The Hot War In Iran – Implications For International Relations

The recent actions of United States President Donald Trump have left the relations between the U.S. and Iran in turmoil.

Their relationship hit its breaking point after the successful U.S.-led assassination of Iranian Military Commander Qassem Soleimani, as a result of the inflated state of tension between the two nations. This can be attributed to Trump’s withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, in addition to Iranian airstrikes akin to that which led to the death of an American contractor last month. News of Soleimani’s death sent shock waves across the nation, resulting in the country declaring three days of national mourning.

In response to U.S. actions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered air strike attacks to be carried out against U.S. military bases in Iraq, reminding us that violence breeds violence. The BBC highlighted this in an article which explained how a Ukrainian jet was mistakenly shot down. Incidents like these have the potential to damage Iran’s relations with other countries in the West, which some argue adds substance to their claims of a potential World War. Given the large amount of the weapons that leaders currently have at their disposal, this is to be avoided at all costs. For this reason, foreign policy experts such as journalist Barbara Slavin universally disagree with Trump’s display of military violence, calling it a “stunningly stupid and counterproductive” act.

As a precautionary measure, Donald Trump has called upon British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for their support in ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. Despite being a long-standing ally of the United States, Boris Johnson expressed that he would not be backing the U.S. plans to bomb Iranian heritage sites – rather, he has advocated for tensions to be de-escalated. Because of this, we can see how the United States’ recent decision could potentially harm their relationship with one of its strongest allies.

The conflict has also placed Saudi Arabia in an undesirable position. Jackie Northam, a correspondent of International Affairs for the National Public Radio (NPR), hinted that Saudi Arabia and Iran had been beginning to de-escalate tensions that have arisen due to competition for regional dominance. Any advancement with regard to this matter may for now be postponed, due to Saudi Arabia’s strong alliance with the U.S. since Trump’s election win. Hence, we can begin to see how the conflict has larger implications in regard to international relations. Namely how it endangers current alliances in the West and peace within the Middle East.

Nevertheless, Trump states that Iran appears to be ‘standing down.’ If that is the case, it could be that the climax of the conflict has already seen the light of day. Yet, it is still crucial that the senators of the White House work with Trump to employ more peaceful strategies which would  reduce the number of casualties, for now. This seems to be echoed in Trump’s recent speeches where he favours sanctions over military violence. Thus, the possibility of a “World War 3” seems unlikely. However, in order to keep it that way, much work needs to be done – namely prioritizing discussion and strategies for peace needs to remain at the forefront of global leaders’ agendas.

Naomi Richter
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