Donald Trump and Joe Biden are putting forward very different ideas about U.S. policy toward Iran, which arguably makes the results of their contest very consequential for Tehran—though some in the Islamic Republic say otherwise. That raises the question of whether a last-minute dramatic development may arise between the two countries before the election, whether initiated by national leaders or subordinates. Such an “October Surprise” could include anything from cyber influence/disruption to clashes with Iranian proxies to a confrontation at sea, or even unexpected talks. If so, what might lead the two sides and other regional players to escalate or de-escalate?
Middle East Fellow Ariane Tabatabai joined The Washington Institute to address these questions.