Trump's Dangerous Iran Gamble

On Tuesday night the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard oral arguments in a major case against Donald Trump's Muslim ban.

The hearing was held over telephone, and comes just days after a federal judge named James Robart out in Seattle blocked the ban.

On one side of today's oral arguments were the Attorneys General of Minnesota and Washington state.

They asked the 9th circuit to uphold Judge Robart's earlier order putting the Muslim ban on hold.

On the other side of things were lawyers from Donald Trump's Justice Department - who asked the 9th circuit to immediately reinstate the ban.

They claim national security reasons, even though zero Syrian refugees here in the US have ever been involved in anything remotely like terrorists, and residents of the 7 other countries also affected by the travel portion of the ban have killed, you guessed it, zero Americans in terrorist attacks on US soil.

A lot is at stake here, and not just for the hundreds of thousands of people personally affected by the ban.

If the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the lower court ruling that blocked Trump's ban, that could go a long way towards improving our image abroad, which has taken a huge hit since Donald Trump took over the Oval Office, as anyone with a Der Spiegel subscription already knows.

But anyway, even if we do start looking better in the eyes of many Europeans, the damage Trump's Muslim ban has done to our already tense relationship with Iran might be harder to undo.

The Iranian government has responded to the ban by refusing to issue visas to Americans - and earlier today Iran's Supreme Leader said in a nationally televised speech that Trump and his ban represent the "true America."

To make matters worse, all of this comes in the middle of the most serious diplomatic standoff between the US and Iran in years.

The Trump administration has just slapped Iran with a brand new set of sanctions - and is reportedly now about to pick ultra-Iran hawk and former Reagan official Elliot Abrams as the next Deputy Secretary of State.

The president himself has also raged against Iran on Twitter, warning that he won't be as "kind" to it as president Obama was.

Apparently Donald Trump doesn't remember that President Obama, like George W Bush, threatened to go to war Iran if their nuclear negotiations didn't work out.

This all, of course, raises a very big question: is Donald Trump preparing for a war with Iran?

And if so, how can we stop him?

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