The U.S. used Swiss intermediaries to send Iran secret messages about retaliation and further provoking Trump

The New York Times has an excellent article titled, “Seven Days in January: How Trump Pushed U.S. and Iran to the Brink of War.” As the title suggests, the article is about Trump’s self-created Iran Crisis. It begins with Trump’s decision to assassinate Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani and details the events leading up to it. It also talks about how the U.S. used Swiss intermediaries to deliver messages to Iran.

Suleimani’s plane was scheduled to take off from Damascus to Baghdad at 7:30 p.m. but was late because Suleimani had not arrived. This worried Trump’s ‘kill team’ causing some to want to call it off.

Right before the plane doors closed, a motorcade transporting Suleiman pulled up on the tarmac and he boarded the plane. Three hours late, Flight 6Q501 finally took off for Baghdad.

Suleimani was the first to exit the plane and was greeted by “Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi official in charge of militias and close to Iran. Two cars carrying the group headed into the night — shadowed by American MQ-9 Reaper drones. At 12:47, the first of several missiles smashed into the vehicles, engulfing them in flames and leaving 10 charred bodies inside.”

The assassination “plunged the world into seven days of roiling uncertainty” with Iran determined to seek revenge and an angry but emboldened Trump issuing even more threats against the country.

With the world on high alert and poised for real, imminent threats and disaster, the United States used Swiss intermediaries to urge Iran not to retaliate so strongly that it would provoke and anger Trump even more so.

After Iran retaliated “firing 16 missiles at bases housing American troops without hurting anyone as a relatively harmless show of force, a message came back through the Swiss saying that would be the end of its reprisal for now. The message, forwarded to Washington within five minutes after it was received, persuaded Trump to stand down.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Saturday morning that the Trump administration also sent an encrypted fax to Iran just hours after killing Soleimani, warning not to escalate.

The message set off several days’ worth of communications between the two countries, using Swiss intermediaries. The Swiss embassy in Tehran has been used by the American government to communicate with Iran since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

“We don’t communicate with the Iranians that much, but when we do the Swiss have played a critical role to convey messages and avoid miscalculation,” one senior US official told The Journal.

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