The commander of US forces in the Middle East, General Kenneth MacKenzie, called on Iran to refrain from any provocation as Washington intensifies its efforts to save the nuclear deal.
“I think this is an appropriate time for everyone to act with caution and caution, and anticipate what will happen,” said US Central Command Commander Centcom, during a visit to the Sultanate of Oman on Sunday, but stressed that, “Nevertheless, I think we will be prepared for any eventuality.”
In recent weeks, the administration of US President Joe Biden, European powers and Iran have strengthened attempts to revive the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, which appeared to be on the verge of collapse after Donald Trump withdrew from it.
The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, announced yesterday, after a visit to Tehran, that a “temporary solution” had been reached that would allow the agency to continue inspections in Iran, despite Tehran reducing the work of international inspectors as of Tuesday.
The American general urged Iran to avoid any “nefarious activities”, in an attempt to rebuild confidence, saying, “I think they want to be recognized as a responsible member and a stabilizing factor in the region.”
The United States accuses Iran of destabilizing the region by providing financial and military support to groups loyal to it, especially in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.
Washington blamed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards for disrupting shipping traffic in the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf in 2019, the corridor through which a fifth of global oil production passes daily.
The Strait of Hormuz was a major focus of the US general’s visit to Oman, which officially aims to establish contacts with the new Chief of Staff of the Omani Forces, Major General Abdullah bin Khamis Al Raisi.
He visited a naval base in the northern Khasab region, which monitors navigation in the strait, and flew in a helicopter towards the Iranian island of Qeshm, about 55 kilometers from the nearest point on the Omani coast.
“We were about 28 miles, 45 kilometers away, and we were looking at Qeshm Island,” he said, adding with a smile, “It was a foggy day and I couldn’t see it.”
The visit passed peacefully, but the US military official did not rule out that Tehran would try to avenge again for the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US air strike in Baghdad in January 2020, and said: “I think there is still a risk of action being planned.”
“We are constantly evaluating the issue of protecting our forces here in the region. We look at that very seriously, so I am sure that we are prepared for everything,” he added.
And in February, an account linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei posted on Twitter a call for revenge for Soleimani, which appeared to target former US President Donald Trump.
In recent months in Iraq, several missile strikes have targeted military bases used by the US military, and Washington has said that pro-Iranian factions are behind them.