By Maryam Kashani (source: Rooz Online)
Seyed Hassan Firuzabadi, Iran’s chairman of the joint command of the armed forces told Fars news agency, “We are ready for the ‘decisive war’ with the United States and the Zionist regime.” He said they had been planning for this battle for years, had held various military exercises, and that the forces were ready. “If a war takes place against Iran, no field shall be left out to the enemy and they know this. They examined the military attack option in the last decade and brought their forces, but then concluded that they could not and left. The remarks they are making today are political bluff,” he continued.
File Photo: Seyed Hassan Firuzabadi with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Firuzabadi stressed, “We also issue this warning that we will attack all entities related to any land from which an attack occurs against us. Of course we do not have any animosity with the countries in the region but if we are attacked from American bases in the region, we will hit them.”
The secretary of the influential Guardians Council ayatollah Ahmadi Janati seemed to echo these words when he was in the city of Isfahan last week. “Now, the cursed Americans and their ill-willed foreign minister who has an Israeli mentality are threatening. But the Iranian nation will not accept repression. The imam (i.e., ayatollah Khomeini) was not happy about the war with Iraq and asked why are we facing them; they are Moslems and his wish was that we would directly confront the United States so we could fight them. In any case, if this happens, the people, the Revolutionary Guards and revolution would not sit idle; would they would not allow Israel to survive.”
The latest barrage of verbal attacks by military and political authorities of the Islamic republic appear to be in a response to what they call “American options”. Even as the nuclear talks continue, the United States has emphasized that all options, including the military option remains on the table but that it wants to give diplomacy a chance. These remarks have invoked the anger of Iranian authorities. Even the publication a few weeks ago of news that the US Congress had decided to suspend efforts to pass more sanctions against Iran did not seem to satisfy Iranian officials.
Just three days before the anniversary of the 1979 revolution that established the Islamic republic, ayatollah Khamenei told a group of air force military men, “People should see the rude remarks of the Americans, watch them, and understand the enemy. Some want to distract people from the animosity of the enemy. No! See the animosity. See the duplicity. IN private meetings, American officials tell one thing to our officials but as soon as they distant themselves from them they say something else. The Iranian people should see this duplicity of the enemy and the ill and dirty intentions of the enemy. The nation should pay attention. One of the points American officials tell our officials is that they have no intention of changing the Iranian regime. First, they are lying; if they could, they would not hesitate for a moment to destroy this foundation. Second, they cannot.”
The verbal war between Iran and the United States is of course not new and has been going on for years. Some time ago ayatollah Khamenei had aid, “It is possible that the United States may create dangers for some countries; it may embark on madness. I will say right here that we do not have nuclear weapons. And we shall not build nuclear weapons. But in response to an attack by the enemy - whether the United States or the Zionist regime - in defending ourselves we shall attack them at the same level that they attack us.”
Immediately after these remarks, some supporters of Khamenei tried to present interpretations of his words and asked, how Iran could respond in kind if we have no nuclear weapons and if they attack with nuclear weapons. In a piece written by a “soft war officer” the response seems to have been that “because of the very complex actions of ayatollah Khamenei and his nation in designing and using an unclear strategy, there is no possibility of an American nuclear attack.”
Borhan website belonging to the Revolutionary Guards had a different argument. “The use of nuclear weapons, particularly in the Middle East where the US has strategic allies such as Israel and the countries on the periphery of the Persian Gulf, is absolutely not possible. Therefore, on the basis of the nuclear deterrence theory, enemies of Iran will not resort to the nuclear weapons against it.”
Similarly, a supporter of ayatollah Khamenei had written, “Because we do not want to build nuclear weapons under any circumstances, we must find other ways to implement our attack. At last two ways come to mind: One is to use the nuclear weapons of other countries for this attack. The other is to redirect the missile carrying the nuclear weapon against Iran back to the United States and explode them on the Americans.”
Iranian officials do not have the same perspective on the military strength of the Islamic regime. Sometime in early December Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a group of university students, “Westerners are not afraid of our four tanks and missiles. They are afraid of the Iranian people. Do you really believe that the United States, which can disrupt all our defense system with a single bomb, is afraid of our defense system? Is it really because of military power that the US is not coming forward?”
These words brought forth the anger of Iranian security and military authorities and the top Revolutionary Guards commander responded by saying, “It is possible that American bombs will damage our infrastructure, but the missile and strategic power of the Guards is significant and at best the US can destroy only 20 percent of the Guards’ missile might.”
Mohsen Rezai, a former Guards commander joined the exchanges and brought in a different perspective when he said, “I do not agree that the Americans cannot attack Iran; we shall not allow this to happen. If it cannot attack us does not mean that it does not want to do it.” He continued, “We must not allow America or the Zionists to have the excuse to attack us. Today they intend to attack Iran by first resolving the Syrian issue because as long as there is Syria and Hezbollah, it is difficult to attack Iran. Today we have a long reach at Mediterranean shores and two thousand kilometers of our frontier are further out there as defense. If they want to reach us, they must first resolve the two thousand mils distance.”
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