Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.(Photo: AP)
  • 1. Is the US on the Brink of War With Iran?
  • 2. Why Did the US Pull Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and What...
  • 3. What Has Been the US Military Response so Far?
  • 4. What Is the Trump Administration Hoping to Gain from its...
Here’s What is Behind the US-Iran Standoff and What is at Stake

(Disclaimer: This story was written on 19 June 2019. Since then, tensions between Washington and Tehran have escalated after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a US military surveillance drone on Thursday, 20 June. Iran said the drone “violated” its territorial airspace, while the US called the missile fire “an unprovoked attack” in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.

While politicians in the US remain divided over possible action against the downing, a US official said the military made preparations Thursday night for limited strikes on Iran in retaliation for the action, but approval was abruptly withdrawn before the attacks were launched. On Friday, the US barred American-registered aircraft from flying over Iranian-administered airspace in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, affecting a region crucial to global air travel.)

Hostilities are heating up between the United States and Iran and while President Donald Trump says he’s not looking to go to war with Tehran, it’s unclear how the standoff can be resolved.

Here’s a look at what’s behind the mounting tension and what’s at stake for both sides, as well as US allies in Europe and elsewhere.

  • 1. Is the US on the Brink of War With Iran?

    Administration officials insist that the US is not gearing up for a military confrontation with Iran. Although the US will act to defend itself, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that Trump "does not want war" and the president has said he's open to negotiating with Tehran.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also says his country doesn't want to "wage war with any nation." But Iranian officials have announced they will soon exceed caps on its uranium stockpile that were set by the 2015 US nuclear deal with Iran. They also question whether Trump can be trusted to negotiate, given that the president pulled the country out of the deal last year.

    Experts worry the current impasse could lead either side to misinterpret threats or aggressive moves, which could spiral into a full-fledged conflict. "Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation," acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan has told reporters.

    Trump says the US will never allow Tehran to have nuclear weapons and says economic sanctions will stay in place until Iran not only gives up its nuclear ambitions, but ends its ballistic missile program and stops funding militants in the region. Standing firm, Rouhani says his nation will be able to withstand the biting US economic sanctions that are crippling its economy.

    Also Read : US Prepared Attack on Iran, Called it Off Last Moment: Reports

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