“For Trump, the purpose of exerting ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran through sanctions is ‘the belief that he will bring them around and they’ll realize they need to do a deal and the terms will be better,’ said Dennis Ross, a former diplomat who negotiated Middle East agreements for Republican and Democratic administrations.

“’The point is, he still thinks there’s a deal he can do. . . . I think for him, the real measure, in his mind, is showing he improved over what [President Barack] Obama did. My sense right now is the Iranians will try to outlast him,’ Ross said, although ‘they may well have underestimated how much they will feel the pressure. There’s no question they’re hurting’ from sanctions, ‘and they’re going to hurt more.’”

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