The truth is that Ankara feels threatened by Moscow, but security concerns, mistrust of the West, and an inability to secure American missiles left Erdogan searching for an alternative.
Washington should reduce tensions, open lines of communication, and restore deterrence, though managing the contradictions between these objectives will be challenging.
By holding fast to his defiant approach while stopping just short of war, Khamenei may be hoping to stall until the next U.S. and Iranian election cycles.
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Despite the challenges that usually accompany these high-level talks, Gulf countries seem keener than ever to counter the threat across the Persian Gulf.
Tehran has reportedly told its militia proxies to be ready for escalation, so Washington must prepare to maintain a full presence in Iraq even under potentially increased fire.