Making Sense of Iranian Threats to Attack Israeli Cities

Sept. 21 2022

In a recent press conference, the commander of the Islamic Republic’s regular army, General Kioumars Heydari, announced the introduction of a new model of drone, which, he said, was developed with “attacks on Tel Aviv and Haifa” in mind. Amir Taheri questions the prudence of such saber-rattling, examining both its unusual character and its possible causes:

To start with, the general made no mention of the “supreme guide” Ali Khamenei, who is supposed to be the ultimate decision-maker on all major issues, especially war and peace. Khamenei has always said he would love to see Israel “wiped from the face of existence.” But he has never said that his own Islamic Republic is going to launch a direct war to destroy the “Zionist entity.” Almost ten years ago, he prophesized that Israel would disappear within 25 years. In the meantime, however, his Islamic Republic won’t take any direct action against Israel, instead using Lebanese and Palestinian surrogates in a low-intensity proxy war.

For the past six years, Israel has been attacking Iranian positions in Syria and even hitting targets inside Iran without being attacked in response. The question now is simple: has the “grin and bear it” policy changed? Should we assume the Iranian military is now in the driver’s seat on such high-risk issues? Traditionally, the military in Iran was required to obey the “silence is golden” rule. Even after the mullahs seized power, that tradition was largely observed. The military did make boastful speeches but never threatened any country with any specific course of action.

The irresponsible boast also comes at a critical point in the dicey negotiations to revive Barack Obama’s nuclear deal and to recognize the Islamic Republic’s supposedly peaceful intentions.

Did part of the Khomeinist establishment write the Heydari puppet-show script to derail President Joe Biden’s efforts to undo Donald Trump’s policy on Iran? Is the same faction not aware of the fact that there is not, and will not be, Iranian popular support for any war waged on purely ideological grounds? Or is the beating of war drums a ploy to divert attention from the regime’s economic, diplomatic, and social failures?

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Ali Khamenei, Iran, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Syria

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy