IRGC chief: We're not seeking war with Israel

Yadollah Javani says Revolutionary Guards employ "military deterrence" to ensure Iran won’t capitulate over nuclear ambitions.

Iranian Shahab 2 missile bearing crest of IRGC 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
Iranian Shahab 2 missile bearing crest of IRGC 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ political bureau said on Sunday that the IRGC is not seeking war with Israel or the US, but is practicing an ongoing strategy of military deterrence.
Writing in Mashregh News, a conservative website with strong ties to the Guards, Brig.- Gen. Yadollah Javani, who is also the Guards’s most senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused foreign media outlets and “counterrevolutionary” (in other words, reformist) news sites of “attempting to introduce the idea that the IRGC is hawkish” in recent weeks.
“Some have written that Iran has reached an impasse, and that some military and IRGC commanders are looking for war [with Israel and the US] as a way out this impasse,” Javani wrote. “The IRGC and IRGC commanders do not seek war but are practicing a strategy of military deterrence against those enemies that threaten Iran.”
In his article, Javani reveals insights into the Guards’ thoughts regarding Iran’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric toward Israel and the US over Iran’s nuclear program.
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Javani accused the US and Israel of using Iran’s military program, which he insisted was peaceful, as an excuse for threatening the Islamic Republic with military action.
“The reality is that over the past years, Iran has faced threats by the US and the Zionist Regime [Israel] because the Iranian nation has insisted on sticking to its principles and has refused to give up its rights,” he said, adding that the West previously accused Iran of human rights and terrorism crimes to “pressurize” it.
“Over the past two months, Zionist leaders have stated their threats in such a way as to say that they will soon have no choice but to go to war against Islamic Iran, even if the US will not support them,” Javani said.
Javani, who opposes Iran’s reformist Green Movement and who has previously said it has a direct link with the Second of Khordad Movement (the political movement that brought reformist Iranian president Mohammed Khatami to power in 1997), said that since Khatami’s election, there had been two schools of thought in Iran regarding foreign policy toward the US and Israel.
These two opposing views, Javani said, consisted of political deterrence, or appeasement, and military deterrence.
“There are those who insist on the policy of political deterrence, who say that the Islamic Republic cannot defend itself against the US and the Zionist Regime [Israel],” he said.
“[Those people] say that what is needed are internal reforms and reforms in the political sphere, which will essentially remove any external threats from the West.”
This “reformist” school of thought, Javani said, “claimed that Iran did not need nuclear energy and that it should completely suspend its nuclear activities.”
If Iran followed these reformist principles and appeased the West by giving up on its nuclear ambitions, then the Islamic Republic would “lose its independence,” Javani said.
“However, the military deterrence strategy assumes the Iranian people want freedom, national dignity and to preserve the revolution and its achievements, and to continue along the path of progress and prosperity,” he wrote. “Therefore Iran should stand against all pressures and prepare to defend itself from any invasion.”
According to Javani, the main strategy of the Revolutionary Guards and the Islamic Republic of Iran Army is that of military deterrence.
Based on this strategy, Iran’s military had worked toward increasing its capabilities to deal with the enemy, he added.
“The US and Israel attack countries they are assured of winning wars against. They won’t start a war against any country if they think they will suffer defeats,” Javani wrote.
“With military deterrence you should always be aware of the enemy, be able to defend against aggression and also display determination to respond to any type of aggression.”
Recent comments by military and Revolutionary Guards commanders regarding Iran’s response to an Israeli strike should be “taken in that context,” he added.
Last month, in an interview with Iran’s Young Journalists Club, Javani said the fighting in Syria was a “proxy war,” and that Syria was part of the “Axis of Resistance” against Israel together with Hezbollah and Hamas.
In that interview, he also described the Revolutionary Guards as a “political, military, cultural and security institution.”
In August, Javani said that former president Khatami had led the 2009 uprisings (after the disputed reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) and that he would never be allowed to run for office again.