CENTCOM commander Kenneth McKenzie contended that “Iran’s lack of effective economic or diplomatic levers to counter the U.S. maximum pressure campaign has caused it to resort to pursuing overt and covert military options against the U.S. and our partners. The Iranian regime’s strategy seeks to undermine international and regional support for U.S. policies with attacks and threats against U.S. interests and those of our partners and allies”. He also underscored that “Deterring Iran from its destructive and destabilising activities in the military domain underpins everything we do, and is CENTCOM’s top priority… CENTCOM must work to establish and maintain military deterrence with Iran, notably within the context of the ongoing economic and diplomatic maximum pressure campaign”. McKenzie posited that Iran’s January 2020 missile strikes at Iraqi bases hosting U.S. forces “may set a lower bar for future actions by the regime”, and revealed that “ample intelligence exists indicating the Iranian regime’s desire to continue malign operations”. He further indicated that “CENTCOM’s objective is therefore to posture forces with operational depth in the region to achieve a sustained state of deterrence against Iran’s regime without undue provocation, and to be adaptable to future Iranian threats while the U.S. maximum pressure campaign continues”.
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