Iran’s Friday Prayer leaders continued the recent surge in declarations, led by the Supreme Leader, of the need for a strong military to defeat Tehran’s enemies.
In Tehran, Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani cited Ayatollah Khamenei’s announcement that development of the military is an “inalienable right” and assured, “Encountering [our] defensive and offensive capabilities causes fear and panic in our enemies.”
Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari said in Tabriz, “Despite the limitations on the development of weapons of mass destruction, we have no restrictions on developing weapons so that we can make the enemy understand that if it attacks, it will face a crushing response.”
And in Esfahan, Hojatoleslam Mojtaba Mirdamadi called on officials to “increase…defensive and military capabilities so that enemies will not even raise the thought of attacking the country”.
The Islamic Republic has always promoted military strength to defeat its foes, but the Supreme Leader has stepped up the rhetoric with three statements in the past 10 days. He told military commanders last Sunday:
Our opposite side, which we refer to with such terms as the arrogant system or the global Zionism, is an evil and deceitful front with oppressive ideas, which is hostile to the Iranian nation’s religious beliefs and independence and refusal to bow to bullying….
In the face of such an enemy, which seeks to undermine the country’s defensive prowess, the Armed Forces’ preparedness must be boosted to an extent that the enemy would not even dare to think about any aggression.
The regime has also circulated images of the S-300 anti-aircraft systems being provided by Russia, declaring — in a likely exaggeration — that they are already deployed around the Fordoo nuclear enrichment facility.
Ayatollah Khamenei’s campaign has been linked with his criticism of the Rouhani Government for being too weak towards the US. The Supreme Leader has declared that there can be no links with a “dishonest” Washington beyond the July 2015 nuclear deal, and that the US cannot be trusted even to adhere to that agreement.
However, in a possible sign that the Supreme Leader may be easing in his pressure on President Rouhani, Tehran’s Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani praised the Government for its “effective” handling of a salary scandal which has dominated Iranian politics.
Hardliners have tried to use the “payslips scandal”, which broke in May, to target Rouhani’s inner circle, including 1st Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri and the President’s brother and senior advisor Hossein Fereydoun.
(Hat tip to Iran Tracker for translations)
Foreign Ministry: “Saudi Foreign Minister is Boring”
Iran has tried a new line in its denunciations of Saudi Arabia, declaring that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir is boring.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Friday, “The baseless and hollow allegations the Saudi officials especially their foreign minister keep labeling against Iran’s constructive and positive role in the region has become too repetitive and tiresome.”
Qassemi countered al-Jubeir’s criticism with declarations of Iran’s “advisory presence” in Syria — its intervention with thousands of commanders, troops, and Iranian-led foreign militia — and the “spiritual and political assistance [the Islamic Republic] offers to the innocent people of certain Islamic countries in the region who are subject to an un-harnessed wave of violence by Takfiri terrorist groups”.
He said advised Saudi Arabia to “reconsider its manners in the region and try to replace hallucinations with rationalism”.
Saudi Arabia cut relations with Iran in January after a crowd attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, protesting Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric.