According to the head of the US Central Command, Washington should start to use “military means” against Iran, which is “the greatest long-term threat to stability” in the Middle East.
The US needs to consider opportunities of usage of “military means” against Iran, as the country is “destabilizing” the region, using “lethal aid facilitation,” as well as “surrogate forces” and cyber operations, head of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Joseph Votel, said on Wednesday, speaking before the House Armed Services Committee. Earlier, Votel called Tehran “the greatest long-term threat to stability” in the Middle East.
“I believe that Iran is operating in what I call a gray zone, and it’s an area between normal competition between states – and it’s just short of open conflict,” Votel said.
“We need to look at opportunities where we can disrupt [Iran] through military means or other means their activities,” he added. “We need to look at opportunities where we can expose and hold them accountable for the things that they are doing.”
In his speech, the US General also mentioned the recent surge in Iran-US military encounters in the Persian Gulf and noted that his team was “paying extraordinarily close attention” to the issue. Vessels of the US Navy have been several times forced to change their course due to actions of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Navy. The last of such encounters occurred earlier this month, when a ship of the US Navy and three boats of the British Royal Navy went off their course and came within 550 meters of IRGC vessels.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump accused Iran of supporting terrorism and said that “nothing is off the table” in terms of a response to the country’s defensive missile program. The US President also noted that his administration formally put Tehran “on notice” over its missile test.