A prominent Iranian politician has threatened drastic action should the U.S. consider military action against Tehran.
Mohesen Rezaei, who is secretary of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council and head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), claims that the country would take 1,000 U.S. citizens hostage and demand hefty ransoms should Washington consider attacking Iran, writes Adelle Nazarian for Breitbart.
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Threat to kidnap U.S. nationals
During an interview with Iranian state television IRIB, Rezaei made his feelings abundantly clear.
“I am promising you, I promise the people of Iran, that as a soldier of Iran and a revolutionary militant, if America even thinks about taking military action against Iran, they can rest assured that in the first week we will take 1,000 Americans hostage and demand millions of dollars in ransom for each of their releases,” he said.
It seems that Rezaei may be gunning for a move to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance. “That will likely help solve our economic issues as well. We are warning them in advance so that they can get this thought out of their minds,” he continued.
Rezaei later revealed his unwillingness to surrender Iran’s nuclear program, which is currently the subject of discussions with the P5+1 powers. “If tomorrow Israel decides to attack Iran, shouldn’t Iran be able to respond to them [with nukes]?” he said.
Criticism flies during interview
The negotiations have dragged on past a self-imposed deadline, but there is still hope that a deal can be reached. Sources close to the process claim that only a few issues need to be solved, but it appears that Rezaei is less than impressed by the Obama administration.
He referred to President Obama as “weak,” and urged him to fix the mess that he has caused in Iran. “Of course it was Obama who caused the situation in Iran because even George W. Bush, as strong as his stances were, did not dare to impose last year’s sanction on Iran” when he was in office, Rezaei said.
He is in fact referring to oil sanctions imposed by Congress in 2012, proposed by Republicans and supported by a small number of Democrats who helped it to pass as a bipartisan bill. Obama himself was opposed to the sanctions, but the majority was veto-proof. Peculiarly he seems to be receiving both praise and criticism for the sanctions.
Accusations of ulterior motives
Rezaei went on to criticize John Kerry as an “orphaned child” who takes calls from Washington before returning to negotiations with “sorry expressions,” begging to reopen discussions on matters that had already been concluded.
He urged Washington to make a deal before Tehran implements a plan to boost the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges to 100,000. “The United States can not threaten Iran with military attacks or increase sanctions against Tehran, and they have no choice but negotiations,” he said.
U.S. negotiators have asked Iran to limit the range of its missiles to 300 kilometers, meaning that they could not reach Israel. Rezaei criticized the desire to disarm Iran at a time when the country is facing a threat from Israel, and predicted that ulterior motives were at play.
“This shows that the U.S. officials want to impose a war on Iran in the future… they are making mistakes and sending suspicious signals to (ongoing nuclear) negotiation table,” he added.
Worrying parallels with North Korea
Iran entered negotiations in 2013, and has maintained that defense capabilities would not be part of a possible deal on the shutting down of the nuclear program. It seemed as though Tehran had successfully kept its missile program out of the negotiations, but the P5+1 powers recently raised the issue as a sticking point.
Concerns have been raised that Tehran will be capable of developing nuclear weapons even if a deal is signed. North Korea went through similar negotiations with the West, and agreed to shut down its nuclear program, only to continue to work on enrichment programs in secret.
Problems arose during inspections carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency, with North Korea successfully avoiding granting full access to inspectors. Compliance is sure to be a key issue in a potential deal with Iran, and the distinction between nuclear and missile programs raises the possibility that work on a nuclear program could continue at sites officially devoted to military work.
If the P5+1 countries insist on snap inspections to any military installation, it will surely be a dealbreaker for Tehran. Is it realistic to expect a sovereign country to allow foreign inspectors to access facilities where legitimate state secrets may be held? At the same time, hardliners such as Rezaei do not inspire great confidence that Tehran will keep its promises.