Since 1980, diplomatic relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran have been severed. This lack of formal diplomatic channels does not tell the whole story. For four decades, the two nations have seen each other as archenemies and have engaged in hostile economic and diplomatic activities and, occasionally, in direct and indirect military confrontations.
Under the Trump administration, this troubled relationship reached its nadir with the withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the implementation of a “maximum pressure” strategy. In the last few weeks before the November election, President Donald Trump has taken several steps to further heighten tension with Tehran.
These include the dispatching of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf and the efforts to trigger snapback sanctions and expand the arms embargo against Iran (these efforts have been opposed by China and Russia as well as the E3—Britain, France, and Germany).