As Washington ramped up threats to retaliated against Iran for any attacks on U.S. forces this month, Tehran scrambled to respond. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) chief Hossein Salami twice assured the country that his forces were prepared for a confrontation with Washington. His comments were directed internally for Farsi media and likely reveal that Iran was initially on the back foot in confronting the United States both at home and abroad. Tehran and its allies and proxies don’t want an unpredictable new conflict with the United States.
Over the years Iran has generally enjoyed the feeling that it can strike at a time of its choosing against the United States and U.S. allies. This has included such incidents as harassing and briefly capturing U.S. sailors in 2016, firing a salvo of rockets at Israel last May from Syria, or arming Houthi rebels with ballistic missiles to strike at Saudi Arabia. Iran has continued these activities throughout the Middle East, harassing a U.S. military patrol in Nineveh near Mosul in February, according to a Defense Department reportpublished in March. It also has transferred missiles and technology to Hezbollah in Lebanon, a transit Israel has sought to interdict with more than one thousand strikes on targets in Syria. Iran has also been accused of being behind the escalation between Israel and Hamas in Gaza this May and last October.
Iran’s role in the region makes it appear to be growing in strength, benefiting from the vacuum left behind by the defeat of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and from exploiting divisions in Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere. Iran’s role in the region generally feeds off the weakness of regional Arab states, allying with local mostly Shia groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Badr Organization in Iraq, or with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
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