By: Reza Kahlili
Any future Iranian attacks in response to threats by Israel or the West will be much more complex and devastating than the recent terror attacks in India and Bangkok, the Islamic regime warned Saturday.
At the same time, Iran, fearing American firepower, is trying to drive a wedge between the United States and Israel by suggesting that, if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities and the U.S. stays out of it, Washington need not fear Iranian retaliation. Israel and the U.S. are already at odds about attacking Iranian nuclear facilities, with President Obama demanding that sanctions be given time and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that time is running out.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who recently praised Obama’s statement that America is looking for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, has in effect for the first time provided a way out for Obama in case of a conflict with Israel while at the same time warning about the consequences if the U.S. also attacks.
A Fars News Agency analysis said Saturday that if the U.S. is drawn in militarily, Iran will counterattack against U.S. bases in the region and interests worldwide. Fars News Agency, a media outlet of the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, has the imprimatur of the Iranian government.
The analysis, titled “The Secret War Against Iran’s Nuclear Program Will No Longer Be Unanswered,” quotes the Islamic regime’s supreme leader, Khamenei, who said in his Iranian New Year message last week that while Iran does not want a nuclear bomb, any attack on Iranian nuclear sites will spark the same level of force against the attacking country.
That statement is in line with what Iran’s defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi, said recently — that Iran has “secret weapons yet unknown to the West that will be used in response to any attack on Iran.” Vahidi is on Interpol’s most-wanted list for the Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people and injured hundreds more.
The Fars analysis said that Khamenei’s statement unveils “a new strategy” by the Islamic regime and its role in the region and the world.
The first step in this strategy, the analysis said, is to close the Strait of Hormuz if Iran is attacked, a threat already made by various Iranian leaders. This in effect has already “imbalanced the West with its red lines on Iran,” the analysis said, and has even “forced American warships to move in groups along with other nations’ vessels in the Persian Gulf.”
In the second step, in response to the oil embargo by the European Union, Iran stopped all oil exports to England and France and “subjected the export of oil to other countries to long-term binding contracts,” the analysis said.
One aspect of the West’s confrontation with Iran is its secret war on Iran’s nuclear activities. “The assassination of four Iranian nuclear scientists with the help of (the Israeli intelligence agency) Mossad and the stuxnet virus were the beginnings of this covert war, and though the Americans, in fear of retaliation, blamed Israel for such activities, there is no doubt that the U.S. and Israel have closely collaborated in a covert war against Iran,” the analysis said.
The analysis warned that America and Israel should be clear on the fact that any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will be responded to with the same level of force used against Iran, be it a computer virus, assassination or military attack, and will be far more devastating than recent terror attacks on Israeli interests in India and Bangkok.
This warning comes in the wake of a U.S. congressional report that thousands of Hezbollah cells are active in America and a warning by the New York Police Department that Iran has conducted surveillance of New York City landmarks. Last month, Iranian agents were arrested in Bangkok armed with explosives; more arrests of Iranian assets were made in Georgia and recently in Azerbaijan on suspicion that attacks were being plotted on the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Baku. Days ago Interpol issued a red notice for the arrest of four Iranians suspected of the attack near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi.
The Israelis believe that by initiating an attack on Iran, they will successfully draw America into the conflict, the analysis said, something the Americans fear because any conflict with Iran will drastically increase the price of oil and devastate the global economy.
Stay out of any attack, the analysis warned the U.S., and “Iran will not attack U.S. military bases in the region, thereby touching off an all-out regional war.” This, the analysis said, “will provide hope to America that any conflict will be manageable, but it will depend on America’s behavior.”
The analysis concluded that “this new strategy will create a new environment that perhaps will change the destiny of the region.”
Ayatollah Seyyid Khatami, a hard-line cleric, in his sermon at Tehran’s Friday prayers, praised the supreme leader and his decisions in confronting the West, calling the recent decision by America to exempt 11 countries from sanctions on Iran a great victory that he claimed was “a big slap in the face of the enemy, causing this disgraceful retreat in sanctions by America.”
“Soon America will be forced to ask for forgiveness for the sanctions and say that they made a mistake,” Khatami said. “Europeans soon will be forced to do the same, and the message of this retreat to all freedom fighters around the world is to stand up against the despotic powers.”
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the author of the award winning book, ”A Time to Betray.” He teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy.