- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Inside the Ring: Dispute between foreign minister, Republican guard commander in Iran
Question of the Day
U.S. intelligence agencies are monitoring a political dispute between Iran’s foreign minister, who is a key player in nuclear talks, and the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the hard-line shock troops behind the Islamist regime in Tehran.
The dispute could impact the outcome of nuclear talks between Iran and the six nations that are expected to resume Thursday in Geneva.
“Do you think the America, which can take out all our defensive systems with one bomb, is afraid of our defensive system? Is America really not taking [military] action due [Iran‘s] military might?” Mr. Zarif said in response to a question at Tehran University.
His comments prompted a harsh reaction from several Iranian officials and state-controlled media. But the most significant criticism came a week later from IRGC commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, who challenged the minister’s comments as “incorrect” and said Iran’s military could withstand any attack.
“If the enemy attacks and drops thousands of bombs, it will only succeed in destroying 10 to 20 percent of our missiles,” he said.
The general asserted that what forced “enemies” to negotiate lifting sanctions was “our security and defense capabilities.” And he claimed that Iran’s missiles are hidden throughout the country and cannot be knocked out with thousands of bombs.
The Pentagon in a recent report to Congress on Iran’s military supports the Zarif position, noting that Iran’s military “would be relatively ineffective against a direct assault by well-trained, sophisticated military such as that of the United States or its allies.”
Gen. Jafari’s unusual public attack on Mr. Zarif appeared to be a political effort to undo the damage the remarks caused to a major propaganda offensive. For the past several years, propaganda organs have sought to portray Tehran’s military as more powerful than it is. Almost weekly reports in state media have sought to highlight new and more powerful weapons developments, from high-speed torpedoes to armed drones to advanced missiles.
U.S. military officials have voiced skepticism about Iran’s reported military advances and said frequent reports of new weapons and capabilities are exaggerations.
“We have given the maximum in this six-month interim agreement, and we have received the minimum,” Gen. Jafari said.
He also said the talks must be limited to the nuclear issue alone, and insisted that no more concessions be made.
Western critics of the talks have said they should include discussion of Iran ending its support for international terrorism, such as the weapons it supplies Lebanon’s Hezbollah and other terrorists.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Man says he shot burglar who said she was pregnant
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq