They give threats, we give gifts

Iran keeps threatening as US efforts against Syria slow to a snail’s pace


Threats from Iran continue to spew from Tehran even as US efforts to take action against Syria have subsided to a snail’s pace. This follows a Russian offer to oversee the removal of Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile. President Obama has made it perfectly clear that the Syrian leader should not be allowed to escape the consequences of his actions in using sarin gas or other WMDs against his people.

Syria, a proxy of Iran and under the umbrella of its protection, has been assured that an attack by the US will not go unpunished. Both Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have been warned that all options will be considered, including missile attacks on Haifa and Tel Aviv, America’s Arab allies, and military installations in the Middle East.

In a column in Mashregh News, a media outlet operated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the writer cautioned:  “Despite the analysis by some in the country, the US posture and its saber-rattling are just a psychological war against Syria. The fact is that the current military preparation of the (US) enemy points to a military confrontation and today we are facing a complete security and military scenario…[Iran’s response to US aggression] “must be firm, decisive, and powerful.”

More threats flew from Sheikh Wathiq al-Battat, leader of the Iraqi militant group Jaysh al-Mukhtar. He told Fars News Agency that 23,000 terrorists are prepared to strike US interests in the Persian Gulf should an attack against Syria be forthcoming. Supportive evidence from European intelligence services indicates that Assad has relinquished control over Syrian missile installations to Hezbollah and units from Iran.

Other information available puts 10,000 Hezbollah fighters in Damascus to stop the ouster of Assad should an attack be launched. Furthermore, Hezbollah is prepared to lob missiles into Israel in the aftermath of a US bombing. A report in Mashregh in 2012 stated that both Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad have been given access to chemical and biological weapons which would be used against Tel Aviv in the event of US intervention in Syria.

The media outlet also remembered a statement by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that seems apropos: “If they stand against our religion, we will stand against their world. If all this bloodshed is to provide a better future for Israel, we will destroy their world.”

Even as threats flew, the US Treasury Department announced that sanctions against Iran would be eased to allow humanitarian aid providers and sports groups to travel more freely between the two countries. The move would allow non-profits to provide more services in Iran without first having to petition for special permits. Athletes would also be able to hold sports matches without the current red tape.

Sanctions against Iran have been strengthened in recent years as a deterrent to its nuclear pursuits. A wide range of Iranian corporations, government leaders, and oil exports have fallen prey to the strict measures.

The election of an allegedly more moderate Iranian leader, President Hassan Rouhani, raised expectations that an answer to the ongoing dispute might be forthcoming. While some see hope, others see an unchanged leadership standing behind the ultimate head of state, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The newly inaugurated Rouhani has avowed that not one iota of Iran’s absolute rights to possess nuclear capabilities will be given up. His statement falls squarely in line with that of Khamenei. Meanwhile, the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog group has expressed concerns over what was described as “troubling developments” in Iran’s nuclear program. The intrigue never ends.

Jamal Abdi, director of the National Iranian American Council, believes the relaxing of sanctions could signal a renewed relationship between the US and Iran. The two countries have had no diplomatic relations since 1980, shortly after the US Embassy in Tehran was overrun and American hostages seized by Islamist militants.

A statement by a Treasury spokesperson revealed:  “This action further demonstrates this administration’s commitment to reinforcing ties between the Iranian and American peoples.” It is believed that an exchange among sports teams encourages better diplomacy.

And so it goes…President Obama gives, and Iran’s fanatical Islamists threaten. It begs the question: What does all this mean for Israel, a country squarely in the crosshairs of both Syria and Iran?

Perhaps that question was answered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. He recently agreed to an $800 million sale of advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Tehran. The move sets up a potential scenario that could prevent Israeli aircraft from successfully targeting Iran’s nuclear sites. 

Dr. Michael Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His latest novel, The Locket, based on the pursuit, arrest, trial, and execution of Adolf Eichmann, debuted at Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center on June 15, 2013.