests in response to economic pain.
Three new surveys of the Iranian public conducted by The Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland (CISSM) not only deflate this view, they show that U.S. efforts are having the opposite effect from what is intended.