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‘Rising rates’: is Trump ready to use the armed forces against Iran?

This post was published by Alexey Zakvasin, Elizabeth Komarova. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.

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MOSCOW, (BM) – Donald Trump vetoed Congressional Resolution S.J. Res. 68, which indefinitely prohibits the head of state from using armed forces against Iran without declaring war or “definitive permission”. The US president said this in a message to the Senate, the text of which is posted on the White House website. The American leader believes that the document is contrary to the Constitution and national interests of the country.

“This indefinite prohibition is unnecessary and dangerous. It would weaken the President’s authority in violation of Article II of the Constitution, and endanger the lives of American citizens and brave service members” said Trump.

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According to the American leader, the resolution aims to prevent the escalation of hostilities between Washington and Tehran. However, over the past four months, despite numerous negative forecasts, relations with the Islamic Republic have not deteriorated, including due to the successful policy of the White House, Trump claims.

“My Administration has taken strong actions, within statutory authority, to help keep our Nation safe, and I will not approve this resolution, which would undermine my ability to protect American citizens, service members, and interests.” Trump emphasized in his message.

Demonstrate America’s toughness

The resolution Trump rejected was passed by Congress in response to the liquidation of Iranian General Kassem Suleimani on the night of January 3, 2020 near Baghdad Airport. The U.S. military used a drone to kill a senior officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The operation was carried out without the approval of Congress.

The initiative for a prohibitive resolution came from the Democrats, who controlled the lower house of the US Congress, but found support in the Republican camp, which dominates the Senate. As a result, the document passed through both chambers and was submitted to the president on May 5.

According to supporters of the resolution, the liquidation of Suleimani hit the security of Americans in Iraq. In this regard, congressmen insist that the president of the United States must coordinate with any congress against any military actions against Iran.

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Trump has a different view. In his message to the upper house, he stated that the operation to eliminate General IRGC was necessary to deter Tehran from attacking US diplomatic and military installations in the region.

Trump recalled that on the night of January 8, 2020, in response to the elimination of Suleimani, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at the bases of the United States Armed Forces and coalition forces in Iraq. However, as a result of this large-scale attack, as the US President emphasized, no one was killed. Subsequently, the security situation returned to normal, Trump said in a message to the Senate.

Meanwhile, experts interviewed by RT noted that one of the tragic consequences of the growing tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic was the death of passengers of the Ukrainian Boeing-737 airliner. The disaster occurred on January 8 north of Tehran Airport. According to the Iranian authorities, the plane was shot down by the air forces of the IRGC, which were awaiting an attack by American troops. The calculation of the anti-aircraft missile system mistook the plane for a cruise missile.

In an interview with RT, Vladimir Batyuk, head of the Center for Military-Political Studies of the Institute of the USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences, stressed that there is no reason to talk about any reduction in the severity of US-Iranian contradictions. In addition, the expert believes that Trump is cunning in his message, arguing that the security issue of the US Armed Forces in the region is being successfully addressed.

“By eliminating General Suleymani, Trump hoped to demonstrate America’s firmness, its readiness to confront its enemies. However, the consequences of this operation did not lead to positive results for the United States,” Batyuk stated.

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After the rocket attack on January 7, attacks on US military facilities in Iraq did not stop. In particular, the U.S. Al-Taji base, located 30 km north of Baghdad, was attacked several times. On March 11, two American servicemen became victims of another attack. 18 missiles fell on the territory of the facility.

The responsibility for shelling Et-Taj Trump laid on Tehran, not backing up his accusation with concrete evidence. In particular, the US president said that a certain “rebel group, but most likely Iran could support it,” hit the base. The Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic has denied the words of the head of the White House about involvement in the attacks.

On April 1, without going into details, the US president announced that the Islamic Republic and its allied forces in Iraq were allegedly preparing a new attack. He also said that Tehran would pay a “heavy price” for such incidents.

Bringing the region closer to war

In late April, Trump came up with new threats against Iran. The US President ordered the country’s naval forces to open fire on Iranian patrol boats, “creating obstacles to American ships at sea.” The reason for such a sharp reaction was dangerous from the point of view of the Fifth Fleet command maneuvers of the IRGC ships in the Persian Gulf.

Iran has mirrored on Trump’s threats. The leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, said that the fleet of the Islamic Republic received authorization to defeat the US Navy if it poses a danger to military and civilian courts.

Another point of tension in US-Iranian relations was the launch by Tehran of the first military satellite “Nur-1”, which took place on April 22. Washington reacted negatively to this event.

So, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the launch of a spacecraft into orbit may indicate the presence in Tehran’s arsenal of technologies to produce intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). On this basis, the head of the Department of State concluded that the Iranian authorities allegedly lied, claiming that their space program was peaceful.

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In a RT commentary, orientalist Karine Gevorgyan noted that Washington is constantly looking for new reasons that will allow it to continue, and if necessary, increase military-political and economic pressure on Tehran.

She recalled that the United States had previously tried to exploit the situation with Iran allegedly not observing the terms of the nuclear deal. Today, the White House raises threats to the US military in Iraq and the Islamic Republic’s space program, which, according to Washington, should be stopped on the agenda of US-Iranian relations.

“Trump is constantly raising interest rates in relations with Iran, provoking an Islamic republic. With his anti-Iranian rhetoric, he is clearly playing along with Israel. Also, on the image of the enemy in the person of Tehran, Trump is trying to demonstrate strength, but this behavior brings the region closer to the war and does not, as I understand it, receive hot support from the electorate,” says Gevorgyan.

According to Vladimir Batyuk, for the sake of re-election in the presidential election, which will be held on November 3, 2020, Trump is ready to go to extreme measures in relations with Tehran, “unleashing a small war.” However, such an aggressive approach meets strong resistance from the Democrats and part of the Republicans.

“By threatening Iran, Trump is seeking voter support. Its nuclear electorate is made up of people who advocate America’s greatness and a regular demonstration of military power. But the situation should not go beyond a certain framework. It’s one thing to commit a one-time military action (for example, to kill an Iranian general), and it’s quite another to engage in a war that will not do without serious human losses,” Batyuk emphasized.

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