Mohammad Jafari 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer Iran)
Members of Iran's top leadership brass on Friday expressed concern about
the state of the Islamic Republic as its economy continues to spiral
due to international sanctions.
"We have reached a very sensitive
and fateful stage," said General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), in a message posted on the
Jafari's comments came amid an uptick in public
discussions over a potential Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear program.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday
that US-led sanctions and diplomatic efforts have had no impact on the
Iranian nuclear program, and warned that time is running out to
peacefully resolve the issue. Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy also fueled speculation
of an impending Israeli strike, telling the New York Times
on Wednesday that "If I were an Iranian, I would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks.”
reported that some American officials believe Israel might attack Iran this year.
also stated that his military was working to confront Western "soft
war" attacks against Iran, referring to sanctions, cyber attacks and
other non-lethal measures taken by Western countries against the Iranian
regime. The IRGC commander said that his military was fully trained and
capable of "confront[ing] enemies' cultural, political and social aggression
against Iran," according to Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency.
comments echoed comments made last year by Iran's Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Khamenei, who stated that "the main priority of the country is
to confront (the enemy's) soft warfare which is aimed at creating doubt,
discord and pessimism among the masses of the people."
Friday, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the powerful Guardian
Council, said Iran was currently in the midst of an "economic crisis,"
Addressing a gathering of volunteers in the Basij
organization, a paramilitary group subordinate to the IRGC, Ayatollah
Jannati warned that the situation would not last and that Iranians would
resist the West's economic pressure.
Earlier this week, the US Congress passed a package of sanctions
against Iran that aims to punish banks, insurance companies and
shippers that help Tehran sell its oil. The legislation, agreed to by
senior lawmakers of both parties in Congress, builds on oil trade
sanctions signed into law by US President Barack Obama in December that
have prompted Japan, South Korea, India and others to slash their
purchases of Iranian oil.
The bill, which also passed the Senate, is awaiting Obama's signature before it becomes law.