October 12th, 2011
07:24 AM ET

Iran's provocative rhetoric

Editor's Note: Ali Alfoneh is a Resident Fellow at American Enterprise Institute.

By Ali Alfoneh - Special to CNN

In the hours following the United States Department of Justice press release on the foiled terror plot “directed by elements of the Iranian government to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United States,” the Islamic Republic officials have energetically dismissed the allegations against Iran.

Hassan Qashqavi, deputy foreign minister, stressed: “Despite some conflicting points of view, relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and [Saudi] Arabia are based on mutual respect between Muslims and such deeds [the allegations against Iran], which are designed to instigate conflict in the region, will not have the slightest impact.” Ramin Mehmanparast, Foreign Ministry spokesman, called the allegations “a ridiculous theater” directed by “the American-Zionist axis;” while Ala al-Din Boroujerdi, parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy chairman, bizarrely said the United States allegations serve the purpose of “diverting public attention from the revolt against Wall Street.”

Remarkably, there is still no reaction from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, or for that matter the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) whose Qods Force – the IRGC’s foreign operations arm – United States officials accuse of masterminding the terror plot. However, the IRGC commanders may have good reason for not reacting. After all, they have already declared their intentions against Saudi Arabia and the United States.

On April 17, 2011, Hossein Allah-Karam, IRGC Qods Force veteran from the war in Bosnia and current vigilante leader in Iran, threatened Saudi Arabia with “martyrdom operations” - suicide terror in official Islamic Republic parlance - should Saudi Arabia not remove its military forces from Bahrain. On April 18, 2011, Sobh-e Sadeq, the official mouthpiece of the IRGC, condemning Saudi Arabia’s deployment of troops to Bahrain, warned: “They have chosen the dangerous path of suppression and they must certainly pay a very high price for it…”

On April 19, 2011, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, former Revolutionary Guards commander and current military adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, warned Saudi Arabia against “foreign intervention” in Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs as retaliation against Saudi intervention in internal affairs of Bahrain. In the same expansionist spirit, Major General Qassem Suleimani, IRGC Qods Force commander, on May 22, 2011 said: “Today, Iran’s victory or defeat is no longer decided in Mehran or Khorramshahr. Our boundaries have expanded and we must witness victory in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria.”

Also IRGC threats against the United States have become more direct in the rhetoric of the IRGC commanders. On September 10, 2010 Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, Basij Commander, said “not all [military] interventions should be Western; we are also prepared to intervene in the internal affairs of these countries when needed.” With such statements in the past months, the IRGC hardly needs to make further statements.

Khamenei’s silence on the other hand is more remarkable. Authorizing an assassination plot against a Saudi ambassador - and the ambassador to the United States at that - hardly fits Khamenei’s cautious style. Khamenei may not even have been aware of the IRGC terror plot, and the IRGC’s plan may have been a rogue act testing the patience of the United States and Saudi Arabia, but also aiming at entangling Iran in yet another diplomatic crisis. In the shadow of the crisis and a permanent state of emergency, the IRGC could seize the total power in Iran, freeing itself from what may remain of civilian control of the armed forces.

Regardless if it is Khamenei or the IRGC who is responsible for the terror plot, the Islamic Republic should be held responsible and should also pay a price for its adventurist policies. Otherwise a bolder and more assertive leadership in Tehran will test Washington’s redlines.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Ali Alfoneh.

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Topics: Iran • Saudi Arabia • Terrorism

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Al Khamenei chose to remain silent, and Ahmadinejad? It wouldn’t surprise me that Al Khamenei was behind this plot or condoned it, to discredit Ahmadinejad's efforts of extending an olive branch to the West. The Revolutionary Guard pledges it loyalty to the Supreme Leader. Had the plot been a success, they would have killed two birds with one stone. It would undermine Ahmadinejad's power in Iran and tarnish his image abroad. The relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia would fray further.

    October 12, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
  2. Forrest

    I wonder if the Million Dollar Bail for the Hikers paid for This

    October 12, 2011 at 10:21 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      No, apparently Oman had paid $500.000 each for the two hikers!

      October 14, 2011 at 10:56 am | Reply
  3. billy Gee

    Here we go, the drums of war are beating again. The case for military action against IRan is being built. AIPAC is demanding action – either Obama does it before the election (ensuring their support), or the GOP will promise it after the election, ensuring AIPAC support. Pakistan is more of a threat to the US and the rest of the world than Iran, but less so to Israel so that's where our focus goes. Someone PLEASE try to deny any of this without resorting to 1) ridicule 2) playing the anti-semite card or 3) referring once again to dogma from an idiot, that has been officially discredited as official Iranian State Policy. Now that I've pulled your teeth, whatcha got left? Oh, that's right, the "But the other guys are worse" argument. Nope, that one doesn't apply here either. I eagerly await a cogent reply based on fact and logic.

    October 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      Iran is beating the drums of war pretty loudly all by themselves and I don't think we will answer due to money woes right now. More and stronger sanctions are coming from the U.S. not bullets until the Iranians throw the first bullets then we will answer with bombs and lots of them.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    • Serge Prévost

      I think your reply is very astute ans ascertive.

      October 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Reply
    • DFOX2116

      First off why is it that when the when a foreign assasination is stopped by the US all of a sudden you say its the US beating the war drums? Since according to the story this was an IRANIAN plot on our soil. You really need to take a better look at who is beating the war drums here unless you have some evidence to the contrary which im sure will be some jewish conspiracy theory probably. Second Cartels in Mexico do use terrorists advisors from foreign countries to help them with torture, intimidation and anti government operations how do you think this Iranian knew where to go in Mexico of all places to meet his contact who of course turned out to be a DEA Agent? Iran is already establishing contact with Venezuela and when the Iranian Fleet comes to the US ocean borders Venezuela will be their refuling port.

      October 13, 2011 at 3:17 am | Reply
  4. jbm66

    The Iranian Regime is probably the most disgusting in the world. The wonderful people of iran are starving for freedom from the Pig called Ayatollah

    October 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  5. Thomas Mc

    We have to lie this country into another war, people. Those trillions of tax dollars aren't going to just march themselves from the Treasury over to the Military Industrial Complex, you know!

    October 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  6. Zoglet

    Just out of curiosity, hasanyone at CNN thought about compiling andpublishing a list of all the threats US officials and politicians have made against Iran? I think it might help place relations in a broader context.

    October 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Reply
  7. Bill Jones

    The murderous thieves in DC at least used to try to provide plausible believability. They don't even try to do that any more, pathetic.

    October 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  8. Claude

    Let's start another war! Let's start another war! Let's start another war! We just gotta have wars. Wars are the only
    way we can kill a lot of people as fast as possible. We are not killing one another fast enough. More war! More war!

    October 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Reply
  9. Frank Oliver

    I,dont get it how the freedom loving Americans can be friends of Sharia loving Saudi camel jokies...more over 19 9/11 hijackers are saudis , Osama bin laden is a Saudi...then Saudi Arabia is breeding ground of Taliban and Al-Qeada

    October 13, 2011 at 12:33 am | Reply
  10. DFOX2116

    This story shouldnt surprise anyone who has been keepi9ng up with world events, Cartels in Mexico do use terrorists advisors from foreign countries to help them with torture, intimidation and anti government operations how do you think this Iranian knew where to go in Mexico of all places to meet his contact who of course turned out to be a DEA Agent? Iran is already establishing contact with Venezuela and when the Iranian Fleet comes to the US ocean borders Venezuela will be their refuling port. Since Iran has already established itself in South America why is anyone surprised that they would have contacts south of our border? especially when they have alot to gain from a destabilized Mexican government. Our fight was never in the middleast except maybe Afghanistan, our fight is now at the border with Mexico and it is already coming in the door.

    October 13, 2011 at 3:24 am | Reply
  11. Cafalloth

    интим услуги г днепропетровск
    шлюхи и проститутки в кемерово
    услуги госпожи туапсе
    проститутки москва братиславская
    индивиуалки перми
    где снять проститутку в брянске
    проститутки города клина мос обл
    шлюхи владимир 33
    проститутки Рыбинска
    проститутка на дом в туле

    Тимати ЛОХ

    January 11, 2012 at 1:14 am | Reply

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