Recently, TRENDS Research and Advisory Center published a new study saying that there are many evidences showing that Iran is reviewing its behavior. That is noteworthy after the symbolic and limited response from Iran to the operation of killing Qassem Suleimani, the commander of The Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, by US forces. Iran has changed its political and military rhetoric, the Iranian discourse – even if it is temporarily – became tilting towards appeasement and de-escalation. Moreover, Iran realized that it will be the loser in any direct military confrontation against Washington.
The study, titled “The Killing of Suleimani and the Dimensions of Transformation in USA Deterrence Strategy towards Iran”, assured that the operation of killing Qassem Suleimani, on 3rd of January 2020, had paved the road for a new transformation in Washington’s strategy towards Iran and its proxies in this region. The aim of the new strategy is to restore the prestige and credibility of the US deterrence capabilities in this region and the world. Moreover, the timing of the operation cannot be separated from the campaigns of US presidential elections, scheduled to be held in November 2020.
The study reminds the readers of statements of political and military officials at president Trump administration, in the same context. Notable among those statements were the speech of Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, at Hoover Institute, Stanford University, in January 2020, titled: “Restoring Deterrence: The Iranian Example”; and the statements of US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. These statements generally confirm that the killing of Suleimani was a strategic necessity to restore US deterrence force; besides confirming once more the “Red Lines”, which should not be ignored or crossed by Iran in any way. Examples of those red lines are: all kinds of US interests; or threatening navigation and shipping traffic in waterways and straits, etc…
The study also answered the critical question: Will the US deterrence strategy change the aggressive behavior of Iran? The study then concludes that there are many evidences showing that Iran is reviewing its behavior. Most important of these evidences are the symbolic limited response to the killing of Suleimani, and the clear change in its political and military rhetoric. The Iranian discourse – even if it is temporarily – became tilting towards appeasement and de-escalation. Iran realized that it will be the loser in any direct military confrontation against the USA; particularly in this period as the US presidential election race has started (elections will be held in November 2020). Ultimately, Iran wants this period to be relatively calm, and it prefers de-escalation and tries to avoid getting involved in an uncalculated adventure that might be very costly by all standards.