After an Israeli ship launched a retaliatory strike against an Iranian ship in the Red Sea this week, University of Montana History Professor Mehrdad Kia provided his evaluation of the attack.

“This is a major event,” said Professor Kia. “U.S. officials informed the New York Times that Israel had notified the United States that Israeli forces attacked the Iranian ship at around 7:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday, and Israel has called it basically a retaliation, because Iran had attacked an Israeli ship in the Persian Gulf.”

Kia was particularly aware of the timing of Israel’s attack, considering actions by the new Biden Administration.

“What is very interesting, and I hope we appreciate this as well, is that this is taking place exactly on the same day that Iran and the United States began indirect talks in Vienna about restarting the nuclear deal which President Trump had thrown out and President Biden is trying to revive,” he said.

Kia, who is of Persian descent, keeps a sharp eye open to any news that might upset the delicate balance of power in the Middle East.

“This might also be a signal from Israel to the United States that while you're trying to appease Iran, we have no interest in following you,” he said. “We will pursue our own foreign policy vis-à-vis your country (Iran) which has bases in Syria and is threatening the existence of the Jewish state.”

Kia said that the conflict between Israel and Iran has been going on for decades, mostly under the radar.

“I think that there has been a low level war between Israel and Iran,” he said. “I think that the attack by Iranians against Saudi targets and against the Israeli ship, and now the response from Israel, will only escalate the tensions in the region and will now result in more confrontations,” he said.

Professor Kia appears once a month on the KGVO Talk Back program with episodes called ‘Global Hot Spots’, where he provides discussion on areas of conflict around the world.


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