The United States has seen that it has managed to curb the Iranian threat after a series of statements by Tehran about militarily dealing with Washington’s interests in the region.
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Tuesday that potential attacks by Iran had been “subdued” by US countermeasures.
The United States warned in recent weeks of an Iranian threat and said Iran would be held accountable for the actions of its proxies in the region and that Washington would respond strongly to any military action aimed at its interests, with US President Trump saying Sunday that it would be Iran’s official end.
Despite doubts about a military war between the two sides, Washington is raising its preparedness to face Iran’s threat of wars waged against US interests by its proxies in the region, such as Hezbollah and its affiliated militias in several countries.
In recent weeks, the United States has deployed additional warships and aircraft to the Gulf region on Iran’s southern coast.
As part of the escalation, Iran said on Friday, May 17 that it could “easily” strike US warships in the Gulf, despite statements by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that he does not expect a war with the United States.
“Even our short-range missiles have easy access to US warships in the Gulf,” Mohammad Saleh Jokar, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards for parliamentary affairs, was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying on Tuesday.
“America cannot afford a new war, and the country is in a bad situation in terms of manpower and social conditions,” he said.
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon, “I think our steps have been very wise and we have stopped the possibility of attacks on Americans and this is very important.”
“I would like to say that we are at a time when the threat is still high, and our task is to make sure that there is no misjudgment on the part of the Iranians,” he added, according to the BBC.
Iran has complied with the terms of the JCPOA, the 2015 agreement limiting the scope of its nuclear program, and it has called on other parties to support the agreement despite the US withdrawal.
Iranian officials said that they have increased production of uranium fourfold, although the increase is still within the limits of the agreement.
The United States is seeking to completely end Iran’s oil exports and has eliminated the exemptions from sanctions on countries still buying oil from Iran.
In response to the resolution, Iran suspended many of the commitments of the agreement and threatened to raise the pace of uranium enrichment if European countries do not act to protect their oil and banking industries from the effects of US sanctions within two months.
Last week, four UAE oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were attacked, which the UAE described as “sabotage”.
Two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia were also hit by drone attacks by the Yemeni-backed Houthi militia, which forced the kingdom to temporarily close the oil pipeline.
According to the BBC, there are unconfirmed reports quoting US and regional security officials that Iran transferred missiles on boats from Iranian ports and then Iranian-backed Iraqi fighters moved them close to Iraqi facilities used by US forces.