Trump may launch ‘reckless’ attack on Iran, experts fear

Trump administration’s ‘sabre-rattling and aggressive rhetoric’ raise fears about a potential confrontation with Iran before Joe Biden takes office.

By Al Jazeera Staff *

Experts say the threat of a wider war between the United States and Iran remains in the final weeks of President Donald Trump’s administration [File: Tom Brenner/Reuters]
US President Donald Trump could take “reckless” military action against Iran in his final days in office, experts have warned, as tensions between Tehran and Washington mount on the eve of the first anniversary of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani’s assassination.

The US flew B-52 bombers over the Gulf three times in the past month, most recently on Wednesday, in what the Trump administration called a deterrence measure to keep Iran from retaliating on January 3, the anniversary of Soleimani’s killing in a US drone strike.

But with less than a month left in the White House, Trump is under pressure from key allies in the Middle East – namely Israel and Saudi Arabia – to take action on Iran, said Danny Postel, assistant director of the Center for International and Area Studies at Northwestern University.

“Trump is a very wounded and very cornered animal in an end-game scenario. He’s got a few weeks left, and we know that he is capable of extremely erratic behaviour,” Postel, an expert on Iran and US foreign policy, told Al Jazeera in an interview.

“It may be the case that his most erratic, most reckless lashing out is yet to come.”

On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “New intelligence from Iraq indicate[s] that Israeli agent-provocateurs are plotting attacks against Americans – putting an outgoing Trump in a bind with a fake casus belli.”

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