These are to ring-fence Iran with sanctions, thereby breaking the Tehran regime’s ability to wage war, terrorism and pursue its WMD program. Beyond this there is a hope that sanctions might eventually bite so deeply that Iranians will shake off the medieval Mullahs and opt for a form of governance more in keeping with the 21st Century.
Now, in case the Mullahs and the IRGC are in any doubt about these intentions, senior figures in the US administration have just announced the deployment of a fully armed aircraft carrier strike group to the US Central Command.
In terms of warmongering Iran may have shown itself to be a big fish in the small pond of the Middle East. But it is worth remembering that a US carrier group is the most potent deployable military asset in the world. A single carrier group has the power to neutralise Iran’s air force, air defences and navy. The latest deployment is backed by a bomber task force. These are superpower resources ranged against Iran’s military power that is ranked way down at 13th in the world.
Gunboat diplomacy is an ancient concept but it continues to be an effective way of warning a rogue state to change its course. The new deployment may be the hard edge of the approach of the US to Iran but both Mike Pompeo and John Bolton have been loud and clear in their message to the Mullah Regime.
Yesterday Bolton warned that the US would be resolute in protecting its interests and those of its allies. In his statement he said that ‘In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force...they will be sent to the US Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States intents or those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.’
He went on to add ‘The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces.’
Tensions have obviously been heightened by flare up of intense fighting in Gaza and the main perpetrator is Iran’s proxy Islamic Jihad. Terror group is wholly funded and trained by Iran. However, the US has also ramped up its capabilities in the region because of what Bolton described as ‘a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.’
Mike Pompeo spoke in concert with Bolton’s statement when he said ‘It is absolutely the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests. He added that ‘If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that.’
When asked about ‘escalatory actions,’ Pompeo’s stated ‘I don’t want to talk about what underlays it, but make no mistake, we have good reason to want to communicate clearly about how the Iranians should understand how we will respond to actions they may take.’
The problem with Iran’s regime is that it is habitually bellicose and thrives on febrile rhetoric. For instance Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, commander of the Iranian Army recently stated that his goal was to eliminate Israel. He said that Iran was intending to ‘raze Tel Aviv to the ground.’
Thus, Iran’s so called ‘Islamic Revolution’ thrives on war and the threat of conquest. The whole apparatus of the state and army is geared towards spreading terror and destabilizing states across the Middle East and beyond. The Mullahs indulge themselves in childish rants against the West, Israel and the US. Therefore it is very hard to see how the current Tehran regime will be ever able to step back from its own fanaticism.
In the end the only way forward is a change in regime that will allow Iran to emerge from its self-imposed pariah status and end the misery of countless millions that have been affected by its predations in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
What does look certain is that if Iran dares to attack US interests or its forces, then the Mullahs will be dealt a very harsh lesson indeed.