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Euphoric at coming Biden administration

Iran, Qods Force, IRGC, Islamic Republic, Qasem Soleimani, Beirut, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Shiite, French, United States, Persian Gulf

Oped

Euphoric at coming Biden administration

Samira A. Zedan

Recent videos available online show a new situation in Iran, in the midst of global changes that are slated for the coming days and weeks. The videos are part of an Iranian media campaign that on the surface appears to be random, but on closer inspection reveals itself to be as carefully organized and planned as the hand-weaving of a carpet with the greatest precision. It comes as no surprise that Iran is known for its high quality and fame of its carpets as well.

It is evident that Iran needed to send a message to other countries and to its local audience that it is not interested in further escalation, despite a few bellicose statements here and there by some Iranians.

In the video below, Qods Force Commander IRGC General Esmail Qaani speaks at a Tehran University memorial to mark the one-year anniversary of the assassination of the previous Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani. He cautioned those who are responsible for the assassination of Soleimani that they are adding to the work of the “free people of the world.” He said there may be someone in the homes of those who killed him who will “repay” that crime in kind.

Some may argue that by refraining from making a direct threat, this statement implies that Iran does not want any escalation, while still calling for retaliation for Soleimani’s death, and that the purpose of video is to maintain credibility with Iranian students, who have always played an important role in the political life of the Islamic Republic.

Iranian political analyst Emad Abshenas’ recent interview for Al Ghad TV channel in Arabic about Iran’s military readiness for a confrontation with the United States serves as an attempt to reach out to regional audiences that Iran’s military image is not crippled because of its economic constraints.

He went on to say that some Iranians are persuaded that going to war with the United States is the only way to get the Americans to lift economic sanctions against Iran.

This appears as an effort to reassure those who have been calling for a retaliatory operation for the killing of Soleimani; at the same time, it confirms that Iran dares not take any chances that might escalate the situation with the United States, at least while Trump is still in the White House.

The grotesque exaggeration of Iran’s military capabilities is commonly used to quell any internal opposition, as well as to keep the Gulf states on edge.

Iran’s decision to increase its uranium enrichment to 20% also demonstrates that Iran is willing to move forward with steps that appear to be further escalation, while hoping to return quickly to the deal that was signed by the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the Beirut port explosions, local voices in Lebanon calling for limitations on Hezbollah’s activities and power have gained momentum. Iran has used this Shiite militia to infiltrate Lebanon. The video below is an attempt to counter these anti-Hezbollah voices. A university professor claims that Lebanese leaders who seek French intervention to help Lebanon cope with its current economic and political crisis should be killed, while at the same time, he advocates isolating Lebanon from the West in order to keep it under Iranian dominance.

Here is another statement by Hamas leader Mahmoud Az-Zahar, about the Iranians’ generosity in supporting Gaza. It is a reminder of Iran’s fundamental role in maintaining what he termed the Palestinian resistance.

Az-Zahar intended in this video to deliver a message of subtle defiance to the Gulf States, especially those which normalized relations with Israel. Gulf countries (with the exception of Qatar) have consistently rejected Iranian interference in the Palestinian conflict, which serves Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions rather than helping to achieve peace in the region.

In the video below, Iran wanted to address the US military build-up in the Persian Gulf by issuing a defiant message to demonstrate unprecedented confidence in Iran’s capability to confront the United States.

General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, Khamenei’s senior advisor on the armed forces, spoke about the ability of Iran’s military to face the Americans.

He reported that Iranian military intelligence was watching American forces in the region and was well aware of their strengths and weaknesses. General Rahim-Safavi said that the United States is, according to MEMRI, “vulnerable in the region,” and the Iranian army is capable of sinking the American aircraft carriers in a matter of hours.

In the video below, Iran wanted to address the US military build-up in the Persian Gulf by issuing a defiant message to demonstrate unprecedented confidence in Iran’s capability to confront the United States.

General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, Khamenei’s senior advisor on the armed forces, spoke about the ability of Iran’s military to face the Americans.

He reported that Iranian military intelligence was watching American forces in the region and was well aware of their strengths and weaknesses. General Rahim-Safavi said that the United States is, according to MEMRI, “vulnerable in the region,” and the Iranian army is capable of sinking the American aircraft carriers in a matter of hours.

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