Tehran and Washington haven't had formal diplomatic relations since the Iranian Islamic Revolution deposed the Shah back in 1980. And according to one senior official with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps., there's good reason for that.
Negotiating with the US, said IRGC Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, is like "negotiating with the devil," and negotiating with the devil, as the Quran says, "bears no fruit." Fadavi was quoted by Iran's Fars News agency during a discussion of the longstanding rupture in diplomatic relations between the two countries. Last month, President Trump designated the IRGC a "foreign terrorist organization."
Fadavi went on to denounce the growing American military presence in the region as the "weakest in its history," and added that the influence of Iran's regional arch-rival Saudi Arabia was "the weakest in its history," according to RT.
Because of unspecified "credible" threats involving Iran, the Pentagon has been steadily expanding its military presence in the region. The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, stationed near the Persian Gulf, was recently joined by three guided-missile destroyers. A B-52 bomber squadron is on alert at a base in nearby Qatar, and Trump has reportedly signed off on a plan to send another 1,500 troops to the region to reinforce the American presence in Iraq, as well as a dozen fighter jets and a drone fleet.
Washington has claimed that its latest show of force has helped stave off the Iranian threat and deterred attacks, according to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
But as long as Iran is threatening to start stockpiling enriched uranium again, it's unlikely Washington will back down. Europe, Russia and China have tried to mediate the conflict, but with both sides growing ever-more-belligerent, the prospect of a full-on military conflict looms larger by the day.