InternationalVOLUME 14 ISSUE # 20

US threats to Iran

The United States (US) has imposed the “toughest ever” sanctions on Iran and deployed an aircraft carrier and bombers to protect its interests in the Middle East on the pretext of intelligence that suggests an imminent Iranian threat to its interests in the region. It is feared the recent American assertion that Iran poses an immediate threat to its interests can push the two countries closer to the brink of war.


However, many analysts agree that the United States is not seeking war with the Islamic Republic of Iran, though its posture is extremely hostile. In a recent statement, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “There won’t be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance. We don’t seek a war, and they don’t either. They know it is not in their interests.” He also reiterated his country’s stance that Tehran does not seek war with the United States despite mounting tensions between the two arch-enemies over Iranian nuclear capabilities and its missile programme. In comments to senior officials carried by state television, Khamenei also affirmed that the Islamic Republic would not negotiate with the United States on another nuclear deal.


US President Donald Trump has also said he does not want a war with Iran despite rising tensions between the two countries after the US deployed warships and planes to the Gulf and withdrew diplomatic staff from Iraq in recent days. Officials cited threats from Iran for the moves. According to the BBC, Tehran has placed missiles on boats in the Persian Gulf, and US investigators believe the country damaged four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates while Iran has denied the claim.


President Donald Trump withdrew the United States a year ago from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers under which Tehran curbed its uranium enrichment capacity, a potential pathway to a nuclear bomb, and won sanctions relief in return. Since then, Trump has ratcheted up sanctions on Iran, seeking to reduce its lifeblood oil exports to zero, to push Tehran into fresh negotiations on a broader arms control deal, targeting in part the Iranian ballistic missile programme. The United Arab Emirates reported that four commercial vessels including two Saudi oil tankers had been sabotaged offshore from the UAE emirate of Fujairah just outside the Strait of Hormuz. US national security agencies believe proxies sympathetic to or working for Iran may have been behind the attacks.


With National Security Adviser John Bolton whispering in Trump’s ear, war with Iran is no longer unthinkable, observed the Guardian. It was a deception that would lead to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, and to the deaths of nearly 60,000 US soldiers. In August 1964 President Lyndon B Johnson solemnly declared that, after two apparent North Vietnamese attacks on US navy destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, air action would take place. It emerged that the US government is sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East for possible military action against Iran. The principal driving force behind action is Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, a man who thinks there is no problem to which the answer isn’t war: in the Bush era, his militarism was too much for the commander-in-chief who laid waste to Iraq. You can see them scrabbling for excuses already: the Trump administration has said that Iran-backed proxy groups are preparing attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria, a claim forcefully denied by British major-general Christopher Ghika, the deputy commander of counter-terror operations in both countries. The US has blamed Iran, without evidence, for damage to Saudi oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the British newspaper noted.


Either the Trump administration is trying to goad Iran into war or a war could come by accident because of the administration’s reckless policies, but the prospect of the current tensions in the Middle East escalating into a serious conflict are now dangerously high, observed Wendy R. Sherman, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. “The best way to avoid war is to talk with Iran, which President Trump has said he wants to do. Prisoner-swap negotiations, to bring home Americans imprisoned or missing in Iran, could create an important channel of communication, and the leadership in Tehran is open to this. But a leader-to-leader meeting can happen only if the United States rejoins the nuclear deal — and at this point that unfortunately seems unlikely,” she wrote in the New York Times.

According to the Tehran Times, the United States is perhaps not seeking war with the Islamic Republic of Iran with the level of bellicose bloodlust exhibited by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, but rest assured regime change is and has been the Washington regime’s objective since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. By announcing that Iran will begin keeping its excess uranium and heavy water, the Islamic Republic now sends a firm and clear message to the west, exactly one year after US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from its nuclear deal with Iran, the newspaper reported in another report.


Experts say the new military deployment is part of the US “maximum pressure” policy on Iran. The Trump administration may not want to engage in a direct armed confrontation with Iran because such a fight could turn into a region-wide war and potentially lead to unpredictable outcomes for both sides because of Iran’s proxies in the region. Trump instead wants a “better deal” with Tehran to replace the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, which was signed between the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany and Iran in 2015. The US will not abandon its policy of maximum pressure on Iran without gaining some significant concessions from the Iranian side.