Director of the International Center for Defence and Security (ICDS) Sven Sakkov does not believe that the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard general Qasem Soleimani by the U.S. will result in a full war between the two countries. He believes it would be too costly and risky for both Iran and USA.
"It is difficult to imagine a full-blown war in the region because Iran knows it can achieve little in a head-on collision with USA. And the U.S. knows it has no military way to force Iran on its knees. The U.S. administration is tired of wars in the Middle East, has no interest in boots on the ground operations in Iran," Sakkov told ERR.
"The impression I have is that the Iranian government is not deranged, that it has a realistic grip on things," Sakkov said, adding that the words of Iranian leaders are usually louder than their actions.
Sakkov suggested that rather we might see skirmishes in the Persian Gulf or attacks on oil tankers and against interests of U.S. allies.
"He can activate his allies, military groups in regions they control. We're talking about Hezbollah in Lebanon and military and paramilitary units stationed from Iran to Syria. We can also expect actions against the interests of U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Israel. We will also see developments in the chain of events near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad," Sakkov explained.
Returning to the Iran nuclear deal is now completely out of the question, Sakkov said. "A deal the U.S. distanced itself from but that was still backed by Russia and several European countries. I believe it is dead for good now. Iran might start uranium enrichment on a large scale again," the ICDS director said.
Sakkov added that Soleimani's death is a notable development for USA. He said that the general was regarded as the second or third most powerful man in Iran. "He has been the architect of Iran's expansive military activity in the region as concerns Iraq and Syria. He is responsible for killing hundreds of U.S. citizens," Sakkov said.
A U.S. missile strike killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Iraq in the early hours of the morning of January 3. The attack was authorized by President Donald Trump, the Pentagon said in an official press release. Iran has vowed to take harsh revenge against the United States.
Editor: Marcus Turovski