What is Iran’s regional strategy in the face of US military presence?


The US-Iran tensions have now reached a new high. Following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, imposing of harsh sanctions on Tehran, and deployment of the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in the Gulf region, the Islamic Republic has been isolated financially, militarily, and diplomatically.

“Iran doesn’t have an economic, political, or diplomatic way to face the US or Europe, nor to negotiate with Russia and China,” political analyst Dr. Hassan Hashemian told Al Arabiya.

Earlier this week, an attack on a port in the UAE’s Fujairah sabotaged four commercial vessels, two of which are Saudi. On Tuesday, two oil-pumping stations for the Saudi East-West pipeline were hit by explosive-laden drones.

Investigations are ongoing regarding the “sabotaged ships,” with the US, France, and Norway involved, along with the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Initial US assessment blamed Iran for the Fujairah attack, while the Saudi pipeline attack was claimed by the Houthis.

Amir al-Musawi, an Iranian political analyst, believes that the Houthis are defending themselves, saying that “they’re targeting economic and military facilities and not cities like what Saudi airplanes do in Yemen. The two sides are at war. I believe it is their right to defend themselves.”

On the other hand, Editor in Chief of Independent Arabia Adwan al-Ahmari told Al Arabiya that the “Houthis said that there were four drones in the beginning, then said seven drones. They said that they were launched from Sanaa, then changed their statement to say that they were launched from Saudi Arabia. This tells you that [the] Houthis have nothing to do with this attack.”

The Houthis have been publicly supported by Iran, which takes pride in saying that it has influenced four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, and Sanaa. This only puts Iran’s regional intentions, with US military presence watching its every move, into question.

“Iran might be doing all that it could do before having to negotiate US terms, or before the US targets Tehran … It cannot face the US militarily, unless the Iranian leaders think that the US is another Saddam Hussein,” al-Ahmari added, referring to the late Iraqi dictator Tehran went to war with.

“The only card that the Iranian regime still has is its militias and terrorist attacks against oil facilities. The Iranian diplomacy right now is built on those terrorist attacks,” said Hashemian.

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