Tensions between US and Iran will grow but open conflict is unlikely, says Russian expert

TASS – Relations between the United States and Iran will continue to deteriorate but open confrontation is unlikely because neither of the sides is interested in it, a Russian expert said on Friday.

“Relations between the United States and Iran, despite the aggressive instances like the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, have demonstrated that neither of the sides is interested in a direct conflict. General aggravation however will continue but it is unlikely to go beyond mutual threats and muscle flexing with the elements of bluffing,” Fyodor Lukyanov, scientific director of the Valdai International Discussion Club, told TASS.

According to the expert, confrontation between Washington and Teheran is still in place, even amid the pandemic. “The United States hopes that the current trials Iran is facing along with the sanctions, i.e. the coronavirus epidemic and the dramatic drop in oil prices, will weaken Iran and it will yield its positions to open new possibilities for the United States. These is certain logic in it,” he noted.

He did not rule out that US President Donald Trump may use anti-Iranian rhetoric to demonstrate Saudi Arabia’s dependence on the United States. “In the current difficult situation on the oil market, Trump apparently wants to show that Saudi Arabia depends on Washington because of serious fears of Iran and the United States is the only guarantor of Iran’s containment,” Lukyanov said.

The expert also said that arbitrariness of big players may go up after the acute phase of the coronavirus pandemic is over. “It is not about the United States only. No one knows how China will behave. The general aggravation is likely on the international arena because after the acute phase of the pandemic the world is going to plunge into a serious socio-economic depression. And shortages of all types of resources seem to be inevitable whereas countries will have much less possibilities to resolve their problems. And apparently it will provoke serious tensions,” he said.

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he had ordered the US Navy to “shoot down and destroy” all Iranian gunboats, should they harass US military ships. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said on the following day that Iran’s armed forces would attack US warships threatening the country’s security.