On Wednesday, a senior Iranian official told the press that World War 3 may be sparked by terror attacks.
According to Iran’s Fars News Agency, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the chairman of Iran’s powerful Expediency Council, spoke of the dangers of the “outbreak of World War 3” in the near future, writes Adam Kredo for Free Beacon.
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World War 3 could be caused by terrorists
“The threat of the outbreak of the third world war by the terrorists is serious,” Rafsanjani reportedly said during a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who visited Tehran this week.
Rafsanjani claimed that the U.S. and its NATO allies are to blame for creating the geopolitical conditions which will lead to World War 3.
“The U.S. and the NATO had invaded Afghanistan to uproot terrorism and narcotics, but we saw that terrorism expanded in the form of the ISIL, Boko Haram and Al-Nusra Front to remote parts of the world from Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he was quoted as saying.
Rafsanjani later demanded that the U.S. and other countries “stop their support for the terrorist groups” in the region. Shia Muslim Iran finds itself a de facto enemy of the U.S. in a variety of ethnic wars throughout the Middle East.
As the U.S. pushes for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran props up his regime, while in Yemen, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are fighting a Sunni Muslim coalition led by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia. One conflict in which Iran and the U.S. are fighting a common enemy is in Iraq, where both sides are working to defeat the Islamic State.
No recognition of Iran’s role in funding terrorist groups
Fars reported that Gentiloni welcomed Rasfajani’s comments. “In my meetings with Iranian and Italian officials I will mention this and I hope that your proposal will be a starting point in inflicting a historical defeat on the terrorists in different human societies,” he reportedly said.
The threat posed by terrorism has also been mentioned by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, although he did not acknowledge Iran’s role in funding groups such as Hezbollah, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S.
“Terrorism and insecurity is an epidemic disease which doesn’t belong to a special region, and efforts should be made to encounter extremism and violence to prevent its spread and we shouldn’t allow any innocent person, regardless of his/her nationality and religion, to become a victim of the terrorist groups,” said Rouhani after a meeting with Gentiloni.
Nuclear deal could affect Iran’s regional influence
The signing of a recent nuclear deal with Iran could bring massive financial rewards for Tehran. If it complies with the terms of the deal, economic sanctions will be lifted and international business will flood into the country. After being shut for business for decades, Iran is a major unexploited market for various different industries.
While the country could play host to a booming market for consumer goods, it will also start selling its oil on the world market once again. The initial flood of Iranian oil will depress prices in the short term, but Tehran will be handed a huge new source of revenue.
The worry among some commentators is that although the deal should prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, it will allow the country to exert an even greater influence over regional affairs due to its vastly increased economic power. World War 3 could break out in the Middle East, due to terrorism or Iranian support for foreign actors.
Various geopolitical flashpoints around the globe
As well as the Middle East, there are other potential areas in which World War 3 could break out. Tensions continue to rise between NATO and Russia in Eastern Europe, with both sides indulging in military exercises and brinkmanship. Should Russia manage to arrest its economic slide, it may prove to be a thorn in the side of the U.S., and a potential adversary in World War 3.
Further East, China is increasingly flexing its muscles in the South China Sea. A recent land-reclamation program has seen Beijing create artificial islands and military bases in the strategic waterway, and armed conflict in China’s backyard could have widespread ramifications as regional alliances draw other countries into the conflict.
In fact it may be argued that the South China Sea has the greatest potential to spark World War 3. The area is vital to China’s strategy to gain more respect in Asia, and demonstrate its growing threat to U.S. global hegemony. The stakes are high, and a potential conflict would be devastating.