Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei holds a meeting with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, Iran.

Has the Die Been Cast? Middle East Prepares for Possible US-Iran Showdown (AUDIO INTERVIEW)

Region on edge as US deploys 1,500 soldiers to the Gulf

Amid rising tensions in the Middle East, US President Donald Trump struck a conciliatory tone on Monday by calling on Iran to return to the negotiating table. His appeal came just days after threatening to annihilate the Islamic Republic if it harms American interests.

“I do believe that Iran would like to talk, and if they’d like to talk, we’d like to talk also,” Trump said.

Concurrently, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was meeting his counterpart in Iraq, where he reiterated that Tehran would “defend against any war efforts” with strength.

In neighboring Saudi Arabia, the air force reportedly shot down an explosive-laden drone deployed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack an airport near the shared border. It was the third time in as many days that the Houthis targeted Najran airport, which allegedly houses weapons storage facilities as well as a US-made Patriot anti-missile defense battery.

The foiled plot follows two Iranian-inspired attacks earlier this month on Saudi oil and shipping assets, and the recent firing of a missile into Baghdad’s Green Zone, where the US embassy is located.

So has the die been cast? Is war inevitable? The Media Line discussed the issue with Professor Eyal Zisser, Vice Rector of Tel Aviv University and the holder of its Yona and Dina Ettinger Chair in Contemporary History of the Middle East.

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