by Paymaneh Shafi
The missiles and drones, launched to act as levers of imposing pressure and providing life support for the mullahs’ regime, have backfired.
Iran’s response to world outrage at the terrorist attack targeting Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities on September 14th, can be truthfully characterized as saber-rattling:
“You go on accusing Iran. Did you think Iran is confined to its geographical borders?… Today, the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Force) in Iraq is Iran. The Lebanese Hezbollah is Iran. Ansarollah (the Houthis) in Yemen is Iran. The Syrian National Front is Iran. Palestine’s Islamic Jihad is Iran. Hamas is Iran. These have all become Iran,” said Ahmad Alamalhoda, a senior official in Iran with very close ties to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, during a sermon on September 20 in the city of Mashhad in northeast Iran.
Such remarks were also heard from other regime officials aimed at boosting the low morale of Iran’s forces. The Kayhan daily, known as Khamenei’s mouthpiece inside Iran, published an article titled, “We will attack the UAE in such fashion it will go back decades.”
The mullahs’ dictatorship in Iran thought it could carry out these attacks while having its proxies in Yemen, the Houthis, claim responsibility, and thus gain the upper hand against its adversaries while avoiding censure.
“Negotiations are America’s tactic to complete their pressure strategy against Iran,” Khamenei said on May 29. “The method to confront them is for their adversary to use their tools of pressure in order to decrease pressure on itself. However, if we are deceived into negotiations and think there is no need to use its levers of pressures, this will then result in certain defeat… In the face of U.S. pressures, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the necessary tools to impose pressure… Despite their propaganda, these tools are not military in nature. Of course, if ever necessary, those tools are also available,” he threatened.
Khamenei resorted to these military “tools” in his attack on the Saudi Aramco facilities, certain the U.S. will not retaliate militarily. However, the regime’s Supreme Leader had not estimated this attack would result in sanctions targeting his regime’s Central Bank and the National Development Fund. These new measures taken by the U.S. Treasury Department will effectively block all avenues to bypass U.S. sanctions and the regime’s artificial life support.
To add insult to injury, the Europeans have adopted a completely new attitude in the past few weeks.
Prior to the Aramco attacks, the Europeans, led by France, pushed forward an initiative for talks between the U.S. and Iran, and Paris even proposed a $15 billion bailout package to encourage Tehran to return to its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Discussions were continuing over methods of Iran selling or pre-selling oil to Europe. This is more proof of how Tehran is becoming desperate as the Trump administration continues its maximum pressure campaign and desperately needs this cash influx to at least pay for the expenses of its security forces and proxy groups abroad.
However, following the mullahs’ all-too-familiar chest thumping, the wind suddenly shifted against Iran in unprecedented fashion. The leaders of Britain, France, and Germany, known as the E3, issued a statement while in New York holding the Iranian regime responsible for the attack on Saudi oil facilities.
Prior to this, in an interview with NBC, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the JCPOA as a bad agreement with many loopholes and shortcomings, adding that Tehran took advantage of the deal to continue pursuing its regional meddling.
French President Emmanuel Macron, describing the Aramco attack as a “miscalculation,” emphasized that the Iranian regime should never obtain nuclear weapons during his United Nations General Assembly speech.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, following separate meetings with Donald Trump and Rouhani, also rubbed salt into Tehran’s wounds. “Tehran’s emphasis on the U.S. lifting all sanctions as a condition for negotiations is unrealistic,” she explained.
Such remarks, catching Tehran completely off guard, resulted in a desperate response from Khamenei, revealing the regime’s ever-increasing isolation.
European countries are unlikely to help the Iranian regime against U.S. sanctions, and Tehran “should give up all hope” on this subject, according to his official website.
“Despite their promises, the Europeans have practically adhered to America’s sanctions and have not taken any action and are unlikely to do anything for the Islamic Republic in the future. So one should give up all hope on Europeans,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.
The ball is in Iran’s court now. The missiles and drones, launched to act as levers of imposing pressure and providing life support for the mullahs’ regime, have backfired, ruining Khamenei’s plot to blackmail the international community through such measures.
The recent consensus between the U.S. and Europe has changed his calculations. The E3 statement nailed shut the JCPOA coffin, making it crystal clear that the Iranian regime’s attack on Saudi Arabia has failed miserably. As a result of this serious escalation in regional tension, the future is promising to bring more isolation and escalating crises for Tehran’s mullahs.
Article first published on American Thinker.
Paymanesh Shafi is an Independent specialist in Middle East, focused on Iranian affairs. She is a member of Iranian American Community of Northern California. She tweets under @paymaneh123.