But according to multiple administration sources and briefings over several weeks with senior officials, the crackdown on Iran was long planned, and is entirely consistent with Trump’s long-stated objectives.

It follows a carefully orchestrated sequence of events.

First, as Trump promised during the campaign, he withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on May 8, despite substantial independent evidence Iran was complying with its terms. Trump reluctantly stuck with it for several months longer than he wished while Rex Tillerson was secretary of state, but once Tillerson was replaced by Mike Pompeo, who was joined by another anti-Iran hawk, National Security Advisor John Bolton, there were no restraints.