Date: 2 November 2011
In a meeting with students in Tehran on the anniversary of 13 Aban (04 November, a highly symbolic day which corresponds to the date of Iran hostage crisis in 1979), Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei once again addressed recent allegations by the United States against Iran, and gave an indication of how Iran may intend to respond.
In response to US allegations of an Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in the Washington, Khamenei accused the US of trying to distract its domestic audience from the demands of the Occupy Wall-Street Movement and to undermine Iran:
“They created a ridiculous terrorism plot in order to accuse the Islamic Republic of a preposterous, irrational, and wrong terrorist action, which anyone with knowledge and expertise denied and condemned…But they will pursue this matter. Their intention is to accuse the most honorable and valorous individuals in the Islamic Republic [Referring to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or IRGC] of [being] terrorists. They themselves are terrorists. The biggest terrorist in the world today is the American government.”
He then formulated one aspect of how Iran may intend to respond to the US internationally:
“In this regard we have plenty. Today we have 100 incontrovertible documents which show the American government has and continues to be behind assassinations which have been carried out in Iran and the region. We will embarrass America with these 100 documents; we will embarrass those posing as proponents of human rights and counter-terrorism before public opinion…”
The IRGC issued a statement immediately after Khamenei speech in support, using uncharacteristically harsh rhetoric, even by IRGC standards, in a sign of how seriously the organization took the US allegations:
“These days America is as hated as ever and is in the darkest point in its history, with defeat and haplessness as a consequence of confrontation with the revolution and Islamic regime, and with as much shame as ever, it watches the fragility and collapse of the liberal-democratic regime, even in its own lands.”
“There is no doubt that the existence of plots and methods of the White House and the hated and incompetent ruling class of America, the Islamic Republic and the children of the nation of Iran in the IRGC, are more loved than ever and have become a trusted role-model…”
The Guards then reiterated Khamenei’s statement about what Iran perceives as US state-backed terrorism against Iran and other regional states, going as far as to say that some US officials should be prosecuted.
The voice of the Majlis [legislature] has also now been added to that of the supreme leader and IRGC. Today 240 Majlis representatives signed a declaration that warned America and its allies against what it calls Sepah-harasi, or US attempts to create an atmosphere of fear around the IRGC. It specifically named the IRGC-Qods Force (the special forces unit at the center of the Iran Terror Plot) as an entity which had defended the Islamic Revolution and protected Iranian national security and interests.
Editor’s note: Khamenei, the IRGC and the Majlis have named the Arab Spring as a main reason behind the terror plot allegations leveled against Iran by the US. They argue that the US’ weakening position in the Middle East has increasingly been filled by Iran, which has grown relatively strong within the region as a result. They view this and other recent move by the US as a means to recover American losses and limit Iran’s expansion in the Middle East.
According to these latest statements, Iran’s response to the US may comprise of a number of elements, including international legal action. For example, Iran may attempt to hit the US with its own accusations of terrorism, attempting to implicate the Americans in supporting terrorist organizations, such as PJAK and Jundullah, against Iran and other regional states. However this does not appear to be the main thrust of Iran’s strategy, and may in fact be no more than a rhetorical tool. Iran’s central strategy in its tango with the US will likely involve taking action in the Middle East itself.