Iran has drones with missiles. The Pentagon is concerned that they may be launched. Most likely, if they are, this will lead to war after months of rising tensions. Matters were brought to a head after the US killed Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian general, last week. Iran’s top diplomats described his death as an act of “international terrorism by the US.”
It is believed that a US war with Iran would probably be a disaster both geopolitically and economically. Such an act would also further destabilize a part of the world that has been in conflict for years. The problems between the two countries have escalated during the recent months since the US deployed military assets to the Middle East last May. This was intended to counter threats from Iran. This was about the same time US sanctions went into effect aimed at choking out Iran’s oil revenue.
Several weeks later, oil tankers in the region were attacked. The US blamed Iran accusing Iran of using naval mines to sabotage the tankers. Iran then seized oil tankers resulting in an increase of further tensions. In June, Iran shot down a US Navy drone. President Donald Trump called off a retaliatory strike at the last minute. He said it would not have been proportionate to the downing of an unmanned aircraft. Since these situations, the US has continued to issue economic sanctions.
Pressure has mounted even more during the recent months. This resulted in Iran taking major steps away from the 2015 nuclear deal. Both countries were at a stalemate. Despite the possibility for Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani trying to resolve the various issues, Iran ruled out any talks unless the US lifted sanctions and returned to the 2015 nuclear deal. Trump pulled the US out of the deal in May 2018. The relations between the two countries have continued to deteriorate since then. The situation was further escalated in September of last year when attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia took place. Signs of the culprit pointed to Iran as being responsible. This led Trump to tweet that the US was “locked and loaded.”
Trump walked back on his statement, saying he is not interested in going to war. He then issued many new sanctions against Iran.
Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said last September that a US or Saudi military strike against Iran would lead to an “all-out war.” He also said that Iran does not want to engage in a military confrontation, but “We won’t blink to defend our country.”
The US and Iran have been adversaries for decades. The issues between the two countries become more severe from the frequently repeated chants from the Iranian leaders, “Death to America.”
Authorities say that a US war with Iran might be more harmful than the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. This invasion led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. It caused the US to experience a costly and lengthy war. It also helped to catalyze the rise of the Islamic State group.
Iran’s military is ranked as the 14th most powerful. Recent estimates indicated Iran has 523,000 personnel actively involved in the military. They have an additional 250,000 reserve personnel.
In geographical terms, Iran is allied with Russia and China. It is not known how these two countries might react if a war should break out. It is believed that Iran’s military would be defeated by the US. Even so, there would be a heavy toll when considering cruise missiles, naval mines, and fighter jets. Although the US has a powerful military force, the evidence suggests that a war with Iran would be devastating in many ways.