The USA and Iran maintained diplomatic relations since 1856. Since the Iranian Revolution, the two countries have been enemies. There are several reasons why the conflict has reached a new climax right now, which have a lot to do with trade.
Is anyone else talking about the impeachment against Donald Trump today? The debate about the corrupt machinations of the US President has almost been silenced in the media. The patriotic mentality, which is particularly pronounced in the USA, is taking hold, so shortly before the outbreak of a hot war by the USA against Iran. The tendency to use an external war to conceal the contradictions and shortcomings within the own country has always been one of the main reasons for war. Especially in modern times, when most countries are spatially saturated and more and more land and territory is a burden rather than a source of wealth (it is not without reason why the poorest countries on earth are mostly territorial states and the richest ones are all city states), the reasons for the outbreak of military conflicts are usually of cultural nature or – even more important – economic.
The symbolic acts of President Donald Trump with the threat of attacking 52 (also cultural) targets within Iran are played by the string-puller with old resentments and symbols. It were 52 Americans who were held as prisoners by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards for more than a year in 1979. The debate about the threatened attack on cultural sites, which is clearly contrary to international law, also plays with the convictions of the people in the USA, which are so strongly oriented towards symbolic acts. To propagate the war between the USA and Iran as a question of cultural difference is easy and will meet with broad approval.
Much more important – and the real reason for a possible war – are economic causes. Iran is centrally located in a crisis region that extends from Pakistan to Afghanistan, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Israel. Iran is also an easy military prey. It will not be too difficult for the superpower USA to defeat it. When US combat boots will march through the dusty streets of Tehran, they will be in a central position. Across the Caspian Sea, Iran has even a direct border with Russia. At the latest this shows that the calculation for the beginning of such a military conflict is rather non-military in nature. Most recently, the conflict with Ukraine has shown how sensitively Russia reacts when the USA and/or Europe move close to the Russian border.
The stock indices are already falling, and experts are already predicting the global negative effects of the conflict on the global economy. That is all true. Many will suffer economically from this conflict. Also and above all Europe, that in recent months has been showing unambiguous moral solidarity with Iran. Lastly, in the moral outrage over the (admittedly) unlawful murder of the Iranian General Soleimani, as well as the possible destruction of cultural sites as a violation of international law – Europe must decide: are they on the side of the USA, an immoral but calculated super-power, or do they open up a moral legitimation to Iran with a hesitant and dubious attitude. This option would mean taking the side of a military loser who, because of its already traditional support for Islamist terror, certainly shows that it does not have high moral standards neither.
The usual super-moral attitude of Europe (especially Germany and France) as the prince of peace and mediator is not an option. None of the parties to the conflict will listen to Europe. The USA does not need Europe in this, and Iran knows that Europe is far too weak to actually act as an arbitrator.