Under status quo, Iran will step up Gulf aggression

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Significance

Over the past several weeks, Tehran has gradually shifted from a position of ‘strategic patience’ to escalatory action in an attempt to pressure Washington to back off and elicit greater support from other powers. This was signalled by Khamenei’s appointment in late April of General Hossein Salami, a stridently anti-Western figure, as the new head of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC).

Impacts

  • After the downing of its unmanned aerial vehicle, the United States will likely review overflight procedures and rules of engagement.
  • Iranian shows of force through naval exercises in the Persian Gulf are possible in the near future.
  • Iran may unveil new hardware including defensive systems or, more provocatively, test offensive missiles in coming weeks and months.
  • In the event of unwanted direct confrontation between the Iranian and US armed forces, both sides would look quickly to de-escalate.
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