Critics of Trump and Pompeo's maximum pressure campaign against Iran have argued that the sanctions strangulation and 'dirty tricks' actions which put the Islamic Republic on the extreme defensive and thus a militarized posture will only push it to pursue a nuclear bomb at all costs.
After all the mullahs see what happened to Libya and Iraq, and especially since the last January assassination of IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani (and now the killing of its top nuclear scientist last Friday) consider that Iran is at war on multiple fronts against its enemies. As yet more proof, Iran is ready to take the most dramatic step yet pulling further away from prior designated restrictions on its nuclear energy development program:
A bill requiring Iran’s government to suspend nuclear inspections unless sanctions are lifted, and ignore other restraints on its nuclear program agreed with major powers, was passed by the hardline-led parliament on Tuesday.
If this is done before Trump's exit, it could serve as casus belli for military action. This after administration hawks - with Pompeo leading the way - have reportedly been given free reign to hammer Iran short of provoking major war.
A new report in The Daily Beast claims that "Trump has given some of his most hawkish administration officials, particularly his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, carte blanche to squeeze and punish the Islamic Republic as aggressively as they wish in the coming weeks."
The Iranians attached a timeline for the potential looming booting out of international inspectors: "Lawmakers later passed the full bill, including a provision requiring the government to suspend United Nations nuclear inspections if Western powers which are still part of the 2015 nuclear accords, as well as China and Russia, do no re-establish Iran’s access to world banking and oil markets within a month," according to Reuters.
Iran will be asked for additional concessions for sanctions relief, says Biden’s new NSA head.— Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) November 29, 2020
Opening gambit? Negotiations will be bumpy. Iran will ramp up refinement & and use China’s willingness to break sanctions as counter gambit. https://t.co/mNeteCki0l
This is also likely designed to give Iran greater leverage going into talks and negotiations with the new Biden administration. The President-Elect has vowed to try and get the US back into the 2015 nuclear deal brokered under Obama, but of course Iran has already blasted past nuclear enrichment level caps stipulated by the deal as a response to US sanctions.
The current US administration has also promised to derail any future Biden attempts to restore participation in the JCPOA. If Iran does move to end the nuclear inspections program, this could indeed seriously hinder any Biden initiative to restore peaceful relations.