Iran Vows ‘Crushing Response’ to Any US Attack over Reports on Trump’s Bombing Musings
Any potential American assault against Iran would be met with a “crushing response”, an Iranian government spokesperson has said in reaction to reports in US media that outgoing President Donald Trump just recently considered striking the Iranian nuclear program.
“Any action against the Iranian nation would certainly face a crushing response,” Ali Rabiei, spokesman of the Iranian Cabinet, said on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, in remarks streamed on an official government website.
The brief reaction on part of the Iranian authorities resembles prior pledges to retaliate in kind against any potential US military action against the country, a scenario looming large in international affairs since at least the early 2000s, primarily over the development of the Iranian nuclear program.
On Monday, November 16, 2020, Reuters and The New York Times each cited their own sources from the US government as revealing that last week US President Donald Trump asked his top national security aides for options on striking Iran’s nuclear program.
Trump, who has only about two months left to serve as US President after losing the 2020 presidential election, was ultimately dissuaded from attacking the main site of the Iranian nuclear program in Natanz with arguments that any moves to that end would likely trigger a major interstate war in the Middle East.
During its four years, the Trump Administration has been hawkish on US relations with Iran and in particular with respect to the Iranian nuclear program.
The enmity between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran goes back to the Islamic Revolution in Iran back in 1979.
After 2000, it has been exacerbated by the issue of the Iranian nuclear program, which the US and other Western countries have been construing as geared towards the development of nuclear weapons, accusations staunchly denied by Tehran.
The Iranian nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a compromise arrangement signed in July 2015 by Iran and six foreign powers: US, China, Russia, UK, France, and Germany, with the involvement of the European Union.
It is supposed to ensure that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, and not for the development of nuclear weapons.
The JCPOA agreement was championed by former US President Barack Obama and the Obama Administration as one of its landmark foreign policy achievements.
The Iranian nuclear deal has been mostly opposed by the Republican Party, and by Israel’s long-standing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Even though at first, back in 2017, it acknowledged that Iran had been keeping its end of the deal, the Trump Administration had been adamantly opposed to it in principle.
In May 2018, President Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA despite attempts by America’s Western European allies to dissuade him from doing so.
After the withdrawal, the Trump Administration first re-imposed the US sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, and subsequently strengthened them.
The American sanctions have deprived the Iranian government from crucial revenues from the exports of oil and have led to the isolation of Iranian banks, a major recession, and a slump in the value of the Iranian currency, the rial.
In Iran’s domestic politics, America’s withdrawal from the 2015 JCPOA deal and its ensuing slapping of sanctions is believed to have empowered the hardliners and conservative forces.
In January 2020, Trump ordered a US drone strike which killed top-ranking Iranian General Qassem Soleimani from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps at Baghdad’s airport.
For the most part, however, Trump has been abstaining from proactive large-scale US military involvement in the Middle East.
Iran’s presently has a 2.4-tonne stock of low-enriched uranium, which is far beyond the limit of 202.8 kilograms set in the 2015 deal.
In the last quarter, it produced a total of 337.5 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, which is a reduction compared with the 500 kilograms in the previous two quarters, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was cautious about the prospects for a thaw in US – Iranian relations under the future Biden Administration, saying Tehran had been bracing for a second Trump term.