PHOTO: Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari: “A message to US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards set off a predictable flutter on Tuesday when they boasted about their latest testing of ballistic missiles amid military exercises.

No details were given of the tests, but Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari — backed up by State TV and regime-friendly academics — bragged that the Guards’ missiles had deterred the US from attacking and sent “a strong message to Saudi Arabia and Israel”.

See Iran Daily, March 8: Revolutionary Guards “Israel Within Our Reach of Our Missiles”

The Pavlovian reaction soon followed, with France warning that any Iranian testing could violate a UN resolutions, the US saying that it might refer the matter to the Security Council, and American hardliners proclaiming — wrongly — that this exposed the deception of the July 2015 nuclear deal.

So is this more serious than the ritual chest-puffing by the Guards and warnings of doom from Iran’s opponents? Probably not — and all the fuss is missing the really important story behind yesterday’s rhetoric.

I spoke with Monocle 24’s The Daily on Tuesday night about the politics behind the posing — listen from 3:25: