Tensions between the US and the Middle East have rocketed amid a war-of-words between Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and his counterpart Donald Trump.

The rivalry, which dates back nearly 40 years, was reignited in May when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear accord.

The agreement was designed to stop Tehran’s nuclear weapon production in return for an easing of harsh economic sanctions.

Despite the financial penalties, Iran has sent weapons and thousands of soldiers to Syria to help prop up President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, but relied on Russia for aerial support due to its own lack of a powerful air force.

Iran’s air force has been limited to perhaps a few dozen strike aircraft using either Russian or ageing US models acquired before the 1979 Iranian revolution, according to Reuters.

Today a ceremony broadcast by state TV included the fly-past of a new home-made fighter jet called Kowsar, which is capable of carrying various weapons, and will be used for short aerial support missions.

The fighter jet is capable of flying at an altitude of 45,000ft with the speed of Mach 1.2, according to reports.

And the diplomacy crisis spiralled as Rouhani said the Islamic Republic’s military prowess was stopping Washington from attacking and he claimed America was even becoming isolated from its own allies.

Rouhani said in a live speech on Wednesday: “We should make ourselves ready to fight against the military powers who want to take over our territory and our resources.

“Why does the United States not attack us?

“Because of our power, because it knows the consequences.”

Recently, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said the United States would avoid any military confrontation with Tehran because of Iranian military might.

Khamenei also rejected Trump’s offer of unconditional talks on a new nuclear deal.

Yesterday Trump responded: “If they want to meet, that’s fine, and if they don’t want to meet, I couldn’t care less.”

Trump branded the 2015 nuclear deal as flawed because it did not address Iran’s missile programme or involvement in conflicts in Syria and Yemen, and he reimposed US economic sanctions.

Rouhani compared the sanctions on Iran with the US trade war with China and its new tariffs on some imports from Turkey and European countries.

Trump had a well-documented social media rant at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who he labelled “weak and dishonest”, as they disagreed over trade at the G7 summit.

Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes which have barred it from importing many weapons.

Rouhani warned the Commander-in-Chief that a conflict would Iran would be the “mother of all wars”.

Trump replied on Twitter: “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history has suffered before.”

It emerged the US has a “shock and awe” plan in the terrifying event of an actual conflict with Iran.

The planning suggests US bombers and long range missiles would be ready in “hours” to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in just one fell swoop.

And the close proximity of US forces in the Middle East will allow them to “devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice”.

Source » dailystar