Tehran didn’t act secretly or even quietly. It announced its plans and made sure the entire world knew it was steadily, if gradually, breaking out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the deal that President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from more a year ago.
Trump has made a series of confrontational moves since then, most of all imposing harsh American sanctions despite Iran’s compliance with the deal at the time.
But now, Iran is responding with visibly provocative actions, including its suspected sabotage of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf last month.
Is Iran hoping that it might somehow benefit from a U.S. attack? Or is it hoping to trigger a beneficial diplomatic response? What is Tehran really trying to do?