The election of Donald Trump has led to unease in the Middle East over threats to peace in the region and any war would lead to the destruction of Israel and the Gulf states, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan warned Sunday.
His remarks came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier Sunday that he would work with Trump to dismantle the nuclear agreement with Iran, signed last year over Israel’s fierce criticism of the pact.
Trump said during the campaign he would tear up the nuclear deal, calling it a “disastrous” and one of the worst agreements in history and has vowed to take a harder line with Tehran.
This has led to concern among the Iranians and in the wider region, Dehghan indicated.
“Even though a businessman, the assistants that … (Trump) has chosen may map a different path for him, and this has led to unease, particularly among Persian Gulf countries,” Dehghan said at a security conference in Tehran, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.
“Considering Trump’s character and that he measures the cost of everything in dollars, it does not seem likely that he would take strong action against our country,” he said, but “enemies may want to impose a war on us based on false calculations and only taking into consideration their material capabilities.”
“Such a war would mean the destruction of the Zionist regime (Israel) … and will engulf the whole region and could lead to a world war,” Mehr quoted Dehghan as saying.
Iran has long backed armed groups committed to Israel’s destruction and its leaders have called for it to be wiped off the map. Israel fears that Iran’s nuclear program is designed to threaten its existence.
“Among other consequences of the war,” Dehgan added, “would be the destruction of the city-states on the southern shore of the Persian Gulf, because they lack popular support,” in reference to small Western-allied Gulf states such as the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.
In a wide-ranging interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, Netanyahu said it was not too late to undo the nuclear deal that was the landmark foreign policy achievement of President Barack Obama, noting that he would present Trump with five alternatives to the accord, without elaborating,
However, his pick for Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, is opposed to rescinding the accord.