Ex-defense chief warns of ‘full-fledged war’ if Trump attacks Iran

November 20, 2020 - 18:1

TEHRAN — Former Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan has warned of the consequences of a full-fledged war between the U.S. and Iran, saying while Iran is ready to defend itself, it does not welcome war.

“A limited, tactical conflict can turn into a full-fledged war,” he said. “Definitely, the United States, the region and the world cannot stand such a comprehensive crisis,” Brigadier General Dehghan said in an interview with the Associated Press published on Thursday.

“We don’t welcome a crisis. We don’t welcome war. We are not after starting a war,” he said. “But we are not after negotiations for the sake of negotiations either.”

Dehghan, an advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the Islamic Republic will not negotiate its defensive power with anybody under any circumstances.

Missiles are a symbol of the massive potential that is in our experts, young people and industrial centers, he stated.

He further warned against any American military escalation in U.S. President Donald Trump’s final weeks in office.

The remarks came in reaction to a recent report in which The New York Times, citing four current and former U.S. officials on Monday, said that Trump has asked senior advisers in an Oval Office meeting whether he had options to take action against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks.

A range of senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike, said the Times, adding that the advisers — including Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary; and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — warned that a strike against Iran’s facilities could easily escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of Trump’s presidency.

Dehghan also warned about Israel’s regional expansionist ambitions that saw the regime normalizing its relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan earlier in the year. He warned that the ambitious march was a “strategic mistake” that could put Tel Aviv in a parlous state.

“It is opening an extensive front,” he said. “Just imagine every Israeli in any military base can be a target for groups who are opposed to Israel.”

He also referred to possible negotiations with the U.S., saying the U.S.’s atrocities under Trump had made it extremely difficult for Iran to accept its return to the negotiation table.

Among the rest, he referred to the U.S.’s assassination of Iranian senior anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani on Trump’s direct order near Baghdad’s international airport in January.

He called the IRGC’s retaliatory missile strikes against U.S. bases in Iraq that came almost immediately after the assassination a mere “initial slap,” and said that the Islamic Republic continued to seek the expulsion of all American forces from the region as revenge for the barbaric assassination.

“We do not seek a situation in which (the other party) buys time to weaken our nation,” said Dehghan, who was defense minister in President Rouhani’s first administration.