The assassination of the founder of Iran’s nuclear program is an incident that continues to pose problems as the inauguration of Joe Biden is only thirty-odd days away. The defense ministry of Iran has announced the murder of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, confirming that his car was attacked near Tehran, where he was fatally wounded. The Islamic Republic of Iran is going through tough times at present. The influence of Tehran is at stake in important countries like Syria and Iraq. The United States has enforced sanctions on Iran, depriving it of any economic activity or any other bilateral trade terms with many countries across the globe. There has been some domestic economic, as well as security unrest in recent times, too, with Iran suffering from airstrikes. A senior Irani commander is reported to have died in a drone attack along with three others. These unsettling events may not prove just enough as Tehran is still determined on its stances and feels that it has a strong position even now.
This assassination followed an unofficial meeting hosted by Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) of Saudi Arabia, in which the participation of Benjamin Netanyahu and Mike Pompeo’s has been confirmed by the officials of Israel. Strangely enough, this murder took place at a time when there were rumors of President Trump attacking Iran.
Iran has been using the presence of US troops to its favor. Iran has been continuously seen to pressure and attack the US troops whenever the escalation seems to increase. This keeps the US administration at a distance and prevents the situation from escalating. The Trump administration hints about the retrieval of its forces from the region. However, once the troops are withdrawn, the odds are quite high that an attack is following shortly.
Two unwanted situations surround Iran. They can carry out a limited and symbolic attack on the nearby strategic partners of the US, namely Iraq. This may either avert the anticipated attack from the United States or prove a point for them to carry out an organized attack.
Or the other, they could come up as the aggressors against the US or its allies. The attack should be considered in its magnitude, such as to fend off a sizable US attack. However, this could again pave the way for a big-armed attack from the US. Another assassination or an attack on Iran, and Iran could be forced towards this option.
Although politically, Trump can look to ruin US-Iran harmonious relations for its rival’s administration, Iran still enjoys some upper hand strategically.
If a clash is to happen between the two adversaries, the US allies, namely Saudi Arab and the UAE happen to be the direct affectees. The most uninterested in any escalation will be these two allies. They have been frequently faced with defeats in the hands of Iran. The US backing of the Arab groups has never proved enough in any significant military conflict. Irani Proxies have even defeated Kurds in Kirkuk, where even the US troops were commissioned in the place.
Iran has also known for developing and controlling its military proxies. The utility of these groups is monitored and taken into account for, if the bar is lower than where it should have been, the support is withdrawn, unlike its rivals. Its success also entails its record and the transformation of these groups into political units. Moreover, the constant supply of weapons and money keep the groups loyal as they see their long-term prosperity in sticking with Iranian interests.
Trump’s regime might look to carry out a coordinated plan to disintegrate the securities of the Republic of Iran. Although Iran is well known for protecting and refurbishing its security, this could well prove to be what Biden’s administration might be rooting for his tenure.
This will prove to be a banishing or deterring point for the ever-intimidating behavior and Iran’s hostile intentions. The disturbed bilateral ties will lead to complications on any agreement between the two rivals. With every attack or assassination, the Iranian claims about its military strengths are being doubted.
In his article in The New York Times, David Sanger claims the possibility of an Israeli or US intervention behind the assassination. It could also well be a possibility that a local group wants a more hostile posture against the two and tries to bring up a contentious situation between the two foes.
Whatever the reality might be, this could well prove to be the first political jerk the Biden administration has to face after January 20. Any possible return to renegotiate the six-party agreement seems far from reality now.