Speaking after President Trump’s admission that he called off military strikes on the nation “10 minutes” before they were due to take place last night, the deputy director of foreign policy at Washington-based think tank Brookings Institution warned Sky News of the impending crisis. Expert Suzanne Maloney explained to host Mark Austin: “Iran, having failed to really resolve the economic pressure, has every incentive to up the ante. So I think we’re likely to see more attacks.
“They’ll be calculated, they’ll be measured and deliberately intended to avoid the red line that the President has set about American casualties.
“But it is going to continue to impact the regional climate and the regional economy quite severely.”
Mr Austin ominously pointed out that “even small-scale attacks continuing could lead to a miscalculation where things get out of hand”.
The news comes as President Donald Trump considers deploying 120,000 US troops to the region – almost the number that was sent to Iraq in 2003.
Donald Trump said on Friday he aborted a military strike on Iran because he said it could have killed 150 people, a disproportionate response to Tehran’s downing of an unmanned US surveillance drone.
President Trump said the plan was to hit three sites in response to the drone’s downing on Thursday, which Tehran said took place over its territory and which Washington said occurred in international airspace over the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The drone incident aggravated fears of a direct military clash between the longtime foes and oil prices rose more than one percent to above $65 per barrel on Friday due to worries about possible disruptions to crude exports from the Gulf.
In a sign that the United States is also open to diplomacy, Iranian sources told Reuters Trump had warned them that a US attack on Iran was imminent but had said he was against war and wanted talks. Washington also requested a closed-door U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday.
In a series of early morning tweets, Trump said he was in no hurry to launch a strike and that U.S. economic sanctions designed to force Iran to curb its nuclear and missile programs and its involvement in regional wars were having an effect.
He also said the United States imposed additional sanctions against Iran on Thursday night following the destruction of the Global Hawk drone by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, but it was not immediately clear what those penalties may have been.
“Ten minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world,” Trump tweeted.
White House national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and CIA Director Gina Haspel, along with the rest of Trump’s team, favored a retaliatory strike, said a senior Trump administration official.