Latest Iranian threat routine, Israeli expert says

But Tehran could be responding to fear of increased chance of attack on nuclear program, regional security analyst adds.

By
April 20, 2011 17:27
2 minute read.
Iranian anti-aircraft missile testing.

iranian anti-aircraft missile_311 reuters. (photo credit: Stringer Iran / Reuters)

 
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Recent comments by the commander of Iran’s ground forces, Brig.-Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, who said Tuesday that any military action against his country would result in “suicide” for the attacker, were part of a long-standing pattern of threats made by Iranian officials, an Israeli defense expert said Wednesday.

According to Iran’s Fars Ne w s Agency , Pourdastan said, “Today no enemy has the requirements and the desire to carry out a military attack against the powerful Iran,” adding, “military aggression against Iran is highly unlikely and even impossible and is synonymous with the suicide of the aggressor.”

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Pourdastan made the remarks during a conference of foreign military attaches in Tehran.

“There have been dozens of similar threatening statements issued by various Iranian military and political personnel over the past years, with regard to the option of the US or Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.

They threaten ‘crushing’ responses, have referred to the many thousands of missiles they can and will fire, and that they will [set] ‘alight’ US forces and Israel,” said Emily Landau, a senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies , where she directs the Arms Control and Regional Security Program.

“They regularly make reference to the vast and overwhelming strength of their military forces – this boasting is s o m e - times with reference to what they will do in case of attack, and sometimes just routine.

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“Often the deterrent statements have come after something, either a statement or event, that raises their fears of possible attack, and the context is deterrence of both the US and Israel,” Landau added.

Due to the high frequency of such remarks, Landau said, “it’s difficult to know exactly what, if anything, they are responding to in this case.”

Tehran may have concluded that the chances of an attack on its nuclear program have risen due to the lack of any movement in international efforts to confront the nuclear issue, and after the two failed rounds of negotiations in December and January, Landau said.

Iran may fear that “something is being secretly planned. Maybe they are responding to a possible Israeli sense of lowered vulnerability to Iranian retaliation due to the success of Iron Dome. But this is highly speculative, and hard to know at this point,” Landau added.

During his statement on Tuesday, the Iranian commander claimed that Iran’s current military power was superior to any other time period in the country’s history.

He emphasized the “defensive nature” of his country’s armed forces and weapon programs, saying that they serve the stability and security of the region and Iran’s national interests.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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