Instead of military retaliation, the Trump administration decided to play the card of the country that held back in a reasonable manner, showing the U.S. to be the victim of the brutal regime rather than an instigator of war.

President Trump announced new sanctions, increasing the pressure that is already high. The numerous sanctions already in place are having the intended effect. The country’s economy is being crippled, slowly strangulated and the regime is running out of avenues to turn to.

Furthermore, the people of Iran are applying immense domestic pressure through uprisings and unrest and loud and clear calls for regime change. The regime is struggling to keep a grip on power in its own country.

Blocking the Iranian regime from the ever-powerful U.S. financial system and denying the mullahs access to financial resources and their assets in the United States is a powerful punishment. The situation, at least the economic situation, is not going to improve under current conditions.

Instead of military strikes, the Trump administration decided to carry out cyber intrusion activities to disturb the country’s infrastructure. This is a powerful message to the regime that was no doubt expecting a military retaliation. It is sending a message that the United States does not need to resort to military conflict – it can make a significant impact via many other means.

The Trump administration is finding out what works, and it is building on that to create more success; much to the Iranian regime’s frustration.

After a series of events that escalated the tensions between the two countries, the U.S. denied Iran a response that would have been devastating in terms of casualties and destruction. This in turn denied the Iranian regime of the opportunity to provoke the people of Iran into supporting further action on the part of the regime. However, the people of Iran know that the enemy is not the United States – it is right at home leading their country. And they want the situation to end.

The leadership of Iran is at an impasse. How can it respond to the United States now? No matter what it does, nothing will get it out of the dead-end that it finds itself in. If it continues to provoke the United States, it is likely to eventually get a military retaliation. But Iran will pay a heavy price. And it knows it. The United States has its pick of many targets, not least because of its oil infrastructure, but also because of its numerous militias and proxy groups in the region. Does Iran really want to go there?