James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defense, said very shortly aster the strikes began that the United States was expecting an onslaught of negativity and propaganda from “those that have aligned themselves with the Assad regime”.
And Iran was as predictable as ever.
The US-led strike targeted the chemical weapons infrastructure that the Syrian regime controls. The airstrikes were very precise and the leaders involved in the strike made it very clear that they were pursuing that road of action to dissuade further use of chemical weapons.
Iran, however, made out that the United States was on the same level as terrorist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda
The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, described the American, British and French leaders as “criminals” and slammed them for helping pursue “America’s goals” in the Middle East. He also said that Iran, as it has done previously, will “be present alongside resistance groups”.
Iran’s military also commented on the strikes, with one statement again mentioning that the United States and its European allies are complicit with terrorist groups in the region.
Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, agrees with the statements and claims it is a way for the West to take pressure off the Syrian terror groups.
It is very clear that immediate diplomacy needs to be employed. Trump has already identified Iran as being the biggest threat to peace and security in the region and is very well aware of the plight of the Iranian people who are also victims of the regime.
The United States firstly needs to emphasise that it played a significant role in countering ISIS and regaining the land it had taken. The US must also ensure that Iran does not sweep in and take the land the US got back from ISIS. Essential to this is the need to put a halt to the progression of Iran’s many proxy groups and of course the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The US and the international community need to systematically call Iran out on its belligerence, its support of Assad, its involvement in the use of chemical weapons, its crimes at home, and so on.
Iran needs to be removed from the numerous countries where it is meddling. And most importantly, support needs to be given to the people of Iran who have also called on reime to stop its meddling outside its borders.
The Iranian regime needs to be pressured into responding to questions about its bloody involvement in Syria, Yemen, Beirut and Iraq, to name just a few. It is the Iranian regime that is acting criminally. Not those that are trying to put an end to its campaign of terror.