FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON– Trita Parsi, Executive Vice President of Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, released the following response to the assassination of Qassem Soleimani yesterday.
“Soleimani was an enemy of the United States, but his assassination will make America less safe, not more.
America benefits from reduced tensions with Iran. With this assasination, Trump has instead inflamed these tensions. From the very moment Trump entered the White House, he claimed his escalatory steps would deter his enemies. But withdrawing from the JCPOA and imposing maximum pressure has only done the opposite.
When the US struck an Iraqi Shia militia earlier this week, it didn’t deter Iran, instead, it begot attacks on the US embassy. It is difficult to imagine the assassination of Soleimani not begetting a major response from Iran.
The only time Shia militias in Iraq did not target Americans was when the US and Iran were engaged in nuclear negotiations and when that agreement was being implemented. Diplomacy makes America safer, assassinations and escalation do the opposite.
Several former US officials have described the assassination of Soleimani as an “act of war.” That may explain why the US didn’t not take this action years ago. Although the US could likely have killed Soleimani years ago and certainly resented him plenty enough to do so, we did not because we didn’t have a desire for war.
We would not be in this perilous situation had it not been for Trump’s reckless withdrawal from the JCPOA. Trump pursued a maximum pressure strategy and burnt all off-ramps along the way. Maximum pressure has gotten America maximum tensions with no exit strategy.
The biggest risk for the US may not be Iran’s response. It may be that other elements, who Iran may not control, may start targeting the US. So even if both Washington and Tehran seek de-escalation, they may not be able to ensure that others don’t add fuel to the fire.
Trump talks about ending the endless wars and leaving the Middle East. In reality, he may have just started another endless and unwinnable war and ensured that America will remain trapped in the Middle East for decades to come.”