Expert: Iran-US disputes won’t develop into war

Teheran – The recent military buildup by US regional forces has increased the danger of conflicts between Teheran and Washington and has worried regional and international players.

The United States has deployed warships and bombers to the Iranian southern waters, and has reduced the number of its diplomats and employees in Iraq, citing intelligence about potential threats to US nationals by Iran or its allies.

Besides, the US President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he had decided to send 1,500 more troops to the restive Middle East region.

The tension between Teheran and Washington began to develop when Trump decided to pull the US out of the Iranian nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, in May 2018.

Washington seeks to seal a new nuclear deal with Iran, to further curb Iran’s nuclear program, stop Iran ballistic missile development and halt Iran’s push for influence in the region.

Now, Iran is under unprecedented sanctions imposed by the US on its economy. The sanctions had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord.

Iran has warned that it might not abide by some of the restrictions on its nuclear activities if its economic interests are not honored by the signatories of the deal.

On May 8, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced Teheran’s withdrawal from compliance with the restrictions posed by the JCPOA on the country’s enriched uranium reserves and heavy water supplies.

Rouhani also set a 60-day deadline for the remaining parties to the deal to fulfill their obligations, particularly in preserving Iran’s interests in the areas of banking and oil.

He threatened that Iran might increase the level of uranium enrichment and start modernizing its heavy water reactor.

Teheran’s decision to suspend some of its nuclear deal commitments was meant to give time to Europeans to comply with their obligations and to bring the international agreement back on its right track, said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Accordingly, the US president vowed to maintain policy of maximum pressure against Iran.

“Much now depends upon the dynamics inside the Trump administration and also on Teheran’s assessment of what is going on there,” Jonathan Marcus, a diplomatic correspondent for BBC, said.

Despite the escalating tensions and military reinforcements in the region, the leaders on both sides have stressed that they are not interested in war.

Saadallah Zarei, an Iranian expert on international affairs, said “there is no indication that the United States is seeking war with the Islamic republic”.

Trump has also indicated that he has more enthusiasm for dialogue than war over the foreign frictions.

In the meantime, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that Trump “does not want war, but the people around him are pushing him toward war under the pretext of making America stronger against Iran”.

By far, the most important remarks inside Iran came from the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier this month, when he ruled out the possibility of a war between Teheran and Washington, despite the rising tensions that have fueled worries about an armed conflict between the two rivals.

“We don’t want a war, nor do they,” said Khamenei.


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