US official: Iran could launch provocative actions in the Middle East

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Acting US Secretary of State Thomas Mudley said on Friday that Iran may carry out “provocative actions” in the Strait of Hormuz and elsewhere in the region in the future, despite a period of relative calm.

Tensions have escalated in the Gulf since summer attacks on oil tankers, including one off the coast of the Emirates, and a major attack on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Washington accuses Iran of being responsible for these attacks, but Iran denies this.

“I think they will continue to do provocative acts there … and I think they will have every opportunity to do so,” Moodley told Reuters, without giving details or a timeframe.

He added, “There is no indication to me that there is a change in the direction of the leadership that might predict that they will stop what they were doing … unless the regime changes there.”

The Pentagon has sent about 14,000 additional troops to the region to deter Iran since May, including an aircraft carrier.

Moodley indicated that US reactions to Iran’s behavior have diverted the defense ministry away from priorities such as addressing China.

“As they do harmful things there … our reaction is to send an aircraft carrier there for ten months … What does it do with regard to the readiness of the aircraft carrier?” This reduces its readiness as long as it stays there. ”

Moodley’s warning coincides with China, Iran and Russia launching joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.

The waters around Iran have become a center of international tensions as the United States pressures to stop Iranian oil sales and cut Tehran’s other trade ties by imposing mainly severe sanctions.

The Gulf of Oman is particularly sensitive to the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s oil supplies pass, and which in turn is connected to the Gulf.

When asked whether Iran was expected to cause unrest in the region as a result of the protests taking place, Moodley said he had not seen intelligence indicating this.

And demonstrations last month in protest against the increase in fuel prices turned into political protests in Iran, and the authorities responded with the bloodiest security campaign, the most violent in the history of the Islamic Republic spanning forty years.

Three Iranian Interior Ministry officials told Reuters that about 1,500 people were killed in less than two weeks of unrest in the country.


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