The Trump administration has increased criticism and pressure on Iran in recent days: accusing the country of planning assassinations of American diplomats, announcing hacking indictments, preparing unilateral sanctions and denouncing Tehran for interfering in the November election. But the campaign to denigrate and isolate Iran belies Tehran’s current posture. Iran’s supreme leader has blocked any large, direct retaliation to the United States, at least for now, allowing only cyber activity to flourish, according to American and allied officials briefed on new intelligence reporting. Iran also abandoned plans it had a year ago to deliver an election season surprise this fall, like an attack on Persian Gulf shipping or Middle Eastern oil production intended to shock global financial markets and hurt President Trump’s chances of re-election, according to American officials familiar with the intelligence. Iran recalculated after the pandemic devastated the world economy, making any sort […]