Security, Middle East
What happens next?
America and Iran: On a Path Towards War?
Iran’s leader has taken a defiant stance against the United States and its allies, signalling a potential “fraying” of the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program, The New York Times reported.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on July 16, 2019 denounced “the vicious British” after U.K. forces earlier in the month seized an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar.
In a speech to clerics, Khamenei “appeared to signal his intention to ignore diplomacy for the moment and stoke tensions with the West over the embattled nuclear accord,” the Times’ Rick Gladstone wrote.
“Khamenei spoke as unconfirmed news reports suggested Iran’s Revolutionary Guards may have seized a United Arab Emirates tanker in the Persian Gulf, possibly in retaliation for Britain’s impounding of an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar this month.”
Iranian militia troops had attempted to retaliate on July 10, 2019 by seizing a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. A Royal Navy frigate intervened and stopped the assault.
Khamenei’s tone has sharpened of late. “The defiance expressed by the top leader ... contrasted with what seemed like a less confrontational stance taken at the White House,” Gladstone added.
U.S. president Donald Trump told reporters his administration is “not looking for regime change” in Iran. “They’d like to talk, and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said.
Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, claimed Iran was willing to negotiate over its missile program, which Gladstone pointed out is “an area of Western concern that was not covered in the 2015 nuclear agreement.”