Thursday 22 February 2018

It's crucial that president stands firm after warning to sabre-rattling Iranians

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Con Coughlin

Iran has been officially "put on notice" by the White House for its bellicose conduct. Yet there appears to be scant evidence the warning has made the slightest impression on the ayatollahs. On the contrary, all the indications suggest Tehran is determined to provoke a confrontation as it continues to escalate its policy of undermining Western interests throughout the Arab world.

The most visible demonstration of Iranian sabre-rattling was the recent test-firing of two ballistic missiles emblazoned with the slogan "Israel should be wiped off the Earth". President Trump responded by warning that Iran was "playing with fire", while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used his meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street this week to call for fresh sanctions to be imposed on Iran.

Yet, provocative though they might be, the missile tests, which breach the spirit of the nuclear deal Iran agreed with Barack Obama in 2015, are the tip of the iceberg in terms of the far greater threat Iran poses to regional stability.

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