The US Department of defense believes that the use of military force against Iran would require a consensus of the world community, but reserves the right to unilateral retaliatory actions in the event of a strike by Tehran on American citizens or objects. This was stated on Tuesday at a meeting with a group of journalists by Deputy Chairman of the Committee of chiefs of staff of the Armed forces of the United States General Paul Selva, commenting on the growing tensions between Washington and Tehran after the incident in the Gulf of Oman.
“It seems to me, there is the role of the Armed forces in the protection of [the principle of] freedom of the seas. The question will be to what extent the international community will support this role. I am not saying that we [the US] do not have a significant role in this space. Nevertheless, an international consensus would be needed before a force could be used. With one specific caveat: if the Iranians put at risk the citizens, funds or Armed forces of the United States, we reserve the right to respond with military action. And they [Iranians] need to know this, it should be absolutely clear,” the commander said.
In his view, Iran currently mistakenly believes that the United States will leave unanswered possible actions of Tehran against Washington. “The Iranians believe that we will not respond <...> “Our [American] track record in the region includes what we [in the past] threatened to respond and did not respond, this is a fair assessment,” Selva said.
“On the part of the Iranians – he warned – it would be a miscalculation to think that this situation will continue.” In this regard, Washington through Iraq, Switzerland, which represents the interests of the United States in Tehran, as well as through public statements signals to Iran about the inadmissibility of any attacks against American forces in the Middle East. According to the information he provided, such signals are transmitted including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (elite units of the Iranian armed forces). More detail on this expense Selva to speak refused.