Recently, the US has intensified its pressure on Iran in areas like diplomacy, military and economy, and Iran is taking stronger countermeasures.
In this context, the security situation in the Middle East continues worsening, and the possibility of military conflict breaking out in the Persian Gulf region should not be underestimated.
Since the Trump administration announced in May 2018 that the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and relaunched sanctions against Iran, the frictions between the two countries have constantly escalated, with their confrontation continuing to intensify and their rhetoric to each other getting tougher.
After Iran shot down an American drone, the US sanction and the Iranian anti-sanction actions entered a new stage.
On the one hand, President Trump maintains a relatively rational attitude toward waging war against Iran. However, American hawk politicians represented by John R. Bolton continue to call for taking hard-line measures against Iran.
They warned that Iran should not mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness, saying that “no one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East.”
As for the downing of the American drone, the US military said that Iran’s move violated its “freedom of navigation” and threatened the national security of the US, and it would take military operations as a countermeasure.
In addition, American allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia urged the US to increase pressure on Iran and even launch military attacks to constrain Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East.
On the other hand, although it has no intention to provoke a military conflict with the US, Iran has lost the basic trust for the Trump administration and said that it would not “make any response to his [Trump’s] proposals.”
Moreover, as the US has increasingly intensified its economic sanction against Iran, the latter is attempting to get rid of the shackles of the Iran nuclear deal and threatens that it will develop nuclear weapons. By doing so, Iran hopes to get more bargaining chips in its negotiations with the US and even get out of the plight arising from US “maximum pressure.”
However, this is probably considered a “major threat” by the US and its allies, who may take extreme measures to get tough on Iran, with an aim to eliminate the “major threat” with military operations.
In general, against a backdrop of severe mutual mistrust and increasing potential risks, the confrontation between the US and Iran may fundamentally escalate, if triggered by a new incident or accident. The possibility of military conflict between the two sides should not be underestimated, and the security situation in the Middle East is worrying.