'Kerry gave Iranians everything they requested' - Retired US Intelligence Officer explains US-Iran conflict | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

27 January, Monday

'Kerry gave Iranians everything they requested' - Retired US Intelligence Officer explains US-Iran conflict

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The United States of America and the Iran Islam Republic live the period of tightened relations which the potential of military operations on the agenda. US and Iran administrations blame each other over the violations of international law. The process is not about only words but actions too. Seizures of vessels in the Persian Gulf, US intention of "Sentinel" operation and etc. indicates the seriousness of the situation.

American political analyst on the Middle East Rick Francona gave an exclusive interview to Eurasia Diary.

Rick Francona is an author, commentator and media military analyst. He is a retired United States Air Force intelligence officer with experience in the Middle East, including tours of duty with the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.


- The US started to struggle against Iran's regime after the Iranian revolution. Why this struggle doesn't end?

- The issues that began with the so-called 1978/1979 Islamic Revolution have never been resolved. Despite repeated attempts on the U.S. side during the Obama Administration, the Iranians have made it clear they are not interested in the restoration of normal relations with the United States.

The Iranian leadership believes the price they would have to pay is too high – among the American demands will be the cessation of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps support for a variety of what the U.S. considers to be terrorist organizations. I am referring not only to the obvious groups like Lebanese Hezbollah and HAMAS, but also the Houthis (Ansar Allah) in Yemen, and Shi’a groups in Bahrain. There is also the issue of the numerous Iranian-supported Shi’s militias from Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan involved in the fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon is also an issue for the United States. It is the U.S. position that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapons capability. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the fatally-flawed Iran deal, an attempt to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon merely delayed it.


- Trump says Iran never won a war, but never lost negotiations. What do you think what kind of negotiations can be beneficial for both parties? Why they couldn't come into any conclusion till this day?

- The Iranians are masters at negotiations – they practically invented the art. Look at how skillfully Iran’s Foreign Minister negotiated the JCPOA – of course, then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was totally out of his element. Kerry gave the Iranians virtually everything they requested.

If there are to be successful negotiations between Iran and the United States, there are a series of demands put forward by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that will have to be met. I do not think the Iranians will agree to them.

The countries are too far apart at this time. One side is going to have to initiate a compromise, but I don’t see it happening soon – unless there is an incident in the Persian Gulf.


- Do you think that war is an option to the relations between Iran and the US? How much war is real currently? If war happens how it can affect international security?

- I am concerned with the current state of tensions in the Persian Gulf, especially in the Strait of Hormuz. With the Iranians seizing oil tankers under the guise of smuggling and attempts to lure foreign-flagged ships into Iranian waters with GPS jamming/spoofing, there is likely to be an armed confrontation in the Gulf.

Granted, the Strait is not as critical as it once was – the lack of a dramatic increase in the price of crude oil despite the tensions is illustrative – but it is still a major waterway for international trade.

A confrontation in the Gulf has the potential to spread like wildfire, involving the Gulf Arabs, our NATO allies, even the Israelis, HAMAS and Hizballah. We could see a wider regional conflict that would be catastrophic – including great loss of life.


- How current processes (in Persian Gulf) affected internal audition of both countries? Or maybe you may answer only the US.

- The internal politics in the United States will play a role. We are in the throes of the 2020 presidential election cycle – there are calls for politicians to take stances of “no war on Iran.” While no one wants a confrontation between the United States and Iran, the Iranian leadership should not underestimate the resolve of the Trump Administration.

The Iranian calculus has to be much more aware of the difference between the Obama Administration and current leadership. While Obama was willing to be acquiescent to secure the JCPOA, this Administration is not.

The current Trump policy of maximum pressure will likely continue. That does run the risk of increasingly belligerent – and dangerous – activity by the Iranians. That may include more provocative military actions in the Gulf and Strait.

 Iranians should be very careful.


Interviewed by Ulvi Ahmedli

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