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Iran's Strategic Calculus: No Direct Engagement in Regional Conflicts

Recent events in the Red Sea, involving attacks on commercial ships and subsequent airstrikes by the United States and Britain, have heightened concerns about the possibility of a broader regional conflict. However, amid the escalating tensions, Iran appears to be exercising caution and avoiding direct involvement in an all-out war.


The Houthi rebels in Yemen, aligned with Iran, have vowed to respond to attacks by the United States and Britain. The airstrikes in the Red Sea have further internationalized the conflict, with Iran's allies staging attacks from Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Despite the potential for regional escalation, Iran seems determined to stay out of a direct, all-encompassing war.


As the Gaza war prolongs, the risks of escalation and a broader regional conflagration increase. However, analysts note that Iran is unlikely to directly enter the conflict unless it faces direct targeting on its own soil. Tehran's reluctance to be directly involved is rooted in a strategic calculation to avoid unnecessary risks and potential retaliation.


Saudi Arabia, a key Persian Gulf state, has called for restraint and avoiding escalation in the region. The absence of Saudi Arabia's name from a list of countries forming a naval coalition to protect Red Sea shipping from the Houthis indicates a delicate diplomatic balance. Better ties between Persian Gulf states and Iran contribute to shielding them from tensions, highlighting a nuanced regional dynamic.


While Iran supports a network of allies known as the "Axis of Resistance" across the region, Tehran is careful not to be directly involved. Despite backing the Houthi cause, senior Iranian officials emphasize that Tehran does not seek an all-out war in the region. The responsibility to halt aggression is placed on Israel and the United States.


Though the US accuses Iran of operational involvement in Houthi attacks, analysts suggest that Tehran remains wary of direct exposure to potential retaliation. While various Iranian proxies may respond in different regions, a major escalation from Iran itself is considered unlikely. As the situation evolves, Iran's role and its commitment to regional stability will undoubtedly continue to shape the dynamics of the ongoing conflicts.



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