Fellow Dana Allin, said the war of words was “very reminiscent of the build-up to the Iraq war but with even less logic”, and claimed Donald Trump “doesn’t understand” the risks involved in sending military reinforcements to the Persian Gulf. The US President sent Patriot antimissile battery and a battleship to the region to shore up defences against perceived Iranian threats this week. With relations between the two countries deteriorating, Mr Trump said on Sunday he “didn’t want a war” with the Islamic republic – although he followed his remark up by saying: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran”.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded by dismissing what he called Mr Trump’s “genocidal taunts”, adding: “Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone.”
Armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri added: “The confrontation and face-off of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the malicious government of America is the arena for a clash of wills.”
Dana Allin, senior fellow for US foreign policy and transatlantic affairs at the International International for Strategic Studies (IISS) told Express.co.uk: “I don’t think Donald Trump appreciates or understands the potential consequences here, or perhaps he doesn’t care.
“I don’t know where this is heading but clearly there could be a major conflict.”
Mr Allin said he found it “very hard to fathom” the Trump administration’s policy towards Iran.
He said: “It’s very reminiscent of the build-up to the Iraq war but with even less logic.
“It’s very difficult to read the minds of people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.”
Remarks by US Secretary of State Mr Pompeo in the wake of last year’s protests in Iran against soaring inflation appeared to have been aimed an encouraging the overthrow of the regime of President Hassan Rouhani.
However, Mr Allin said: “Even if this was to happen, what do we know about what would come next?”
It was entirely possible, that Mr Rouhani, who is regarded inside Iran as something of a moderate, might be replaced by somebody considerably more militant, he explained.
He added: “Funnily enough, the only restraint on this is President Trump himself.
“He does seem to have an aversion to large-scale conflict.
“Nevertheless, the US has diplomatically isolated itself when it comes to policy towards Iran.”
US-Iranian tensions have risen since Mr Trump withdrew a year ago from the Joint Plan of Comprehensive Action (JPOCA), a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and major powers, accusing Tehran of repeated violations, and began ratcheting up sanctions to throttle the country’s economy, tightening the measures still further earlier this month.
Thousands of Iranians subsequently took part in state-sponsored marches to support the Government’s decision to stop complying with some parts of the treaty.
Iran has threatened to go further if other parties to the deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – fail to shield it from US sanctions.
Mr Trump and Mr Rouhani have clashed several times in recent months.
The US President, angered by his opposite number’s suggestion that a war between the two countries would be “the mother of all conflicts”, took to Twitter last July, using capital letters to warn: “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”