Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 6
By Fatih Karimov – Trend:
In recent weeks we are witnessing very dangerous encounters between the US and the Iranian military forces in the Persian Gulf. The very latest such encounter occurred last month and involved an Iranian drone, which flew within one thousand feet of a US Navy jet in the Persian Gulf.
According to the Pentagon, that was the 14th "unsafe" and/or "unprofessional" encounter between the US and the Iranian armed forces in 2017. Meanwhile, in its response, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said that the US claim on unsafe approach is "baseless and unfounded," underlining that its drone unit in the Gulf will continue airborne patrols "carefully and uninterruptedly" within Iran’s Air Defense Identification Zone in accordance with current laws.
If we consider the American side’s claims as true, it seems that the Islamic Republic is examining the US administration’s redlines.
"Iran has an interest in testing the US’ limits against the backdrop of President Donald Trump wanting to decertify Iranian compliance with the nuclear agreement," James Dorsey, a senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, told Trend Sept. 6.
Amid all of that is happening in the Persian Gulf, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, has described as "laughable" the calls by the United States that Iran coordinate its naval activities in the Persian Gulf with American forces there.
Commenting on the issue, Dorsey said that no doubt, the Iranians perceive the US suggestion as an attempt to limit their activity in the Persian Gulf.
"While that may indeed be the case, the risk of an accident or misunderstanding that leads to a military encounter is present and causes concern in the current environment and state of interplay between Iran and the US," he added.
It certainly is a possibility that tensions to escalate to an uncontrollable level, according to the expert.
"Neither party wants a military confrontation at this point. But both believe it is within the realm of the possible, whether by design or by default," Dorsey said.