The first option centers on the regime adopting a strategy of escalation by several means. This includes targeting US and Western interests in the region through groups and militias affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), such as Hezbollah, the Houthis and the Popular Mobilization Forces. This step could be taken directly by the IRGC through the harassment of oil tankers in the Arabian Gulf and by an escalation in Afghanistan or on the Israeli-Lebanese front by using Hezbollah or Hamas. This would serve as a warning to Washington to pressure it to reconsider the policies that aim to tighten the economic noose around the Iranian regime’s neck.
The US move would be strengthened by the EU adopting a similar position on the Iranian missile program, or by imposing sanctions on Tehran, even while retaining a commitment to the nuclear pact. This option would be costly for Iran diplomatically, politically and militarily. Furthermore, the Western response may be larger than the initial action. Some countries may find that the time is ripe for them to carry out military operations against Iranian sites both inside and outside the country.
The second option for Tehran lies in maintaining its current policy of “resistance” and “resilience” domestically, while working to buy time over the next two years until it becomes clear which party will be in office in the US after the next elections in 2020.
Read more: Arab News
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