by Hassan Rouhvand
TEHRAN, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The recent military build-up by the U.S. regional forces has increased danger of conflicts between Tehran and Washington and has worried regional and international players.
The United States has deployed warships and bombers to the Iranian southern waters, and has reduced the number of its diplomats and employees in Iraq, citing intelligence about potential threats to U.S. nationals by Iran or its allies.
Besides, the U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he had decided to send 1,500 more troops to the restive Middle East region.
Basically, the tension between Tehran and Washington began to develop when Trump decided to pull the U.S. out of the Iranian nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018.
Washington cited the Iranian nuclear deal as "flawed," claiming that it did not address a number of major issues pertaining to the nuclear activities of Iran as well as its arms development and regional role.
Washington seeks to seal a new nuclear deal with Iran, to further curb Iran's nuclear program, stop Iran ballistic missile development and halt Iran's push for influence in the region.
Now, Iran is under unprecedented sanctions on its economy, which were reimposed by the U.S. administration following Trump's quit from the nuclear pact. The sanctions had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord.
Iran has warned that it might not abide by some of the restrictions on its nuclear activities if its economic interests are not honored by the signatories of the deal.
On May 8, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani announced Tehran's withdrawal from complying with the restrictions posed by the JCPOA on the country's enriched uranium reserves and heavy water supplies.
Rouhani also set a 60-day deadline for the remaining parties to the deal to fulfill their obligations, particularly in preserving Iran's interests in the areas of banking and oil.
He threatened that Iran might increase the level of uranium enrichment and start modernizing its heavy water reactor.
Tehran's decision to suspend some of its nuclear deal commitments was meant to give time to Europeans to comply with their obligations and to bring the international agreement back on its right track, said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
Accordingly, the U.S. president vowed to maintain policy of maximum pressure against Iran.
"Much now depends upon the dynamics inside the Trump administration and also on Tehran's assessment of what is going on there," Jonathan Marcus, a diplomatic correspondent, said.
Despite the escalating tensions and military reinforcements in the region, the leaders on both sides have stressed that they are not interested in war.
Saadallah Zarei, an Iranian expert on international affairs, said "there is no indication that the United States is seeking war with the Islamic republic."
"As a matter of fact, there are many reasons why the United States refrains from military clashes with Iran," said Zarei.
The Iranian expert cited deterrent power of the Iranian armed forces as an elemental factor for disinclination of Washington to engage in any military conflict with Iran.
Trump has indicated that he has more enthusiasm in dialogue than in war over the foreign frictions.
Besides, Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, in his recent trip to Russia, said that his country "fundamentally" did not seek a conflict with Iran. However, he added that the United States would "certainly respond in an appropriate fashion" if U.S. interests were attacked.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, former head of National Security Commission of Iran' Parliament, said Saturday that the United States would not engage in military clashes with Iran.
The U.S. officials are well aware that any incident in this sensitive region will cause a big problem for the world's economy and will hit the U.S. economy as well, Boroujerdi said.
"So, I do not think that the United States will make such a mistake," he added.
In the meantime, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that Trump "does not want war, but the people around him are pushing him towards war under the pretext of making America stronger against Iran."
By far, the most important remarks inside Iran came from the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier this month, when he ruled out the possibility of a war between Tehran and Washington despite the rising tensions that have fueled worries about an armed conflict between the two rivals.
"We don't want a war, nor do they," said Khamenei.
Also, the Iranian officials have not excluded the possibility of talks with the United States, but they have stressed that negotiations should not be carried out under the U.S. "coercive policies and sanction pressures."
Over the past weeks, delegations from Oman, Iraq and Germany visited Iran, seeking to pave the ground for the negotiations between Tehran and Washington before it is late.
"One thing should be clear. There is no drift towards war," Marcus said, commenting on Iran-U.S. friction.