Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, relations between the US and Iran have been dominated by tensions, sanctions, conflicts, a cold war, threats and much more.
The recent pressure and threats by the US government against Iran is creating the perception that the US once again wants to destroy the peace in the Middle East.
Iran has been banned from selling oil. In response, the Hassan Rouhani-led government threatened the Trump Administration and alliance that they would do everything to block the Strait of Hormuz for oil trade. Due to mounting pressure from the US, not only small neighbouring countries like Pakistan, but big economies such as India and China have not been able to sign new pacts or do trade with Iran. The sanctions have increased inflation in the country and are creating unrest.
Some pro-Iran analysts think that in an attempt to weaken Iran, the US will try to create uncertainty in Iranian society. However, they believe that the US will not let the confrontation escalate into a full-fledged war. Contrary to these views, the US administration has openly announced it will allocate funds to topple the government in Iran. The Trump Administration hopes sanctions will force Iran to not only curb its nuclear program but also halt militancy in the Middle East. Moreover, due to tighter and harsher restrictions on doing business with Iran, it has become nearly impossible for pharmaceutical companies to continue working and provide medicines there. Due to its crippling economic and currency crisis, life-saving medicines are beginning to disappear from pharmacy shelves. Drastic fluctuations in oil prices have also taken a toll. Currently, they have US$1 equal to 21,000 Iranian Toman.
Anti-US analysts believe that expecting a revolt from the Iranian people against the government is a pipe dream.
The post-79 revolution Iranian population is a hard nut to crack and it is even more difficult to instigate them against their own regime.
If you look at the escalated tensions between the two countries, you’d find that it all started after Iran threatened to target American interests. It was further escalated by footage of an American fleet from an Iranian drone that went viral. After this, the US moved its naval fleet to the Persian Gulf. The American decision to recall its diplomatic staff from Iraq rang alarm bells. Germany and the Netherlands have cancelled planned military cooperation programs with Iran.
The conflict over the nuclear program has been going on for a while. The decisions to cancel the nuclear deal and put the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on a global terror list worsen the situation. On the other hand, Iran has given countries that were part of the nuclear deal two months to resolve the conflict or else it would again start the process of enriching uranium.
It is also expected that the US is working to make its old war plans implementable. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s statements are adding to speculation.
Two of the influential characters in the US administration want to change the traditional religious regime in Iran. They want a government in Tehran that won’t be a danger to Israel. They also want a regime that would cut aid to Hezbollah in Palestine and block the supply line for Syria’s Bashar al Assad .
Saudi Arabia, another power in the region, has also assured the US its support against Iran. Iranian support for Houthi rebels in Yemen has made Saudi Arabia weary of Iran. They have long been traditional rivals in the region.
The Iran Contra Scandal, the bombing of the US forces headquarters, the Iranian nuclear program and the US allegation of Iran’s expansion plans in the region have sowed the seeds of mistrust. President Donald Trump has warned that if Iran did not change its ways then the US could topple the Iranian government by supporting internal pressure or through military intervention.
The US has never tried to directly invade Iran and recent statements from the US president and the Israeli leadership are nothing more than an attempt to isolate Iran internationally and increase diplomatic pressure.
It will be interesting to see if the US continues with threats of war against Iran or will actually try to invade it. If it decides to open a new front like this, it won’t be any less of a challenge than Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. The presence of the US army in the Persian Gulf gives an impression that it might commit a mistake of conducting a surgical strike. But in such a situation, it should keep in mind Israel’s interest in mind because Iran won’t be go down without a fight.