Foreign and Defense Policy

U.S. and Iran to Establish Military Hotline?

A September 19 story in the Wall Street Journal indicated that U.S. officials might be interested in establishing a hotline to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces. This would, they argue, reduce the danger of incidents in the Persian Gulf. According to the article, the idea emerged following “a series of ‘near-miss’ encounters between American and Iranian forces.”

In a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad didn’t reject the idea outright, but the Islamic Republic’s real response came yesterday.

Ali Fadavi, Revolutionary Guards Navy chief, said in an interview, “Iran has direct and close relations with all the countries of the region, but where is the position of the Americans in this region?” Fadavi humorously added, “Whenever we go to the Gulf of Mexico we will establish direct relations with the United States.” After calling the United States a “scared thief,” “concerned about the defensive and deterrent powers of Iran,” Fadavi concluded that “the only way of ending their concerns is to leave the region.”

Let Fadavi’s comments serve as a sobering reminder to U.S. policy makers that Cold War logic doesn’t always apply to the Islamic Republic. Under present circumstances, the Revolutionary Guards have an interest in continued tensions between Iran and the United States. The incidents that U.S. officials are trying to avoid are considered desirable by the Guards.

2 thoughts on “U.S. and Iran to Establish Military Hotline?

  1. A key point to notice is the IRGCN chief regards the US proposal to set up a hot line as a sign of weakness, i.e., as a favor we are asking of the Iranians because we are “scared.” This fits in with the general line coming out of Iran. Unless the Iranians become convinced that an incident in the Gulf could have serious negative consequences for them, they aren’t likely to be interested in this proposal. Given the IRGC’s interest in tension with the US, those consequences would probably have to be serious indeed.

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