Trump's Iran Strategy Could Spark War, Warns Bipartisan Group of Former U.S. Officials

The National Coalition To Prevent An Iranian Nuclear Weapon released an ominous statement this week signed by more than 50 prominent foreign policy figures

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a Make America Great Again rally at the Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia, U.S., August 21, 2018
REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

A bipartisan U.S. group, the National Coalition To Prevent An Iranian Nuclear Weapon, released a statement this week signed by more than 50 prominent foreign policy figures claiming the Trump administration’s approach to Iran has created a situation in which the regime is left with only “capitulation or war."

The grave warning was signed by former Sens. Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana and Carl Levin, a Democrat from Michegan, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The letter argues that Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran deal in May has put the two countries on dangerous course to war.

“The Trump Administration’s Iran strategy is to assert maximum economic, political and military pressure to change Iran’s behavior and threaten, if not cause, collapse of the regime. But since it has not undertaken diplomatic engagement on any of its twelve demands on Iran, the Administration has left Iran the option of either capitulation or war,” the letter states.

"The Administration’s suggested policy of regime change in Iran reflects wishful thinking and a flawed interpretation of intelligence about Iran’s vulnerability," the signatories wrote. "The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq remains a striking reminder of our inability to estimate accurately the long-term impact of U.S. actions."

In recent days Iran has threatened the U.S. with “devastating” revenge after it blamed the country for a deadly attack on a Revolutionary Guards parade. The deputy head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards warned U.S. and Israeli leaders on Monday to expect a "devastating" response from Tehran, accusing them of involvement in an attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz.

"You have seen our revenge before ... You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating and you will regret what you have done," Hossein Salami said in a speech before the funeral of the victims broadcast live on the state television.

Thousands of people packed the streets of the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz to mourn the victims of Saturday's assault that killed 25 people, including 12 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards.

Many chanted "death to Israel and America."

The coffins, wrapped in the flag of the Islamic Republic, were carried by the mourners. Many held pictures of a four year old boy killed in the attack, one of the worst against the most powerful military force of the Islamic Republic.

Four assailants fired on a viewing stand in Ahvaz where Iranian officials had gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic's 1980-88 war with Iraq.

Soldiers crawled on the street to avoid bullets. Women and children fled for their lives.