Obama and Kerry ask Netanyahu to hold back from responding to Iranian threats
DEBKAfile Special Report February 11, 2014, 10:23 PM (GMT+02:00)
Iran’s leaders celebrated the 35th anniversary of their Islamic revolution Tuesday, Feb.11 with a torrent of hate rhetoric and threats surpassing even the crudely belligerent language used by former President Mahmoud Ahamedinejad.
A common theme of their speeches to the masses was threats to the United States and Israel of defeat and annihilation at the hands of the invincible Iranian army. Following the first deployment of Iranian warships - the helicopter carrier Khark and Sabalan guided missile destroyer - near America’s Atlantic shores, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) fleet, Navy Cmdr Ali Fadayi, actually said: “The Americans can sense… how their warships will be sunk with crews of 5,000 in combat against Iran, and how they would find their hulks in the depths of the sea.”
The Iranian officer pressed on to suggest “the Americans” were cowards, who “cannot hide themselves in the sea since the entire Middle East region, western Europe, the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Straits of Hormuz are monitored by us!”
The IRGC commander Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari piled it on with a boast that just two Basijj militiamen could sink one American aircraft carrier – a blatant threat of suicide attacks on US military targets.
Addressing the “Death to USA Grand Price” ceremony in Tehran, Jafari continued to mock Washington by calling its leaders’ references to a military option “ludicrous,” adding that “the Americans really cannot do a damn thing” against Iran’s military capability.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei repeated the ayatollah’s old mantra slamming Israel as “a cancerous growth” in the Middle East fit only to be “eradicated.”
As his audience burned US and Israeli flags and stamped on placards depicting President Obama, President Hassan Rouhani intoned: “I say to those delusional people who say the military option is on the table that they should change their eye glasses.” His meaning was clear to his mass audience: Iran no longer faces any military threats, either from the United States or Israel.
After Iran’s military test-fired two long-range missiles Monday - one with radar-evading capabilities; the other laser-guided for firing from the ground or the air – Defense Minister Gen. Hossein Dehqan crowed that Iran now had missiles with multiple warheads able to penetrate the anti-missile defenses of the enemy (America and Israel).
debkafile’s military sources took this as a sneer directed at Israel, which will not have an operational system for intercepting multi-warhead projectiles before the Arrow-3 is fully developed in 2016 or 1017. By then, Iran too will have finished developing long-range ballistic missiles with multiple warheads.
Many of the insiders in President Barack Obama’s circle preferred to dismiss these menacing speeches as no more than whistling in the dark by men frightened of their own shadows.
At the same time, the White House and State Department hastened to appeal to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to ignore Iranian belligerent rhetoric and keep his ministers quiet too, so as not to throw a spanner in the works of international nuclear diplomacy with Iran and the Syrian peace conference which resumed this week in Geneva.
Netanyahu took notice of this appeal and contented himself with a controlled speech at the IDF officers’ graduation ceremony Tuesday: “Iran today celebrates the 35th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution with new threats to destroy the Sate of Israel. The aspiration to annihilate the Jewish people and its state did not vanish when it attained statehood. What has changed is our ability to resist and frustrate that aspiration.”
Netanyahu like Obama and Kerry has opted to let the Iranian threats go unanswered. Israel may find it has to pay dearly for agreeing to bury its head in the sand.