Major General Qassem Soleimani, Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, issued a forceful response to President Trump’s recent tweet addressed to Iranian President Rouhani, the latest in a round of escalating rhetoric between the U.S. and Iran invoking war. “Gambler Trump! I alone will stand against you,” he touted. “You may begin a war, but it is us who will end it.”
The big picture: An ongoing challenge for Iranian security planners has been how to signal resolve without inviting military ruin. Gradual escalation against U.S. and allied interests as well as rhetorical bluster are therefore favorites of decision-makers in Tehran. What role misperception, miscalculation, ideological zeal and actual military action may play remains to be seen.