On February 4, 2017, a few hours after the US announced the imposition of a new round of sanctions against Iran, US new Secretary of Defence James Mattis called Iran “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world” in a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, in his most detailed remarks on Iran since taking over the Pentagon, according to a report by IFP.
This is while, following his remarks, Mattis, who has once (in 2005) been forced to apologize for his impolite and scornful comments about Afghan men, ensured that he is not considering hiking the number of US forces in the Middle East to address Iran’s “misbehaviour” at this time, according Reuters.
He was apparently trying to modify remarks made by President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on Wednesday (February 1, 2017) who had condemned Iran’s recent ballistic missile test, calling it a “provocative” breach of a UN Security Council resolution and officially warning Iranian officials that “as of today, we [the US] are officially putting Iran on notice”, CNN reported.
Mattis added, “I don’t see any need to increase the number of forces we have in the Middle East at this time. That’s not in the cards right now,” he said. “We always have the capability to do so. But right now I don’t think it’s necessary.”
This is while, Flynn’s unexpected Wednesday remarks concerning Iran, were met with widespread international reactions. Following Flynn’s comments, Iranian military and political officials, including Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi and Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the second-in-command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), underlined Iran’s military preparedness to defend itself [against foreign invasions].
Mattis, who due to his bellicose background is also known as ‘Mad Dog’, has always adopted hostile approaches and stances towards Iran since 1980. According to a report by Politico, this has worried senior US officials. Mattis’ belligerent and hostile stance towards Iran made the former president of the US, Barack Obama, to sack him from his former post, as the head of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), and force him into announcing retirement.