Opinion and Editorial

US is serious about taking on Iran threats

Filed on July 10, 2018 | Last updated on July 10, 2018 at 09.36 pm

The United States stands with the UAE and other Gulf partners if Iran's regional ambitions go to its head and the regime steps out of line. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spelled this out in no uncertain terms during his stopover in Abu Dhabi before his trip to Brussels for the Nato summit. A warning to Tehran is what the US wanted to convey from up close, or within earshot of the regime, and Pompeo has made US role in the region loud and clear. US naval ships patrol the Arabian Gulf regularly, ensuring the smooth flow of oil. The additional security has helped stave off the Iranian challenge, which only gets worse when the regime is cornered like it is now. UAE-US ties are built on solid foundations and Pompeo's visit served to highlight the effort the Trump administration is putting into this special relationship. Washington is a keen listener to Abu Dhabi's concerns and will act to assuage them.

These stem from Tehran's plots to stoke instability in the Gulf. Before the touted (an now tottering) nuclear deal of 2015, that has since been torn up by the Trump administration, Tehran kept countries in the region guessing by resorting to threats of going nuclear. There was fear of a rogue nation emerging from across the waters of the Arabian Gulf. The EU, the then Obama administration, China and Russia rushed in with an agreement that ignored the concerns of the Gulf countries. These fears revolved around the fact that Tehran could not be trusted as long as the same clerical regime held the political reins. And their fears came true as Tehran began upgrading its missiles rapidly while stating in public that they were meant for peaceful purposes. With the nuclear deal as good as dead following the US exit, Tehran is reverting to its old gameplan of threatening shipping lanes that criss-cross the region. The chokepoint of Strait of Hormuz is at the centre of this latest psychological offensive, which the US should match with a show of force. With this visit, Washington is making a statement of intent that it will do what is needed to ensure its allies are protected and peace prevails in the Middle East. Iran has a chance to end its missile games, or face deep and cutting sanctions. Enough of Tehran's threats, which are old hat.

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