Former NATO chief: Tensions with Iran highest in 30 years

Former NATO chief: Tensions with Iran highest in 30 years
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Former NATO Supreme Commander Adm. James Stavridis said in an interview airing Sunday that tensions between the U.S. and Iran are the highest he has ever seen.

In an interview with AM 970's "The Answer" in New York, Stavridis compared the recent actions of Iran's government, including the downing of a U.S. spy drone, to those of North Korea's Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnCan we do business with Kim Jong Un? Leadership analysis might give clues Hong Kong protests present Trump, Xi with painful choices North Korea launches missile tests, insults South Korean president MORE.

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“Tensions are higher than I’ve seen them in 30 years in the Arabian Gulf between the US and Iran," Stavridis told host John Catsimatidis. "Essentially Iran is lashing out with bad behavior, much like Kim Jong-unKim Jong UnCan we do business with Kim Jong Un? Leadership analysis might give clues Hong Kong protests present Trump, Xi with painful choices North Korea launches missile tests, insults South Korean president MORE of North Korea does."

Stavridis also predicted that U.S. forces and Iran's military were likely headed for conflict unless Iran's government returned to the negotiating table.

"The strikes, I think, are on hold at the moment," Stavridis said, referring to reports that the White House had called off a military strike on Iran at the last moment. "But Iran needs to understand that this Administration is very serious about wanting to change Iranian behavior. Until [Iran] changes course, they are headed for a collision.”

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“I think [the president's decision] allows a moment for both sides to realize that we’re headed into a true confrontation which could result in ships sinking," the admiral continued. 

"Could result in the closing of the Strait of Hormuz. Neither side has an interest in doing that," he said. "I hope the Iranians will take advantage of the fact that the President held back and will come to negotiate with [Iran], which is an offer the President correctly put on the table.”

The admiral's comments come as the White House confirmed reports that Iranian forces downed a U.S. spy drone in the vicinity of a manned U.S. plane, which Trump called a wise decision.

“There was a plane with 38 people yesterday. Did you see that? I think that's a big story. They had it in their sights, and they didn't shoot it down. I think they were very wise not to do that. And we appreciate that they didn't do that. I think that was a very wise decision,” Trump said on Saturday.

Trump reportedly called off retaliatory strikes on Iran over the drone's downing after learning that as many as 150 Iranians could be killed in the attack.