Amid rising tension between Washington and Tehran over the latter’s latest ballistic missile test, a senior Iranian military commander has said Iran’s military power serves as a deterrent against a U.S. military attack on the Islamic Republic.
“180,000 [U.S.] forces with the most advanced equipment were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. But America’s main goal was to attack the Islamic Republic,” said Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, the deputy commander of the Iranian Army. He however claimed that military drills and wargames conducted by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) and Artesh [Iran’s regular army] changed America’s calculations.
But while Pourdastan and other Iranian military leaders are publicly trying to project power and put on a brave face, commentaries in the Iranian media show that there are growing worries in Tehran that the Trump administration’s latest threats may translate into a more aggressive U.S. policy toward Iran. This is in contrast to initial optimism in Tehran before Donald Trump took office; then, Iranian leaders and the media alike hoped that President Trump’s friendly relationship with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin would benefit Iran’s regional agenda, particularly in Syria.
President Trump’s Thursday comment that a military action against Iran is not “off the table” and latest news reports that that the White House is set to impose additional sanctions on Iranian entities involved in the country’s missile activity will only add to Iranian worries. It remains to be seen however how the Iranian regime will respond.