Iran, US not intend escalation of tensions (Exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 21
By Umid Niayesh– Trend:
On Sunday, August 21, 2017 Iran’s parliament has finally approved the President Hassan Rouhani’s ministerial nominees, so the cabinet got fully geared up to start governing the country.
The most surprising nominee of all, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, who is not affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), will, as such in the past 25 years, serve as Iran’s new Defense minister for next four years. Hatami had gained the highest number of votes from the Iranian Members of the Parliament (MPs), with 261 lawmakers supporting him, only 10 MPs voting against him and 13 abstaining.
Briefing the MPs on his future program in the ministry, Gen. Hatami stressed that the ministry will continue on its course of boosting the country’s ballistic missile program, as well as its air defense capabilities. He also emphasized that, the support given to the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Quds Force of the IRGC will continue unabated, which is the prime indicator of the Islamic Republic’s determination to continue the implementation of its major plans in the region despite the dispute with the United States.
Edward Haley, a US international affairs expert believes that, General Hatami’s statement fully characterizes the Islamic Republic’s strategy in the region, as well as its approach towards the US.
“The statements are perhaps best understood as a description of Iranian strategy: modernize Iran’s weapons; support allies in Lebanon, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf through the Quds force and other means, including Iranian missile attacks on ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, aka IS, ISIL, Daesh) in Iraq; and oblige the US and other governments to take Teheran seriously,” the W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of International Strategic Studies (emeritus) at Claremont McKenna College E.Haley told Trend.
Amid all of what is happening on political scene, from time to time, we have started witnessing very dangerous encounters between the US and the Iranian military forces in the Persian Gulf. The very latest one occurred last week and involved an Iranian drone, which flew within one thousand feet of a US Navy jet in the Persian Gulf. This was the 14th "unsafe" and/or "unprofessional" encounter between the US and the Iranian armed forces in 2017, according to the Pentagon.
“It is a long-term strategy, which suggests that Iran will avoid escalation of any particular crisis, such as the drone encounters, until a more opportune time,” Haley said responding to the question on the possible provocations against the United States by certain Iranian circles.
While commenting on the White House’s possible tendencies for escalation of the tensions, the expert said that, despite the fact of Donald Trump’s unpredictability, “one may speculate that members of the cabinet, such as Herbert Raymond McMaster (National Security Advisor), James Mattis (Secretary of Defense), and John Kelly (White House Chief of Staff) would oppose to the escalation in the Persian Gulf, particularly when the president seems to have landed on coercing North Korea.”