Dr Abuzar Gohari Moghaddam, in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, assessed Iran’s direct military response to the US as unprecedented in history, saying that the Iranian operation showed US calculations to be false and that the interests of Americans were not served in the assassination of Lt. General Qassem Suleimani.
The professor said that what made the US assassinate General Suleimani was a miscalculation: they thought Iran was in a weak position for several reasons and because of the maximum pressure they exerted, it lost its social capital and assessed some of the riots that took place in November within this framework.
He added: “As put by the Supreme Leader, they thought Iran’s work is finished and that they can engineer new riots domestically. “On the other hand, they thought the self-restraint shown by Iran in response to the enemy in the regional arena, including the anti-Iranian movements related to the Zionist regime in Syria and other areas against the positions of Iran and its allies was a sign of Iran’s weakness.
The strategic analyst said that in the regional space of Iraq and Lebanon, there were riots they tried to portray aimed at Iran and to show that Iran’s soft power and influence in those countries has diminished. At the same time, the United States saw its prestige at stake. And they thought they were humiliated by Iran for not responding to the downing of the American drone.
Gohari Moghaddam said: “In the attack on the oil tankers and Aramco refineries, they also felt that the United States had lost its deterrent power and that its military power had fallen into disrepute.” They were also concerned that the seizure of the US embassy in Iraq would be repeated and that their image in Iraq would be completely tarnished. These assumptions and errors led them to assassinate General Suleimani. They expected that the move would lead to a strategic change by Iran and would be a prelude to taking longer steps aimed at reducing Iran’s regional influence and bringing Tehran to the negotiation table and contain the country.
He emphasized that Iran’s military operation in attacking US military bases in Baghdad was merely a blow to the grandeur of America. The response the Islamic Republic seeks is a timely and within the geography of the Resistance. As the Supreme Leader in Iran has put it “they have only received a slap in the face and if they fail and want to respond, they will face a second blow that will undermine the serious interests of the Americans.
Millions Attend Martyr Suleimani Funeral; Iran Reaction Begins
Gohari Moghaddam described Iran’s hard revenge as a cover-up, adding: “Iran’s response to the funeral of millions of martyrs across the country was a demonstration of national unity and the strengthening of social capital.” In the first step, the Americans in the domestic arena faced severe reprisals, all united under the leadership of martyr Soleimani, and this was the first hard blow inflicted on the Americans.
Iran’s Military Credibility, Deterrence Potential
He added: “In the second step, Iran’s direct attack on the US base showed that Iran’s military credibility and deterrence capability are still in place.” Iran can act against the US powerfully and if they think that by changing the level of the game and provocation they can corner off Iran and force it to retreat, it is a resolute response to the destruction of their strategic game.
America’s Pullout from the Region, Iraq
The most important achievement of these actions is the departure of Americans from the region and Iraq, he said, adding that an immediate, decisive and proportionate response would create the necessary deterrence and show that Iran has a strategic rivalry with the Americans and with the message sent to Washington, it seems that the miscalculation and wrong advice given to Trump will be corrected, and the result will be to safeguard Iran’s interests and consolidate its actions on the Resistance axis.
Strategic Value of Erbil and Ain al-Assad Bases
Asked about the strategic value of the Erbil base which was subjected to Iran’s hard revenge, he said: “This base is one of the CIA bases and high value to the CIA and Mossad. It was a base for information collection and control and interception of database and is therefore of great value. The value of these bases is not measured by the number of people hit. Its strategic value is in terms of the equipment and the type of action they take against Iran through the site and a message to the Americans that we have intelligence command about the developments.
Gohari Moghaddam also said about Ein al-Assad base: Ein al-Assad is one of the most important US military bases in Iraq with a high concentration of forces. Previously, they had also been used to help the ISIS. The operation to assassinate General Suleimani and his aides also took place from this base. Perhaps Iran’s overwhelming response indicated that they would be hit from the point where they take action against Iran. Both the Zionist regime indirectly and the Americans have realized the kind of macro-strategic look Iran has given them in response, and they have certainly received this message.
Strategic Value of Operations
Noting that the operation was carried out directly by Iran and not by its allies, he said: “This action shows that Iran has no fear of retaliation.” The Americans countered us directly and martyred our highest level, military commander. Iran’s initial response was also directly designed and implemented. The strategic value of this action was that we did it ourselves. If any of our regional allies had done this, it would not have the deterrent effect the direct operation had.
He stressed: If we were negligent in taking our hard revenge the risk of conflict and crisis would be much higher than it is now. The rationality and crisis management that exists will prevent crisis escalation. We also gave them the appropriate response. If they exceed the limits Iran’s regional allies will certainly take action.
US Allies Not Out of Reach
Gohari Moghaddam emphasized that the US allies, such as the Zionist regime, are certainly not out of reach of Iran and that they will be punished if they make new moves. The same applies to the Arab allies of the United States in the Persian Gulf. In the next stages if they want to make a mistake our regional allies will step in. Whether Iran would respond directly at this stage will depend on the rationality and discipline we have in the entire establishment.
Commenting on the reaction of US officials and feedbacks in the United States, he said: “Certainly, initial assessments of the extent of damages must be made. Maybe they want to do something based on those assessments, but Trump’s reaction showed that he has got the message and is trying to calm the situation by refraining from new action.
The strategic affairs analyst, referring to Trump’s tweet after the operation, stressed: “Trump’s performance has shown that his personality is unstable and that his response has been criticized inside America, so his assessments are not a valid criterion for US policy.”
“They should measure the kind of their response with new calculations, not the previous calculations that Iran was restrictive,” he said. In the current situation, they are more concerned with the Iranian response and the likelihood of the crisis spreading to allies such as Hezbollah, Ansarollah and others.
Impact on US Elections
Gohari Moghaddam emphasized: A large part of the American society voted for Trump because of his anti-war slogans. He was supposed not to enter into all-out endless wars and pull America out of unending conflicts. In the current situation, Trump is in the midst of a dilemma due to miscalculations that may even endanger his status in the presidential election. The kind of reaction the Islamic Republic has and the crisis escalation may have posed this threat for Trump, and probably he is most concerned about this issue.
“At present, there is pressure from the Democrats and even the Republicans on Trump. We can see that the tone of the Republicans is milder after the Iranian reaction. They might not even have imagined such a reaction. As time passes and they realize the level and depth of the blow they have sustained they too will be forced to reform their warlike literature, and look at the Middle East scene, Iran’s power, and its ability to respond realistically and ultimately work for preserving America’s prestige and esteem.”