At a meeting with Iranian military leaders, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed resistance to U.S. President Donald Trump’s “measures and threats” and blamed his predecessor Barack Obama for creating the Islamic State.
In a somewhat confusing and heavily edited transcript of the Supreme Leader’s rambling remarks, the Tehran Times has him praising Iran for doing the will of Allah and promising it will enjoy divine protection. Khamenei salutes the “dear Iranian nation” for taking a “faith-based, powerful, logical, and full-of-self-confidence move,” by which he seems to mean Iran’s controversial missile tests.
The Ayatollah then addresses President Trump in a passage swimming with editorial insertions and explanations. He seems to be claiming Trump has “laid bare before the public opinion” of the world what Iran has long said about “all-out corruption in the ruling system of America.”
He promises that Iran will respond to Trump’s “measures and threats” on the anniversary of the “Islamic Revolution,” which is February 10th on the Western calendar. Khamenei’s visit with military officers was meant to commemorate what Iran calls “Air Force Day,” the day upon which Iranian Air Force personnel declared crucial support for Ayatollah Khomenei’s revolution in 1979. As ominously specific as this promise might sound, Reuters quotes analysts who say Khamenei was “relatively restrained” and did not issue a “threat to respond militarily.”
“During 38 years that have gone by following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, we have witnessed the assistance of Allah and developments, which could not be accounted for based on materialistic calculations with regard to various issues, including the Sacred Defense,” Khamenei declared. The “Sacred Defense” refers to Iran’s brutal eight-year war with Iraq, which seems like an odd thing to thank Allah for, given that anywhere from 300,000 to one million Iranians were killed during it, not to mention an equally fearsome number of Iraqis who also worship Allah.
And yet, the Ayatollah repeatedly praised Iran for its “rationality,” which he said was much better than putting trust and hope in “devils, especially the Great Satan.”
“Putting one’s trust in devils and pinning hope on those, who are against the very existence of the establishment and the rule of Islam, is a great error, because it will serve the country no good,” Khamenei advised.
Apparently, he has not been told that only a tiny minority of extremists on the wrong side of history desire the “establishment and rule of Islam.” The Tehran Times does not say whether any of the highly rational military officers he was addressing took the opportunity to gently correct him.
Khamenei sarcastically thanked President Trump for saving Iran a great deal of trouble by “revealing the real face of America,” which is characterized by “political, economic, moral, and social corruption.”
“The new president has laid bare the real nature of America before the eyes of the people of the world through his remarks and measures both during election campaigns and in recent days, and is showing the truth about America,” Khamenei said, with congratulations to his predecessor Ayatollah Khomenei for taking the Great Satan’s measure decades ago.
Ayatollah Khamenei was contemptuous of the notion that he should thank Barack Obama for the Iranian nuclear deal and accompanying economic windfall.
“Why should we thank the previous American administration? For its anti-Iran sanctions? For creating Daesh? For putting the region on fire in Syria and Iraq? Or for its hypocrisy and Janus-faced nature?” Khamenei spat.
“Daesh” is another name for ISIS. As Khamenei went on to explain, his “Janus-face” insult referred to the Obama administration’s very tepid support for the Iranian “Green Revolution” in 2009, which the theocracy suppressed by violence. Khamenei accused Obama of “publicly and clearly supporting sedition” by criticizing the corrupt election that sparked the Green Revolution.
Bloomberg Politics quotes analysts who checked Khamenei’s Twitter account and concluded his “why should we thank the previous administration” insult was intended specifically as a response to President Trump’s online comment, “Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!”
Bloomberg’s analysts further suggest Khamenei’s speech was part of a long game to keep “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani safe from the most aggressive of Iran’s hardliners while keeping him under pressure to oppose any changes Trump might propose to the nuclear deal. The analysts anticipated a strong showing at this year’s revolutionary commemorations in Iran, to show strength against Trump and express anger at his inclusion of Iran in an executive order temporarily suspending immigration.
Fox News reported an interesting development on Tuesday afternoon: Iran has apparently canceled plans to test-launch a powerful long-range missile, removing it from the launch pad over the past few days. U.S. intelligence officials said it was “not immediately clear” why the launch was canceled.
New U.S. sanctions against Iran were announced on February 3rd, the very day the missile was first raised on the launch pad, accompanied by a “host of visitors” to the “normally quiet” launch facility.