Iranian Officials Dismiss Obama Threats to Nuclear Program

Iranian military leaders simultaneously announce new war weapons

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani / AP
• September 16, 2013 3:40 pm


Senior Iranian officials dismissed on Monday President Barack Obama’s claim that he is still prepared to take military action against Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.

Obama stated on Sunday that military action is still on the table, leading multiple Iranian government officials to call the comments "illogical" war rhetoric.

While Iranian officials indicated that they do not take Obama’s threat seriously, the regime’s military leaders simultaneously announced a flurry of new war weapons aimed at combatting Western military intervention.

Obama’s renewed insistence that military action in Iran is still on the table came just days after the administration backed down from its promise to launch a strike in Syria, where embattled President Bashar al-Assad is alleged to have used chemical weapons.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham called Obama’s threat of military action "illogical and illegal."

Iran does not view these threats seriously, Afkham said.

The "Obama administration would take a lesson from the unsuccessful experiences of the former U.S. administrations in their confrontations against the Iranian nation and accept that using the language of threat against the Islamic Republic of Iran will not have the least influence on the will of the Iranian nation and government concerning the restoration of their inalienable nuclear rights, including enrichment inside Iran," Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency reported her as saying on Monday.

Afkham went on to blame "influential lobby groups" for the administration’s tough rhetoric. These comments appeared to be a veiled reference to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a top pro-Israel group that has pushed Obama to adopt a hardline on Iran.

The fact that "the U.S. foreign policy has been taken hostage by influential lobby groups is now a taken-for-granted belief for American think-tanks, yet, resorting to the military option merely to meet the interests of these lobbies at the cost of violating the international law principles, the U.N. Charter, and defying the public opinion can no way be justified," Afkham was quoted as saying.

"The language of respect" is the only way to win Iran’s cooperation, she said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made similar comments on Monday when he urged the United States "to stop threats against the Islamic Republic," according to Fars.

"We are ready to build the U.S. confidence over the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program and want the U.S. to show its honest determination to (establish) peace and drop the language of threat," Zarif was quoted as telling a Lebanese newspaper.

However, the rhetoric of reconciliation from Iran’s political leaders was mixed with threats from its military leaders.

The Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on Monday that the U.S. decision to back down from military action in Syria saved it from experiencing Iran’s wrath.

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari also said that Iran is prepared to aggressively respond if the United States attacks its nuclear sites.

"If the U.S. makes any military move, it will face numerous problems," Jafari was quoted as saying on Monday. "God willing, the U.S. will adopt wise decisions in this regard and won't expose itself to danger," he added.

The IRGC also will "act upon its responsibility" if the United States decides to intervene in Syria, he warned.

These war threats came as Iran unveils a slew of new military innovations.

The lieutenant commander of the Iranian Army's naval force announced over the weekend that helicopters have now been equipped with "advanced anti-submarine weapons and sonar systems."

"The Navy's choppers are now used for anti-submarine operations, and this type of mission is fulfilled by using different sonar (radars) systems and proper weapons," Rear Adm. Gholam Reza Khadem Biqam was quoted as saying.

The helicopters are reportedly capable of detecting submerged submarines and firing missiles at them.

Additionally, the Iranian Navy is slated to reveal "new military hardware" this weekend, when it launches a military parade.

The Iranian Army is also slated to display "new ground, air, and naval achievements," as well as a new submarine and other defenses, according to Fars.

However, the military hardware is strictly to be used for peaceful purposes, according to Iranian President Hassan Rowhani.

"The IRGC is not the corps of war in the region," he said on Monday. "It is the corps of security and tranquility."

Published under: Iran, Middle East