An open letter to Trump on US tensions with Iran

TEHRAN, May 25 (MNA) – 76 retired US generals and diplomats warned US President Donald Trump against war with Iran in an open letter.

US President Donald Trump often says he listens to military generals more than anyone else, and, as the White House prepares to send 1,500 soldiers to the Middle East, that claim is being tested by a Friday letter from the American College of National Security Leaders. 

The letter, which is signed by 76 retired generals, admirals, ambassadors, and diplomats, was published Friday morning by War on the Rocks. The letter asks the administration not to pursue war with Iran, mainly for strategic reasons.

"A war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East," reads the letter, "and drag the United States into another armed conflict at immense financial, human, and geopolitical cost."

It's unclear if Trump has seen the letter, but if so he appears to be rejecting the advice. On Friday, he announced he was sending 1,500 soldiers to the Middle East as part of what the president termed a "protective" move.

Trump and his team must work to avoid conflict, the letter argues, not the least because higher tensions between the two countries could quickly get out of hand.

"As national security professionals with extensive careers in the US armed forces and diplomatic service, we have witnessed first-hand how quickly disputes can spiral out of control," the letter says. "The lack of direct communication between US and Iranian political and military leaders during a time of heightened rhetoric only increases the possibility of a miscalculation resulting in unintended military conflict."

The letter ends with a call to the president to use his powers to push for peaceful solutions to the dispute.

"Crisis de-escalation measures should be established with the Iranian leadership at the senior levels of government as a prelude to exploratory diplomacy on matters of mutual concern," the letter reads. "The protection of US national interests in the Middle East and the safety of our friends and allies require thoughtful statesmanship and aggressive diplomacy rather than unnecessary armed conflict."

On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a statement that the Trump administration has invoked a seldom used provision in federal law to sidestep Congress and complete arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan, amounting to approximately $8.1 billion, citing "threats" from Iran. The decision has drawn severe objections from US lawmakers.

MNA/PR

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