President Trump is deeply confused by Iran's refusal to make a deal. The Dealmaker-in-Charge has made it clear to the Supreme Leader that if he sits down with The Donald, there will be rich rewards. Iran will be welcomed back into the community of nations, given full access to international trade and investment, and all that the Iranians have to do in JCPOA 2.0 is pledge to forever forego a nuclear bomb and greatly reduce their arsenal of ballistic missiles, which they have stashed inside Iran, in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
What the President lacks is any understanding of the internal dynamics in the Islamic Republic and the growing power of a hardline faction of clerics and the top leaders of the IRGC. They are Iran's equivalent of the worst of the American neocons. They never wanted the JCPOA, they want out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and they believe that they can wipe out the reformist and centrist opposition to their total consolidation of power. Recently, one of the most hardline former IRGC commanders was elected as chairman of the powerful National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian parliament. Mojtaba Zonnour's election was a significant step towards the IRGC internal power coup.
In the minds of this apparatus, the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA proved that President Rouhani, Foreign Minister Zarif and all those who backed the negotiations with the P5+1 were naïve and were deceived by those seeking regime change in Tehran. They believe that Iranians have already suffered greatly under the American sanctions, and things can't get much worse economically. They also believe that the United States does not have the will to conduct a full-scale invasion and will resort to missile strikes, cyber attacks and other sabotage. The strategic goal is to survive the Trump presidency with the new regime, led by the IRGC, intact.
President Trump does not understand these critical internal dynamics. He simply cannot fathom why the Supreme Leader won't bite on the deal of the century. Sooner or later, barring a change in the dynamic, he will strike. Whether out of confusion, frustration, or in response to a deliberate provocation by the IRGC, the momentum towards war is accelerating.