Iranian threats against Israel are a disturbing trend, but the timing of the latest rant from Iran’s leader drew stern condemnation from United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In a message delivered by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and posted to his website on August 10, the Iranian dictator called Israel’s government “child killers” and praised Palestinians for being “on the battlefields more enthusiastic, and braver than yesterday. But the ultimate outcome requires assistance from all Muslims.”
While Khemenei’s words were in honor of the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, it’s timing also aligned with the saddest day of the Jewish calendar marking the destruction of both temples and other tragedies. That caught Pompeo’s attention.
As part of a series of Twitter posts, Pompeo said, “It’s sick that on the eve of #TishaBAv—a solemn day for the Jewish people—@khamenei_ir calls for violence against the Jewish state.”
Pompeo followed up in another Tweet to say, “@khamenei_ir doesn’t see ‘progress’ as prosperity for the Palestinian people, but Palestinian terrorists switching from rocks to rockets to kill more Jews. The Iranian people don’t want this; they deserve leadership behaviors that reflect their greatness.”
Khamenei’s virulent rhetoric wasn’t limited to Israel. He called the American “Deal of the Century” peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians “a crime against the society of humankind.”
Khamenei’s message, as translated on his English website, invited “everyone to active participation in overcoming this stratagem by the enemy,” while expecting the plan would be “doomed to failure against the efforts, and faith of the Resistance Front”—a term used for terrorists.
Pompeo responded on Twitter by highlighting Iran’s hypocrisy when it comes to the Palestinians. “@khamenei_ir’s faux concern for the Palestinian people runs so deep that under his reign of terror he provided less than $20,000 in aid since 2008, while sending millions to Hamas & other terrorists. In contrast, U.S. provided $6.3 billion in support to Palestinians since 1994.”
Khamenei wasn’t the only one threatening violence against Israel. Commenting on the possibility of Israeli forces joining with the US to defend international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz near Iran, Iranian Special Aide on International Affairs of the Islamic Parliament Hossein Amir Abdollahian warned on Twitter in English of destruction in Israel if the Jewish State simply enters the nautical region.
Said the post, “#Iran has vital role in security of #HormuzStrait. Any US-led military coalition in the HS is repetition of #Iraq/#Afghanistan occupation & escalation of insecurity in region. If #Israel enters HS, it will be engulfed in wrath of the region & its smoke will rise from #TelAviv.”
Tensions between the US and Iran date back decades, but have heated up in recent months. Each nation has shot down the drone of the other side, Iran has attacked the international oil shipping industry repeatedly, and US sanctions pressure on Iran has continued.
Last week, Pompeo underscored the impact of US sanctions on Iran in an Op-Ed in USA Today also published on the State Department’s website. “The regime and its proxies are weaker than when our pressure began,” said Pompeo. “Iranian-backed militias have stated that Iran no longer has enough money to pay them as much as in the past and has enacted austerity plans. Iran’s proposed military budget for 2019 included a 28% cut to its defense budget and a 17% cut to its terror branch, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
Despite the conflict between the US and Iran, Pompeo’s comments on August 7 noted the American goal is not just to weaken Iran. “As we raise the cost of Iran’s expansionism and the status quo, we seek a comprehensive deal and a far more peaceful, stable relationship,” said Pompeo. “We look forward to the day we can help bring the Iranian people and their neighbors the peace and prosperity they deserve.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, August 11, 2019)