Iran, Washington and the Emperor’s New Clothes

The June 20th shooting down of an American drone by Iran is a story that keeps on giving.  According to the White House, on June 20, 2019, Iran shot down a U.S. drone that was in international airspace, a "fact" that is strongly disputed by Iran.  According to President Trump, the United States was prepared for a retaliatory strike on June 21, 2019 that he personally called off 19 minutes before the attack was to be launched because he was concerned about the potential deaths of 150 Iranians.  Apparently, there is more to the story as you will see in this posting.  

Here is an article from the July 7, 2019 edition of Iran Front Page:

This story was also reported by Sky News' Arabic language website:

Here is the key part of the translation into English:

"The United States sent a letter to Tehran after the plane was shot down in the Gulf, warning it of a limited strike, the Fars news agency quoted the commander of Iran's civil defense organization Gholamreza Jalali as saying on Sunday.

"After the downing of its infiltrating march, the United States told us through diplomatic intermediaries that it wanted to carry out a limited operation," said Jalali, who is also a senior commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.  "But Iran's response was that we consider any operation to start a war," Jalali said."

Here is additional coverage of this story from the Tehran Times:

From what we are to understand from Iranian sources, the United States used diplomatic channels (apparently through Oman) that it wanted to carry out "a limited strike against the country in order to save face after Iran shot down its drone."  This strike would have been carried out in an "unimportant and deserted region" so that the United States could "save face".  It was only the threat by Tehran that any operation by the United States would be regarded as the beginning of a war that stopped America in its tracks.  This is a particularly pertinent point given that Donald Trump is facing re-election in 16 months and it may be difficult to explain yet another war to his voting base.

To further complicate an already complicated story, according to Fars News Agency on July 9, 2019, IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh stated that Iranian forces could have shot down an American military P8 aircraft which was accompanying the drone into Iranian airspace. The P8 had 35 servicemen on board.  Iran elected not to shoot down the P8 because their "aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the US.".

While I realize that this is a classic case of "he said, he said", what if the Iranian version is true?  The entire saga about calling off the strike because of the potential deaths of 150 Iranians unravels and becomes a case of "the emperor's new clothes".  American voters beware, the foundation of Washington's anti-Iran narrative is certainly less solid than it appears to be.

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