Iran commander: We have reached a fateful stage

IRGC Commander Jafari warns against West's "soft war" attacks; Ayatollah Jannati: Iran in midst of "economic crisis."

Mohammad Jafari 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer Iran)
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 IRGC website.
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.” The Times reported that some American officials believe Israel might attack Iran this year.
Jafari 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.
Jafari's 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."
Also Friday, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the powerful Guardian Council, said Iran was currently in the midst of an "economic crisis," Fars reported.
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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.