John Kerry said Monday that “the world is safer today” because of the Iran nuclear deal. Details of how loud and long the mullahs laughed have not been released.
In reality, the world is more threatened than ever by an aggressive and assertive Iran, confident and swaggering after besting Kerry at the negotiating table.
As the International Atomic Energy Agency certified Iran’s compliance with the stipulations of the nuclear deal and the U.S. and EU ended sanctions against the Islamic Republic, the head of Iran’s armed forces, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, was not in a conciliatory mood. After Iran seized two U.S. Navy boats and briefly held ten American sailors hostage, Firouzabadi declared:
This incident in the Persian Gulf, which probably will not be the American forces’ last mistake in the region, should be a lesson to troublemakers in the U.S. Congress.
And Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), crowed:
American sailors started crying after arrest, but the kindness of our Guard made them feel calm.
Since the end of the Second World War, no country has been able to arrest American military personnel.
There was more. Said IRGC commander Ahmad Dolabi:
I saw the weakness, cowardice, and fear of American soldiers myself. Despite having all of the weapons and equipment, they surrendered themselves with the first action of the guardians of Islam.
American forces receive the best training and have the most advanced weapons in the world, but they did not have the power to confront the Guard due to weakness of faith and belief.
They did not have the power to confront the Guard. One might almost get the impression that Dalabi thought of the incident as a battle in a larger war.
Indeed, Iranian spokesmen have been declaring their willingness, and even desire, to confront the U.S. militarily for quite some time. On February 11, 2014, the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said:
The Defense Ministry is working to ensure that the Iranian people are armed and ready to confront any enemy threat. Yesterday’s successful test of Iranian-made ballistic missiles was also a crushing response to the nonsense of the American officials who frequently threaten Iran. It is a clear answer to their military option.
The Defense Ministry and the Iranian nation are always ready, and Iran will welcome it if the Americans again put themselves to the test and face the consequences. The Americans will again be defeated, just as they were in the Iran-Iraq war. If they implement their nonsense, the Iranian nation will hand them a crushing defeat.
This saber-rattling has long been common among Iranian officials. Firouzabadi once boasted:
Iran is prepared for the decisive war against the U.S. and the Zionist regime. … Iran has been making plans, conducting maneuvers, and preparing its forces for this battle for years now.
In May 2014, senior Iranian commander Massoud Jazayeri warned that if the U.S. attacked Iran, not only would the result be “the annihilation of the Israeli regime,” but war in the U.S. itself:
[The Americans] know that aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran would mean annihilation of Tel Aviv and spread of war into the United States.
Today the Americans and the entire world know that one of our operational goals is destroying U.S. Navy Forces.
A specific target would be aircraft carriers:
[Carriers] provide U.S. airpower in combat; therefore it is natural that we want to sink them … destroying, annihilating, and sinking U.S. boats has and will be in our plans.
In February 2015, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps conducted a drill dubbed Great Prophet 9 in which Iranian forces destroyed a replica of an American aircraft carrier. IRGC commander Jafari said that the drill was intended to be a “message of (Iran’s) might” to “extraterritorial powers.”
Iranian TV coverage of the drill focused on a banner that read:
If the Americans are ready to be buried at the bottom of the waters of the Persian Gulf — so be it.
This is a direct quotation from the father of the Islamic Republic, the Ayatollah Khomeini.
During this drill, the IRGC tested what it called a “new strategic weapon” that it said would be an important part of their coming war with the United States. Said Admiral Fadavi:
The new weapon will have a very decisive role in adding our naval power in confronting threats, particular by the Great Satan, the United States.
In May 2015, the IRGC’s Salami actually said that Iran wanted war with the United States:
We have prepared ourselves for the most dangerous scenarios and this is no big deal and is simple to digest for U.S.; we welcome war with the U.S. as we do believe that it will be the scene for our success to display the real potentials of our power.
The lieutenant commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Navy General Alireza Tangsiri, was even more bellicose in October 2015, issuing this warning to the United States:
I declare now that if the enemy wants to spark a war against Iran, we will chase them even to the Gulf of Mexico and we will do it.
This war would involve jihad-martyrdom suicide attacks. Tangsiri:
[The Americans] have tested us once and if necessary, there are people who will blow up themselves with ammunitions to destroy the U.S. warships.
With the nuclear deal, has Iran now discarded all this bellicosity and rejoined the family of nations? Only the most naïve and self-deluded would bet the future on it.
But the most naïve and self-deluded — Barack Obama, John Kerry, and their followers – happen to be placing our bets.