ISRAEL and small Gulf Arab states would be completely destroyed in a war between the US and Iran that has grown increasingly likely after the election of Donald Trump.
That is the view of Iran’s defence minister, who said on Sunday a new world war was looming after Mr Trump was crowned president-elect last month.
But Hossein Dehghan, who has his finger on Iran’s missile system, added a caveat to his warning – he said that the New York property tycoon was primarily driven by money and Mr Trump may be put off sparking a fresh global conflict as it would cost the US trillions of dollars.
In candid remarks quoted by Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency, the defence chief said: “Enemies may want to impose a war on us based on false calculations and only taking into consideration their material capabilities.
“Such a war would mean the destruction of the Zionist regime [Israel] and will engulf the whole region and could lead to a world war.”
Referring to small Western-allied Gulf states such as the United Arab Emirates (home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai) as well as Bahrain and Qatar, Mr Dehghan said: “Among other consequences of the war, would be the destruction of the city-states on the southern shore of the Persian Gulf, because they lack popular support.”
Speaking at a security conference in Tehran, he added: “Even though a businessman, the assistants that [Trump] has chosen may map a different path for him, and this has led to unease, particularly among Persian Gulf countries.
“Considering Trump’s character and that he measures the cost of everything in dollars, it does not seem likely that he would take strong action against our country.”
Iran is an arch-enemy of Israel and Tehran and most Gulf states are on opposite sides in Middle East conflicts, with the Islamic republic an ally of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.
Mr Trump’s election victory has raised the prospect the United States will pull out of a nuclear pact it signed last year with Iran.
Barack Obama hailed the agreement as a way to suspend Tehran’s suspected drive to develop atomic weapons.
But Mr Trump has called the nuclear pact a “disaster” and “the worst deal ever negotiated” and has signalled he will take a harder line on Iran.