US not seeking military action against Iran: Expert

Alwaght – The Western-Arab media propaganda has recently been launched, asking if the US and Iran will confront militarily. The ground for such a media wave has been the American and Iranian tensions and war of words over the past few weeks.

After the US President Donald Trump announced reinstating anti-Iranian economic sanctions two weeks ago, Iran in response partially stopped complying with some terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. It additionally released a 2-month ultimatum to the other signatories of the deal, asking them to practically show commitment to the accord in a way that Iran can tangibly use its benefits. Following the actions, the US announced deploying a naval strike group as well as bombers to the Persian Gulf region. However, the two sides’ officials kept emphasizing that they are not seeking a military confrontation. But the media play a key role in the escalation of the tensions by fueling the fire of speculations.

To get a picture of the US objective behind such propaganda and the way Washington confronts Iran, Alwaght has talked to Foad Izadi, an Iranian expert of the American affairs.

The first question was about the US goals behind such actions. Mr Izadi answered that one aspect of this all is psychological. The US is keenly seeking to extract concessions from Iran. It pursues its goals with the logic that Iran will not give in to the US demands unless pressures are increased on it. But over the past few years of anti-Iranian pressures have not yielded fruits as the Islamic Republic declined to move back. “So, the US in its campaign of disinformation seeks to highlight the military aspect of the confrontation in a bid to force Iran into a retreat from its firmly-held stances.”

He continued that this is not the only aspect. It can have a real aspect. There are some politicians in the US who for years have been seeking war with Iran.

“This is a reality. For example, John Bolton, who is now serving as the national security advisor for Trump administration, in March 2015 published an article in the New York Times defending limited military action against Iran. Such a view is also held by Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State. Such like-minded people think that by sending the strike group and the B-52 bombers it will be in the best US interests if there would be a chance of limited military confrontation with Iran. Their presupposition is that such action will not draw huge costs to the US. They think that if Washington’s attacks be limited, Iran will not respond because for the Iranian officials the priority is saving their government and if they want to respond strongly, they will, in fact, give the Americans the Ok for further strikes which they are not interested to see. So, they argue to other decision makers that beside the economic and political pressure, a restricted military campaign would work for them. The final goal is to imply to the Iranians that they have two options: Talks or war.”

Alwaght asked how Iran could face off such hostile propagandistic actions by the US. The Iranian expert replied that to win over the US in this war of propaganda, the Iranian officials should make clear to their public that the Americans do not want to negotiate. “The negotiation means a game of give and take. They are ready to negotiate in their own style. As Trump put it, he wants the Iranians to call him and he will tell them to comply with the 12 conditions already set by his Secretary of State Pompeo. That is what he means by negotiations. He is not ready for genuine talks. Trump administration’s decision makers blast the Obama administration, arguing that the negotiations allowed Tehran to boost its power.”

Izadi continued that when it comes to the military action, as Iran’s Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei has said, the time of “hit and run” has gone. If the US launches attacks, Iran will definitely respond. Such a response will be serious. Iranian military capabilities keep the US from military action. This capability, marked by the missiles and regional sway, should be saved and boosted. This should be made clear to the Iranian public that if the US forces are not within fire range of the pro-Iranian forces in the region, the possibility of the American attacks will rise. “We should know that it is not the ethical commitment that keeps the US from military action, it is the Iranian military deterrence.”

From another aspect, Mr Izadi said, Iran should have its own plans and designs in the face of the US. Tehran should have strong command. “The US last year formed “Iran action group” in the State Department but we in Iran do not have “US action group.” Iran has the Supreme National Security Council that does this job. But when it comes to implementing the decisions, there appear some problems because it lacks a cohesive and coordinated command. “So, Iran can set up something like counter-US center. A lot of measures need to be taken within this center in response to the American.”

Alwaght asked for comment about the US approach, while it appears that the EU is confused in the middle of the US-Iran faceoff. On the one hand the European countries said they reject Iran’s ultimatum and on the other hand insist on activating the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a mechanism unveiled by the EU and is supposed to help bypass the US-dominated global financial system.

Mr Izadi answered: “The European Union is not a single country. It is consisted of 28 countries. Some are not interested to stay committed to the nuclear deal. As the US pulled out of it, they practically withdrew. Some are interested to stay committed but are incapable. This is the European status. But in general, we should not expect a serious measure from the EU to save the deal.”

In the middle of this, the UAE announced that four oil tankers, two belonging to Saudi Arabia, were attacked in Fujairah port. There have not been reliable news to vindicate the claims and so far no party claimed responsibility. Alwaght asked Mr Izadi for an analysis of the last week’s incident in the Persian Gulf coast.

Mr Izasdi said: “Iran’s foreign ministry condemned the attack, saying that Iran denounced it because such actions destabilize the region. It is not clear who should be blamed for the incident but regional experiences can prove that such actions come as consequences of the American, Israeli, and Saudi destabilizing actions in the region. If they insist on cutting to zero Iran’s oil sales, they will sustain harms more than others. It should be made clear to the hostile parties that anti-Iranian actions will be costly to them and that Iran’s patience is not unlimited.”