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Expert on Iran: ‘We knew there was going to be some pushback’

Iran says it doesn’t want war, but will respond

Local military expert says U.S. is not leaving Middle-East
Local military expert says U.S. is not leaving Middle-East

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Iran is informing the United Nations that it took “a measured and proportionate military response" to the U.S. airstrike that killed its top military commander and "does not seek escalation or war.”

But Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi warned that Tehran would “vigorously” respond to “any further military adventurism against it” and "any aggression.”

As the U.S. and Iran appear to have stopped military moves against one another, some wonder whether we were close to a full blown military conflict.

“Well, I don’t think we came very close, honestly,” said Lieutenant General Franklin Hagenbeck.

UNCUT: Interview with Lieutenant General Franklin Hagenbeck
UNCUT: Interview with Lieutenant General Franklin Hagenbeck

The retired three-star general who served more than 39 years spoke to News4Jax on Wednesday after President Trump addressed the nation following Iran’s missile strikes on two Iraqi military bases that were housing U.S. troops.

Just last year, Hagenbeck said he served on the advisory council for Army Secretary Mark Esper, who has since become the Secretary of Defense. Hagenbeck explained talks have been going on between the U.S. and Iran for decades.

“Certainly over the last few months. Since they took out the British ship and did some other things -- shoot our drone down. We’ve been doing a lot of talking behind the scenes at a very high level,” Hagenbeck said. “We knew there was going to be some pushback. We didn’t know what it would be, but I don’t think it was escalating nearly to open warfare at this point.”

Still, throughout this latest conflict, messages came from Iranian leadership telling Americans to get out of the region. Hagenbeck doesn’t believe that will happen any time soon.

“I don’t think so. You’ve heard him (Trump) reach out to NATO countries to be engaged as well. I think he wants to be part of that in a larger effort. I don’t think he wants to expand our military footprint in the Mideast, but I don’t think he’s going to stand down in the near term," Hagenbeck said.

About the Author:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.