Iran had already declared victory over America in their controversy over its nuclear program, without waiting to hear how the Russians sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton packing on Oct. 13, minus any hoped-for backing for tough sanctions.
Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said bluntly: “At the current stage, all forces must be thrown behind the negotiating process.” He stressed: “Threats, sanctions, and threats of pressure in the current situation, we are convinced, would be counterproductive.”
Tehran has gone to town on a major propaganda effort to emphasize its strength and the magnitude of its triumph over the US. DEBKA-Net-Weekly Iranian sources report that the campaign also aims at subliminally allaying the Iranian populace's fears of a possible American or Israeli military strike. For both purposes, the regime presents the United States crudely as a declining a military, economic and global power and Iran in contrast as the rising force – not just in the region but worldwide.
Tuesday this week, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said: “Iran is a great power in the Middle East and no problem can be solved without it.” He depicted Iran as an invincible force which no power can defeat.
He went on to describe the three decades since the Islamic Revolution in glowing terms: “Post-revolutionary Iran is a wise, smart and powerful country with the managerial ability for handling regional crises. It is a haven of regional stability.”
Is Iran the new rising sun?
Iran will achieve peaceful nuclear technology in the face of sanctions, Salami said, and is now on a brilliant path to self-sufficiency.
“Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) granting every member state, including Iran, the right to uranium enrichment, Tehran has been subjected to three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's illegitimate calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment,” he said.
Two days earlier, on Sunday, October 11, in the northern Iranian town of Sarri, Brig. Gen Salami waxed poetic: “Today, the US is experiencing demise despite its great economic, defensive and military power, but Islamic Iran has remained abloom amid waves of animosities and blaze of sanctions and the nation's power and capability are getting stronger every day.”
Regarding Iran's military situation, he said of Iran's Sejil ground-to-ground missiles, “[We] can repel any serious threat and attack against the Islamic Republic.”
Although these two-stage, solid fuel-propelled missiles have a range of 2,200 km and can hit a target accurately within a radius of 20 meters, the Iranian general did not explain how the Sejil could be turned round to repel assaults on Iran from the air or by missiles.
Tehran triumphed in Geneva, no need for concessions
On Tuesday, Oct. 13, it was the turn of Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, a former Iranian defense minister, to talk big about Iran's strength and invincibility. “Countries (US) which were speaking of threat, sanction and military attack on Iran in the past, have (now) surrendered to Iran,” according to Najjar. This was how he explained why “they are looking for a way to open the door of dialogue and cooperation with Iran.”
The minister went on to sum up the first round of talks on Oct. 1 between representatives from the five permanent UN Security Council Members plus Germany (Group 5+1) and Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili:
“The recent meeting with the western countries in Geneva was a stage displaying the grandeur and power of the Iranian representative in the international arena.”
DEBKA-Net-Weekly Iranian sources note that the two Iranian officials may have used high-flown language but were not indulging in idle boasts. Both expressed the conclusion their political and military masters reached that Barack Obama is a weak president with no stomach for dragging his country into war with Iran and involving America in its fourth current conflict on top of Afghanistan, Iraq and the war on terror.
Iran's leaders have been further encouraged by the disputes between the US commander-in-chief and his generals on the conduct of the Afghanistan war. As far as Tehran is concerned, the deeper the discord in Washington the better its interests are served.
Israel is too entangled to attack us
Iran noted and took heed of statements by former deputy minister of defense in Israel, Efraim Sneh: He has been saying in recent weeks that if the US fails to obtain the support of fellow powers for tightening sanctions on Iran, Israel will go ahead and attack the Iranian nuclear installations.
But Tehran is also counting on Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu and his government being held back from striking Iran by domestic political pressure, international diplomatic entanglements and President Obama's restraining hand. Just in case, Iran is ready to fabricate more international pressure on Jerusalem, especially in the Palestinian arena, to keep Netanyahu and his defense minister Ehud Barak tied down.
In these circumstances, the heads of the Iranian regime see no need to make any concessions, gestures or even tactical retreats on its nuclear program to the United States, the Europeans or the UN nuclear watchdog.
They laugh at the portrayal of the IAEA inspection of Oct. 25 in the Western media as a point won at the Geneva conference. The visit had been scheduled anyway under Iran's commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and was no concession.