Iran’s recent attacks on tankers and the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone appear to be part of an effort to change “the status quo,” the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) told Fox News Sunday.
“I’d say that they’re probably at an inflection point right now,” the director, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr., explained in his first national TV interview as the leader of the nearly 17-thousand strong agency.
Director Ashley said, based on their activity over the last several years, the Iranians would probably say they were in a “favorable” position with their influence over the Iraqi government and the likelihood their longtime regional ally — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — will remain in power. But, Director Ashley said the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran deal and subsequent sanctions made a major impact on the regime.
His comments come as President Trump has promised to impose new sanctions against Iran on Monday on top of what has already been a crippling campaign for the Islamic nation’s economy.
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Trump said he does not wish to go to war with Iran but warned an armed conflict would bring “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.” An Iranian military official warned Monday that Tehran is capable of shooting down more American spy drones.
Over the weekend, Sen. Corey Booker reiterated what many experts from both sides of the aisle believe to be true: Iran is months away from being nuclear ready.