By staff and agency

More than 70 retired military leaders urge Trump to avoid war with Iran

May 25, 2019

More than 70 retired American military leaders wrote an open letter to U.S. President Donald Trump urging him to avoid war with Iran.

The former generals advised Trump in the letter published Thursday in War on the Rocks to take “crisis de-escalation measures.”

“As President and Commander-in-Chief, you have considerable power at your disposal to immediately reduce the dangerous levels of regional tension,” the letter read. 

“Crisis de-escalation measures should be established with the Iranian leadership at the senior levels of government as a prelude to exploratory diplomacy on matters of mutual concern.”

Trump said Friday that he would send about 1,500 troops to the Middle East.

Tension has been rising between Iran and the U.S. since the Trump administration ended sanctions waivers for the remaining importers of the Iranian oil and the Pentagon sent the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf and made military threats against Iran. 

The USS Arlington transports marines, amphibious vehicles, and rotary aircraft, as well as the Patriot missiles, are planned to join the carrier strike group.

In an interview with CNN aired on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the U.S. is playing a “very very dangerous game” by increasing its military presence in the region.

“Iran is not interested in escalation. We have said very clearly that we will not be the party to begin escalation, but we will defend ourselves. Having all these military assets in a small waterway (Persian Gulf) is prone to accident, particularly when you have people who are interested in accidents.  We believe that the U.S. is playing a very very dangerous game,” he said.

The chief diplomat said all will suffer if a war breaks out.

“There will be painful consequences for everybody. There is an escalation against Iran. That’s for sure. The U.S. is engaged in an economic warfare against Iran. It has to stop. Economic war means targeting the Iranian people. That has to stop. The U.S. does not have the legal position, does not have the moral position, does not have the political position and does not have the international position to impose economic war on Iran,” Zarif stated.

Oman’s Foreign Ministry tweeted on Friday that Muscat is trying “with other parties” to reduce tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

“There is a danger that a war breaks out, hurting the whole world ... Both parties, the American and the Iranian, are aware of the danger,” the tweet cited Omani Foreign Minister Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah as saying in an interview with an Arabic publication, according to Reuters.

The Omani foreign minister visited Tehran on Monday. He held talks with Zarif, discussing the most important regional and international developments, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

NA/PA

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