Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran's dilemma: a country or a cause

Iran's dilemma: a country or a cause

To Americans, Iran's actions over the last two weeks may have seemed not merely surprising, but also contradictory.

Iran rushed to meet its obligations under last year's landmark nuclear agreement, dismantling the machinery it could have used to make atomic bombs. At the same time, officials insisted that they would continue to test ballistic missiles in apparent violation of another United Nations resolution.

Iran quickly released 10 American sailors whose boats had drifted into Iranian waters and said they had been treated with “Islamic hospitality.” Then the Revolutionary Guard released a video showing the sailors on their knees, and a general boasted:...