IRGC Air Force Commander: Missile Tests Defensive; Pledges Iran to ‘No First Strike"

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, reaffirmed Monday that a date would soon be set for the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the planned nuclear enrichment facility near Qom about which the Iranian government informed the IAEA on Monday a week ago.

If Iran really does permit full, ongoing IAEA inspections of the facility, then it cannot be used for weapons production. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted Sunday that Iran cannot use the Natanz plant for bomb-making because it is being regularly inspected by the UN.

Scott Ritter, an experienced inspector himself, dispels the myths about the new Qom facility and urges against new economic sanctions on Iran as counter-productive. Great transparency and more inspections should be the demand of the West, he says.

I made the same point on MSNBC on Monday with Nora O’Donnell:

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And no here’s something you won’t read in major American newspapers or see on American television.

The USG Open Source Center translated remarks to Iranian television of General Hoseyn Salami, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Air Force concerning Iran’s Monday missile tests (Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN), Monday, September 28, 2009):

Gen. Salami said, “as long as our enemies act within a political domain, our behavior will be completely political. However, if they want to leave the domain of political action and enter the domain of military threat, then our action will be exactly and completely military.” . . .

Many Western media reports implied that the missile tests were launched along with threats to wipe out Israel. But note that the commanding officer overseeing them explicitly restated Iran’s “no first strike” pledge. To my knowledge, no current high official in the Iranian executive has threatened war against Israel, which in any case would be foolhardy given Israel’s nuclear arsenal (see below). Iranian officials do say they hope the “Zionist regime” will collapse as the Soviet Union did.

The report also said:

‘Salami said the strategic objective in staging the war game was “to demonstrate the Iranian nation’s resolution in defending revolutionary and national values and ideals as well as to make a new attempt to upgrade the level and quality of the Islamic Republic’s deterrence against any probable threat given the current political and international atmosphere.” ‘

Salami linked the tests strongly to Iran’s defensive needs and pointed out they came before the anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 attack on Iran, which kicked off a highly destructive 8-year war that killed on the order of 250,000 Iranians. (The United States supported Iraq in that war.) The trauma of being invaded by a rapacious enemy at a moment of national weakness after the 1979 revolution has deeply informed Iranian political leaders’ views of the world ever since.

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14 Responses

  1. Doubt Iran would attack America. But while the missiles probably aren't aimed at America; they are aimed at other countries.

    Israel, the Sunni Arab dictatorships, Turkey and Pakistan will all be understandably queasy. Petraeus mentioned last Wednesday that recently 4 Gulf states had patriot missiles installed. Why?

    Israel is a tiny country, and like any tiny country it is concerned about crazy rhetoric. {Ahmenijad should really shut the hell up once in a while.}

  2. Dear Professor Cole

    I have been rereading the Louis Rene Beres paper published by the US Army War College in 2007.

    The Hebrew Ragnarok

    link to

    It summarisies the thinking of the Final Report on Project Daniel which descibes the logic of the Israeli Nuclear Strategy and covers the steps to be taken on the preparation, acquisition or use of WMD by any of the many enemy states surrounding Israel.

    It includes gems like

    In this context, the Final Report of Project Daniel recommends
    that “a recognizable retaliatory force should be fashioned with the capacity to destroy some 15 high-value targets scattered widely over pertinent enemy states in the Middle East.” This counter-value strategy means that Israel’s
    second-strike response to enemy aggressions involving certain biological or nuclear weapons would be unambiguously directed at enemy populations,not at enemy weapons or infrastructures.

    The discussion of what is in effect genocide is terrifying in its implications.

    One wonders how this small state of less than eight million people can be allowed to think they have the right to kill over a hundred million people and devastate the region.

    The high value targets would include Mecca and the Asawan Dam as advocated by Avigdor Lieberman. Destruction of the dam is thought to result in a wave of water that travels down the Nile and kills 80% of Egypt's population, and me if I am visiting.

    I suspect it worth your readers becoming familiar with the document so they can see the downside risk associated with this weeks talks.

    Taste the Fear.

  3. Every country has weapons pointed at other countries. WHY is Iran condemned for this? When was the last time Iran invaded another country or launched an offensive strike at another country? Ask the same questions about Israel and one will quickly see Israel is fundamentally the MOST dangerous country.

  4. Every leader in the west knows that Iran is surrounded by an openly hostile foe who has repeatedly and openly threatened to attack. Iran simply can't afford to cower. Wherefore, I am amazed at the power that Israel wields: leaders in the west hypocritically and uniformly declare themselves "worried" by defensive tests, and they all pretend to leave the Israeli nuclear issue and their cruel aggresiveness out of the equation. It is precisely because of this situation that things don't add up in the middle east. Will Israel ever cease to be the one true rogue state of the world?

    Óscar Palacios
    Mexico City

  5. To a dedicated cynic, it is almost fun to watch the latest turns in the great human Danse Macabre.

    Different partners, same evolutions, same outcome. It's not even tragedy — the theme is not hubris and flaws, it's just ignorance. Humanity is collectively too stupid to survive.

    Might one wonder, given the reality of container shipping "security," trucking across borders, train traffic and the other means of bulk transport, what the big deal is about missiles? Why are guys with braid on their visors, and chests full of self-awarded medals, either intent on having a pocket full of Rocket Man phalluses, or worried about having one shoved up their butts? Why waste so much national treasure on fissile missle technology when the designs for car-portable nukular devices are so readily available and so much cheaper and more efficient to deliver that way?

    And everyone has to keep thinking and talking in the same old ruts, unable to get out of the way of the Juggernaut steaming down the road toward them.

    "Threats." "Security." "Percent of GDP spent on National Security."

    Anybody have any notion of how to achieve the social equivalent of homeostasis? Nope, didn't think so.

    Stupid human tricks…

  6. This is what I get out of the news from Iran.

    The current Western Empire, like all empires, is held together, in important part, by a system of client-patron relationships with small peripheral states.

    Iran refuses to be a client of the Western Empire. It affects a posture of defiance.

    The Iranian posture, left unpunished, is a threat to the Empire because it could inspire and encourage existing client states to decline Western patronage and affect a similar defiance (South America, for example). Such a trend would bespeak weakness on the part of the Empire and could eventually lead to an unraveling of the client-patronage system.

    It is therefore necessary to ostracize and damage Iran, ostensibly to protect the citizens of the Empire from some exaggerated military threat, but realistically, to demonstrate to the leaders and populations of other small states the awful consequences of refusing Western patronage. Whether sanctions are effective in changing Iran is not the most important thing.

    It’s about maintaining the current world order– keeping the herd together and pointed in the right direction.

    It is clear that Obama represents no change from previous policy or thought. He gets no points for originality. He is following the familiar strategy of portraying a non-compliant state as a nuclear threat as a rationale for swinging the big stick.

  7. There is a good deal of hysteria coming out of Israel right now, partly due to Israel's intransigence over West Bank settlements, their overreactive crushing of Gaza, and their refusal to allow reconstruction.

    They also probably have nuclear weapons themselves…only the US Administrations turn a blind eye…strange??

    Where's atonement. Just a land grab instead of withdrawal. Jewish right of return and denial of Palestinian statehood. Overconcern about Iran.

    Will Obama cut this Gordian knot?

    Ceasing subsidies and financial support would be a good start.

  8. Paul Craig Roberts tells it like it is: "America Is Led And Informed By Liars." Obama's attempt "to influence the work of the [IAEA] Secretariat and undermine its independence and objectivity are in violation of Article VII.F of the IAEA Statute and should cease forthwith.”

    Shouldn't such a violation bring about UNSC sanctions? Would the situation be different if Iran's president were the one breaking the rules?

    Cheney was horribly bad for the USA. Obama is becoming horribly bad for the USA similarly. I wonder if Joe Wilson would stand up and call Obama out for his most recent lies?

  9. IRGC to mass microwave Iranians:

    staff officer working for the SA telecommunication company (depending to Sepah Passdaran) disclosed that Sepah has modified a Russian made telecommunication system built to blur radars and war electronic equipments.

    The modifications aim to disable the reception of Satellite channels and they are far to be standard. The bandwidth of the modified system is about several Giga-hertz – much more powerful than Microwaves, but in plain air, and it is said that in its first test, chicken and beef meats hung to the pestle carrying the system had all cooked.

    For a human body, the system will afflict lethal damages leading to blood cancers. The second test took place last Saturday in Southern Tehran for 15 hours. Shortly, Sepah will use this system all over Tehran.

    If you are an electronic engineer or know how to fight against this system, please give some pointers.
    link to

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  10. "Gen. Salami said, "as long as our enemies act within a political domain, our behavior will be completely political. However, if they want to leave the domain of political action and enter the domain of military threat, then our action will be exactly and completely military." . . .

    Many Western media reports implied that the missile tests were launched along with threats to wipe out Israel. But note that the commanding officer overseeing them explicitly restated Iran's "no first strike" pledge."

    Well, that's a relief! Glad to know we don't have to worry about Iran starting a war against anybody. <\sarcasm>

  11. Lie?
    How about he Obama administration's flustered bluster about Iran's PERFECTLY LEGAL and PREVIOUSLY KNOWN 'secret' nuclear program after being caught flat-footed in a BIG LIE that was was 'rolled out' like a new product by the Obama administration during the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh?

    It's laughable… More

  12. Da' Buffalo Amongst Wolves, how do you know that Khamenei has completely come clean on the new facility?

    What might be true is that Khamenei was building a nuclear enriching facility but didn't plan to start production on it. Lawyers can correct me, but Khamenei only has to disclose the facility to the IAEA 6 months before it starts enriching uranium.

    The Iranian program strikes me as quietly developing nuclear capability without building a nuclear weapon. I don't believe that Khamenei has yet authorized "actual" nuclear weapons, only inconspicuously developing the capability.

    Don't assume that the West and Israel were the only ones concerned about the new facility on the IRGC Kuds base. The Sunni Arab dictatorships, Russia and India also don't want Iran to build nuclear weapons.

    If Obama does not stop the Iranian nuclear program, I wouldn't be surprised if the Saudis (and secretly the UAE) make their own plans to destroy this facility, perhaps using Israel as a vehicle. Any new Iranian nuclear capability will be aimed in part at Iran's Sunni Arab dictatorship rivals, and Pakistan (don't forget that Iran nearly went to war against Pakistan's proxy the Taliban and Pakistan in 1998); and in part to gain increased leverage with Russia, Europe, America, India and China. This said, other countries might prefer the Israelis do the dirty work to keep their hands clean.

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