Iranian-US Tensions: Preventing Large-Scale Conflict

America has attacked and killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, an organization directly beholden to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s paramount leader.

Iran has announced that it will withdraw from the nuclear agreement it reached with Europe and others and enrich uranium without limits, and bilateral tensions have suddenly increased.

If this develops into a large-scale conflict, not just the Middle East but the whole world’s peace and security will likely take a severe blow. The two countries involved, of course, but also global society, including Japan, must use their full power to suppress conflict.

Militias close to Iran have committed repeated provocations, including terrorism, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, etc. against America and Israel. It seems that the Quds Force that Soleimani led was behind these.

At the end of last year, American troops stationed in Iraq were attacked by militias, and civilians attached to the military also died. America must have taken the step of killing the commander as an inevitable measure to protect its people.

It cannot be overlooked that the administration of Donald Trump has made it clear that it will no longer ignore actions that threaten the U.S.

The spread of terrorism by armed groups supported by Iran is a major cause of instability in the Middle East. Iranian involvement in attacks on tankers and seizures of vessels, which threaten freedom of navigation, has also been pointed out.

America has designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Iran should not intimidate America but instead should break off its links to armed groups abroad. If it has nothing to do with tanker attacks, it must prove it.

Worryingly, Soleimani is seen as a hero by his countryfolk, and the risk of war as revenge for his murder has risen. President Hassan Rouhani vowed revenge, and Trump made clear that he would respond with a vicious attack.

Since May of last year, Iran has announced its steady withdrawal from the nuclear deal, and the recent measures are the fifth ones taken. It can be said that the agreement is on the edge of collapse. The international community must request that Iran refrain from revenge and return to the agreement.

The heads of state of Britain, France and Germany jointly called for Iran to abide by the deal and cease its violent activities. The role for Japan, which has strong ties with both America and Iran, is great. It should actively play the role of mediator.

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