The Politics at Play in Iran

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View of Northern Tehran, Iran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his country “will not wage war against any nation”, as tensions continue to escalate between the U.S. and Tehran.

U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said that the decision to send an additional 1,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East is based on the belief that Iran was behind last week’s attacks on oil tankers.  “The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region.” 

Iran’s use of proxy groups has experts concerned about the possibility of moving closer to war based on a series of ‘miscalculations’ of how the U.S. might respond to further attacks.

We asked Cipher Brief expert and former Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, USN (ret.), who also served as Commander of the 5th Fleet, to provide some much-needed context and perspective on Iran’s use of proxy groups as well as its own internal politics, which is driving its response, primarily, to U.S. sanctions.

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