Washington’s peace-oriented threats towards Iran have paid off – at least according to Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who says that the Islamic Republic had to “put on hold” its violent plans thanks to US efforts.
While Iran has repeatedly denied allegations that they are responsible for recent tensions and said that they prefer diplomacy to threats, Shanahan on Tuesday was certain that Tehran’s dangerous behavior had only been curbed by the US’s proactive measures.
These peace-keeping gestures presumably include sending a navy strike group to Iran’s border, ratcheting up crippling sanctions and President Donald Trump’s amiable threat to end the country altogether.
“I think our steps were very prudent and we’ve put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans and that is what is extremely important,” Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon, without providing any specific information as to what they were.
The unexplained “steps” are about as clear as the US’s accusations against Iran in the first place: Trump is on the record saying that there is “no indication that anything is happening or will happen,” in terms of Iranian provocations, but he also promised to use “great force” in the event they do.
.@ActingSecDef: “There haven’t been any attacks on Americans…that doesn’t mean the threats that we previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response I think has given Iranians time to recalculate, I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve” https://t.co/GgGq0nVpA8
— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) May 21, 2019
“I’d say we’re in a period where the threat remains high and our job is to make sure that there is no miscalculation by the Iranians,” Shanahan added.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested earlier the same day that it was “quite possible” Iran was responsible for sabotaging four oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, although there is no evidence that they had. While the sabotage has been used as part of the justification for the US’s increased military presence in the region, Iran has denied the charges, calling the incidents nothing but “Israeli mischief.”
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