"United States President Donald Trump referred to Iran as the number one terrorist state. This is a serious charge which requires proof. Iran is clearly aware that the United States could make even the most radical moves, including a military option. This is why the Iranian defense chief has sent a message aimed at preventing Washington's aggressive rhetoric [toward Tehran]," the analyst noted.
These comments came after Army Gen. Joseph Votel, Commander of the US Central Command, described Iran as "the greatest long-term threat to stability" of the Middle East. He also said that Tehran is ostensibly operating in a "gray zone," saying that it is "an area between normal competition between states and it's just short of open conflict." Gen. Vogel also did not rule out that the Pentagon could use "military means" to disrupt Iran's activities.
Sudakov further said that Iran has become more self-assured in recent years, adding that this trend has become visible after the P5+1 countries and Tehran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This agreement is meant to ensure that Iran refrains from pursuing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.
"Iran is more self-confident than it was four or even one year ago, which is not only a byproduct of economic factors or Iran's closer relations with China and Russia for instance. Iran has received the advanced S-300 air defense systems from Russia," he said. "Iran is also a part of a coalition involved in the Syrian conflict. Tehran has quite efficiently coordinated its activities with the Syrian Arab Army. Iran has improved its standing in the Middle East. It is walking tall again."
Like Russia, Iran is taking part in the counterterrorism operation in Syria following a request from Damascus.
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