TEHRAN – Iran’s Supreme National Security Council today, May 7th, called plans of the United States to send a strike group of ships and bombers to the Persian Gulf, “psychological war”, characterized by the United States National Security Advisor on National Security John Bolton earlier as a “clear signal” to Tehran . This much was reported Tuesday by the news agency, Tasnim.
Tensions around Iran increased on the approach of the anniversary of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal which was concluded by the six world powers with Iran in July 2015. Earlier, officials in Tehran promised on Wednesday, May 8th, exactly one year after the withdrawal from the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program announced by US President Donald Trump, to deliver “tough measures” and resume advanced developments in the field of nuclear energy. One of such steps could be Iran’s decision to return to uranium enrichment to a 20 percent level, which is currently prohibited by the nuclear deal which Iran has maintained, despite the U.S withdrawal, as Iran continues to be open to European partnerships.
At the same time, this change of tact on the part of Iran could signal that the Islamic Republic is preparing to pursue ‘conservative’ governance, less reliant on an open policy with the EU as well. This runs parallel to Turkey’s apparent duplicity in the Syria conflict, as Turkey would be an important partner with Iran on energy deals should the EU move more quickly towards realizing them.
The statements of the American side about sending the US Navy strike force in the Security Council of the Islamic Republic to the shores of Iran have been called “clumsy attempts to intensify the psychological war” against Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on his Twitter page: “If the United States and its (Middle Eastern) clients do not feel safe, it is because they are despised by people in the region.”
The state-run Iranian English-language channel Press TV, in its report, suggested that the deployment of the US Navy near Iran is “planned” and is carried out according to a “predetermined schedule”.
The military adviser to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Seyid Ali Khamenei, said on May 7th that the United States “does not want and is not capable” of military actions against Iran. Brigadier General Hossein Dehgan added that it would be difficult for Washington to convince world opinion and the countries of the region to accept an all-out war against Iran and to mobilize resources for such a conflict.
The Iranian press as a whole regarded the latest US statements on the issue of sending the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to the Persian Gulf as “bluff” and “empty rhetoric”.
However, as concerns about the war of words between the US and Iran increase, the national currency of Iran continued to fall on Tuesday, fluctuating around the seven-month low against the dollar in the unofficial market, Reuters reports. The Iranian rial fell today to the level of 154 thousand for one dollar compared to 150.5 thousand on Monday, reaching the lowest level since October 2018.
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, yesterday on May 6th, said that he had approved sending the US aircraft carrier group and bombers to the Middle East because of signs of “a real threat from the forces of the Iranian regime.”
US presidential adviser on US national security, John Bolton, the day before, announced the sending of an assault group to the Middle East led by the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and a target group of bombers.
The direction of the aircraft carrier group “represents a reasonable deployment of (military) assets in response to signs of a likely threat from the Iranian regime forces,” Shanahan said.
“We call on the Iranian regime to stop all provocations. We will consider the Iranian regime responsible for any attack on US forces or our interests, ” added the interim head of the Pentagon.
A separate statement by the US Department of Defense on the evening of Monday, May 6th, said that sending an aircraft carrier and bombers to the Persian Gulf zone was undertaken in response to “signs of Iran’s increased readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and our interests.”