President Donald Trump.Pictures:AP
President Donald Trump.Pictures:AP
Iranian President Hassan
Iranian President Hassan
A PROMINENT Lebanese analyst has expressed concern that the latest harsh words exchanged by the US and Iranian presidents have brought the two countries to the brink of war.

Kamel Wazne says Iran cannot trust America after President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear deal with world powers and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

Wazne says Iran could well go to war to protect its oil exports, the foundation of its economy. “Iran has said any war with them will be very costly, and this means American bases throughout the region could be a target.”

Wazne, the director of American Strategic Studies institute in Beirut, warned that “it needs just one mistake to have a major regional war”.

Germany called for restraint amid the escalating rhetoric. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Christofer Burger said yesterday: “We support dialogue and talks, and we call on all sides to exercise restraint and rhetorical disarmament.”

President Donald Trump tweeted late on Sunday that hostile threats from Iran could bring dire consequences. Earlier in the day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said America “must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars”.

Burger said “threats of military force are never helpful, particularly in the tense situation in the Middle East”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump for his “strong stance” on Iran. Trump was taking a clear position against “Iranian aggression” after years in which the “regime was pampered by world powers”.

The Israeli prime minister spoke at his weekly cabinet meeting yesterday, after Trump warned Rouhani of dire consequences for threatening the US.

Trump had tweeted late on Sunday night in capital letters: “Never ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

Trump earlier this year pulled the US out of the international deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon and ordered increased American sanctions.

Meanwhile, a prominent Iranian political analyst has downplayed Trump’s warning to Iran and the escalating rhetoric, saying they were “the storm before the calm”.

Seed Leilaz said yesterday he isn’t “worried about the remarks and tweets” he branded as propaganda.

Trump’s attitude so far has been different from his words, he said, and it’s “unlikely such a tweet will have any impact inside Iran”.

Neither Iran, nor any other country was interested in escalating tensions in the region, he said. He cited the harsh words between the US and North Korea that preceded the high profile summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and denuclearisation talks.

Leilaz says Trump and Kim got “closer” despite their previous warring words.

Earlier, a high-ranking Iranian officer said Trump’s warning of unprecedented “consequences” for Iran, should it threaten the US was nothing but “psychological warfare”.

General Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, the chief of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard’s volunteer Basij force, said Trump “won’t dare” take military action against Iran.

Iranian MP Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said he doubted it would come to a military confrontation, despite the escalating rhetoric.

The pair “express themselves through speeches since diplomatic channels are closed” as the two countries have had no diplomatic relations since 1979. He says that unlike North Korea, “Iran never moved toward a nuclear bomb”. Therefore, “Iran is angry since Trump responded to Tehran’s engagement diplomacy by pulling the US out of the nuclear deal”.

Iran’s state-owned news agency dismissed Trump’s tweet as a “passive reaction” to Rouhani’s remarks. The Irna news agency, a government mouthpiece, said Trump’s tweet was only copying Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who had warned the West to “never threaten an Iranian”.