| 4 December 2023, Monday |

Iran supreme leader: Saying “military options are on the table” is meaningless

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said the phrase “military options are on the table” to the IRGC’s deterrence power and capabilities has become “trivial, meaningless, and worthless.”

Khamenei was speaking during a meeting with the Supreme Assembly of Commanders and Officials of the Iranian Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the first meeting post coronavirus, and the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the head of al-Quds Force, who was killed by a US air strike in Iraq in 2020.

The leader accused his country’s enemies of stirring up crises and trying to distort the image of IRGC, describing it as the “largest counterterrorism” organization in the world.

US officials hinted at their readiness for several scenarios, including a military solution to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Khamenei pointed to the enemy’s policy of creating crises, undermining the country’s security, and disrupting people’s lives.

However, he asserted that the enemy’s defeat and the nation’s victory are inevitable through efforts to bring about national unity, encouraging people’s participation, helping people, hope, and enthusiasm toward the realization of the goals of the revolution.

Khamenei said “forgetting the facts and truths of the Revolution by the Iranian nation is one of the goals of the world’s Satans.”

He considered the CIA, Mossad, and British MI6 spy agencies to be the main perpetrators behind the design and creation of the crises.

“Of course, they also use internal and external agents and Western-oriented and indifferent elements, but the main perpetrators are the spy services.”

The meeting comes about a month before the first anniversary of the protests sparked by the death of the young woman, Mahsa Amini.

The IRGC participated effectively in the campaign to quell the protests through the Basij forces and the intelligence service.

Khamenei compared the 1979 revolution in Iran to the French and Bolshevik revolutions in Russia and described the IRGC as a “rare phenomenon” among the great revolutions that lasted more than four decades.

Khamenei echoed the statements of his predecessor, the first Iranian Supreme Leader, Khomeini, in which he warned against infiltration into the state apparatus.

Khamenei defended the role of the IRGC in the economy, infrastructure, and construction of roads, dams, and oil refineries.

He also implicitly warned against the involvement of the Guards’ leaders in corruption, saying everyone could make mistakes.

Recently, 3,000 American soldiers crossed the Red Sea towards the US bases in the Gulf when the US-led joint international forces warned commercial ships and tankers of approaching Iranian waters.

Washington and Tehran have begun the early stages of a deal to release US prisoners in Iran in exchange for freeing Iran’s frozen assets.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran had slowed the pace at which it is accumulating near weapons-grade enriched uranium and has diluted some of its stockpiles.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby declined to confirm these reports.

Blinken said on Tuesday he would welcome any Iranian steps to de-escalate its “growing nuclear threat.”

The British newspaper, the Financial Times, reported on Wednesday that the US is pushing Iran to stop selling armed drones to Russia as part of discussions on a broader “unwritten understanding” between Washington and Tehran to de-escalate tensions and contain a long-simmering nuclear crisis.

Meanwhile, Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman, Vahid Jalalzadeh, said that his country is preparing to hold talks to release the frozen assets in Iraq and India.

Jalalzadeh denied, in a statement to the state-run ISNA news agency, that the current negotiations were about the nuclear file, noting that when the US raised the issue of prisoners, Iran said it wanted to free its foreign funds in exchange for prisoners.

Iran also demanded that Washington stop pressuring South Korea, Iraq, and India to freeze its money.

State Department Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel said in a daily briefing that the issue of five US citizens released from Evin Prison is separate from all other matters related to the Iranian regime.

“We will continue to take steps to hold the Iranian regime accountable for their malign, destabilizing activities in the region, as well as more broadly.”

He asserted that the US will coordinate with allies and partners and continue holding the Iranian regime and the Russian Federation accountable for using these drones in Ukraine.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat