Demolition of the Ukrainian plane
Iran's supreme leader calls for national unity in the face of protests
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has made a closed defense of the Revolutionary Guard and its activities in neighboring countries on Friday. The missiles that the army launched against the US bases in Iraq "show the power of God," he said during Friday's prayer, which he has led for the first time in eight years. His unusual sermon comes after protests over the delay of the military in recognizing that they had shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane. Khamenei, who has described that incident as "bitter," has avoided criticizing the uniformed and preferred to accuse the protesters of "disregarding the national interest" and "playing the enemy."
The highest political and spiritual authority of the Islamic Republic has wanted to capitalize on the signs of support generated by the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani by US forces in Iraq to transform them into a message of unity with the world. At the same time, relying on verses from the Quran, he asked the Iranians to feel grateful and resist the pressure of the enemies (the United States and its allies) because God is on the side of Iran, rejecting the slightest threat of criticism against the regime
"We have lived two hectic and exceptional weeks in which there have been bitter and sweet events from which the Iranian nation can draw lessons," said the supreme leader. “Tens of millions of people took to the streets in our cities and hundreds of thousands in Iraq and other countries to venerate the martyr Soleimani in the greatest funeral the world has seen; That is what we call a day of God. (...) It was also a day of God in which the missiles of the Revolutionary Guard destroyed the United States base in Iraq ”, he has prepared according to the translation of the preaching posted on his website.
But the terrible mistake made by the Revolutionary Guard, the parallel army that defends the Islamic regime, when on the same night of the attack with which it avenged Soleimani confused a Ukrainian passenger plane with an American missile, it fits poorly with that epic. Even more so when those responsible took three days to recognize that it had been his anti-aircraft defenses that had brought him down and caused 176 deaths.
In fact, despite the enormous credibility crisis that the matter has opened in the country, Jamenei has only mentioned it almost at the end of his speech and has focused on admonishing those who ask for accounts. “Some young people have been moved, but others are not so young and do not take into account the national interest; they say and do what they want in the enemy, ”he said before defending that the US and its allies were using the case to overshadow the murder of Soleimani. No shadow of self-criticism. Unlike President Hasan Rohani that last Wednesday, in a sample of unusual internal friction, called on the military to clarify what happened to the Iranians, the supreme leader thanked them for their explanations and has simply said that " we must avoid repeating it ”.
In a firm and undisputed voice, I find Jamenei, who at the age of 80 has barely helped himself with some files to pronounce his speech, has accused Washington of state terrorism for having murdered "the strongest and bravest military chief" in the Middle East. "The American Government killed the martyr Soleimani not on the battlefield, but stealthily and cowardly," he said before an audience delivered chanting "Death to America! Death to Israel!". In the front row, the main political and military authorities. On the walls, great photos of the general become a hero.
For almost an hour, the supreme leader has raved against the United States, a country with which Iran has been facing since the 1979 revolution and with which it has been in a sad state to go to war in those "two hectic weeks." The distrust is reciprocal. Washington has not overcome the trauma of taking its embassy in Tehran by revolutionary students that marked the breakdown of relations four decades ago. Anti-Americanism constitutes one of the pillars of the Islamic Republic. The nuclear agreement signed in 2015 may have broken that dynamic, but its abandonment after Donald Trump's arrival at the White House closed the door.
The anger of the Iranian leaders over the economic damage caused by the reimposition of sanctions extends to the three European signatories of the agreement (United Kingdom, France and Germany). Khamenei has labeled them "US lackeys" and, in a low blow, recalled that they helped Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran (1980-1988).