As previously warned, Iran began to take revenge on Sulaimanis death.
But so far, all revenge has been restrained.
As the fifth phase of suspending the implementation of Irans nuclear agreement, Iran announced to abandon the limit on the number of centrifuges in the agreement, which means that its nuclear program is no longer subject to any actual restrictions. However, Iran did not formally announce its withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, but said it would continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and all measures to suspend the implementation of the agreement could be reversed.
After suleymanis death, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq and the U.S. Air Force Base in Ballard were shelled, but the shelling did not cause any death or injury to any Americans. The wounded were three Iraqi soldiers. In a virtual space that will not directly cause casualties, Iranian hackers have launched attacks on US government websites, and US authorities have reminded the public and private sectors to prepare for the cyber war in Iran.
Although it did not cause substantial harm to American citizens, Irans oath of revenge and its power throughout the Middle East have strained the nerves of the United States. The Pentagon decided to send 3000 more soldiers to the Middle East; the Truman carrier arrived in the Gulf of Oman and the Batan amphibious assault ship went to the Middle East; American citizens in Iraq were asked to evacuate; Washington and New York entered a state of alert.
Iraq, which has been struggling with anti Iran and anti-government demonstrations, has also made big moves: Parliament has voted for foreign troops to withdraw from Iraq. In addition to more than 5000 soldiers, the U.S. military has built multiple bases in Iraq. President trump has threatened to impose sanctions on Iraq and demand that Iraq repay the cost of building the bases.
What other retaliatory measures will Iran take against the United States as February 21 parliamentary elections approach? What is Irans bottom line? Will the situation get out of control? Li Shaoxian, Dean of the Chinese Academy of Arab States, Ningxia University, interprets the interface news.
What does it mean for Iran to announce once again that it has suspended the implementation of its nuclear agreement?
Li Shaoxian: now Irans approach is to say that it is not bound by the Iranian nuclear agreement, but it does not mean that Iran withdraws from the Iranian nuclear agreement, because it is still cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency. That means the IAEA will still be able to check Irans nuclear facilities as before and retain all monitoring equipment.
Iran would not have come this far without the death of suleymani. Prior to the attack on suleymani, Irans top officials had worked out a plan for the next steps of the Iranian nuclear agreement, which was to be announced on January 5. But after the attack, Irans top officials met again to make the decision. But the current approach still leaves room for negotiations.
After Sulaimanis death, although the Iranian military has put a lot of harsh words, but the attacks in the green zone and other places did not cause American casualties. Is Iran avoiding a confrontation with the United States?
Li Shaoxian: it is impossible for Iran not to retaliate against Sulaimanis death, but its retaliation will not be as sharp as many people think.
The response in Iran can be divided into three levels. One is that peoples mood is particularly fierce, which also puts great pressure on political circles. Especially now Iran is facing parliamentary elections, and politicians need to face the issue of votes.
The second is the military. The military, of course, is very high-profile and tough, let the American corpses spread all over the Middle East and so on. The militarys high-profile is understandable and logical. To a certain extent, the militarys high-profile can also pacify the people.
Another is the highest level. Although they also spoke hard, on the whole, the top management kept calm and restrained. From the current situation, the big situation is still under the control of the senior management; from the overall response of the senior management, I dont think they will take revenge measures that may lead to war. In retaliation will also grasp the scale, more cautious.
Iran has many means of retaliation, but no matter what means, I think the general principle will be followed: it will make the United States uncomfortable, but at the same time, it will make the United States able to bear, and it will have to swallow the bitter fruit.
As for the concerned Israel and the Strait of Hormuz, they will not be the targets of revenge. Attacking Israel or blocking the Strait of Hormuz means war, which is the last resort. Iran will not go this far.
The Iraqi parliament did not set a time limit for the withdrawal of foreign troops. Will the US military really withdraw?
Li Shaoxian: if Sulaimanis death can make the American troops in Iraq withdraw, or the atmosphere aroused by Sulaimanis death can make the American troops in Iraq more and more unable to stay, then I think Sulaimanis death is worth it.
It has already been said in Iran that creating this situation in Iraq is the last big gift package Sulaimani left to the Iranian people and national security.
The U.S. military is not staying or leaving in Iraq. The Iraqi parliament passed the vote. Although trump threatened to impose sanctions, the reason for the United States to stay in Iraq is no longer tenable. In the long run, the United States cant wait.
Of course, the U.S. will not withdraw because of Iraqs demands. The U.S. has never paid attention to Iraqs sovereignty. The U.S. president never needs the invitation of the Iraqi head of state to go to Iraq.
But even if the U.S. military does not leave Iraq, it will face endless harassment and threats in the future, which has objectively created an atmosphere that makes it difficult for the U.S. military to stay any longer. Now that the United States is nervous, it has strengthened security at home, let alone in the Middle East.
In my opinion, the US bombing of suleymani was a stupid decision.
Iraq has become the front of the battle between the United States and Iran. Before Sulaimanis death, there had been several months of protests in Iraq, targeting Iran; but now when Sulaimani died, the spear began to target the United States, which is equivalent to helping Iran to solve the problem. In the next step, there will be a series of struggles around the withdrawal of US troops.
Under the current situation, is it possible for European countries to remain neutral?
Li Shaoxian: now Europe is very embarrassed. Whether it is the bombing of suleymani or the US crackdown on Iran, Europe is inclined to the US. But objectively, these actions of the United States also put NATO members at risk.
NATO has stopped training in Iraq to stay out of the limelight and ensure security. As for what NATO will do next, it depends on the United States. If the United States withdraws, other NATO forces may withdraw before the United States.
On the issue of Irans nuclear agreement, the interests of European countries and the United States are not entirely the same. Europe wants to keep the Iranian nuclear agreement, and if it is repealed, it will face the threat.
On the one hand, Europe tends to the United States, on the other hand, it wants to keep the Iranian nuclear agreement, which is embarrassing. However, there is little that countries can do, and only diplomatic means can alleviate conflicts.
If the US Iraq fighting law is still under control, is it likely to lose control in the future?
Li Shaoxian: at present, from the perspective of the Iranian government, there is no sign of out of control. But Sulaimanis death has made more Iranians incline to the hardliners. If the hardliners win the next parliamentary election, the first step must be to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear agreement.
After that, public confrontations with the United States became possible. Moreover, with the continuation of the US Iraq fighting law, it is impossible to rule out the possibility that the situation is out of control.
But in any case, from the current situation, the bottom line between the United States and Iran is no war.