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Current stage of standoff between US, Iran not over yet, Japanese expert warns

The pundit did not rule out that clashes between the US and Iran could occur in the future

TOKYO, January 9. /TASS/. The current stage of confrontation between Washington and Tehran is not over yet, and, if the United States really wanted to avoid escalation, it would not have killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, Yutaka Takaoka, chief research fellow at the Middle East Research Institute of Japan, told TASS on Thursday.

"US President [Donald Trump]’s speech last night was not substantive. It seems that there is a sense of relief now, since the United States did not react fervently [to Iran’s strikes on military facilities in Iraq — TASS]. However, I would not be so optimistic. If [the US] wanted to avoid confrontation, it would not have killed Soleimani in the first place," the expert stressed.

He also did not rule out that clashes between the US and Iran could occur in the future. "I cannot give an optimistic forecast that everything ended after yesterday’s statement by Trump and Iran’s reaction [to Soleimani’s murder — TASS]," he added.

Tensions around Iran flared up after the US launched a strike on Baghdad’s airport on January 3 killing General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force. On January 8, Iran retaliated by launching missile strikes on two military facilities in Iraq used by the United States. According to the Pentagon’s spokesperson, Al-Asad Air Base and the airport of Erbil were targeted.

US President Donald Trump addressed the nation at the White House on Wednesday saying that the US was ready to embrace peace with Iran and was hoping that Tehran would live in harmony with all states around the world. At the same time, Trump announced that new "punishing sanctions" would be imposed on Iran.