By Mahmoud Hakamian
IRAN, AUGUST 2, 2017-- On AUGUST 2, 2017, Iranian regime’s media reported on the launch of a satellite carrier missile. The timing of the launch was arranged in such a way so as to coincide with discussions over US Congress’s passing of sanctions against the Iranian regime.
While the move was widely advertised by regime officials, including regime’s president Hassan Rouhani and state media, it was faced with tough stances and a new wave of condemnations by the international community, so that the US Treasury, among others, sanctioned six more entities related to regime’s ballistic-missile program, following which three European countries, namely France, Germany, and Britain issued a joint statement with the United States, denouncing the regime’s move and calling on the regime to immediately stop any ballistic missile test and related activities.
Such tough reactions and stances accompanied with putting more strengthened sanctions in place, raises numerous questions over the reason behind regime’s provocative move as well as its possible consequences. Questions such as why regime has taken such a provocative measure in such a sensitive and critical situation while new US sanctions against the regime are being imposed? Is it the result of a bad decision making, or has the regime made up its mind about confrontation?
The missile test had a dual purpose. In the first place, it was a demonstrative move made only to satisfy regime’s domestic forces as well as its foreign hirelings who, faced with current political and social situation and the crushing blows dealt to regime one after the other, have totally lost their spirit and are completely frustrated. It would suffice if we take a look at the remarks made by regime officials and media to find out to some extent the dimensions of frustration and low-morale of regime’s forces:
“The toughest sanctions in the past 100 years have been composed against us, with its third chapter containing regime overthrow”, Mohsen Rezaei, secretary of regime’s expediency council, July 27, 2017.
“The ultimate goal of the new sanctions is to overthrow Iran’s Islamic regime”, Resalat newspaper quoting Ali Aghazadeh, former member of regime’s parliament’s security committee, July 26, 2017.
The regime, however, has been extremely cautious while launching the missile, so that unlike previous displays in which missile tests were carried out by firing ground-to-ground or surface-to-surface missiles at sea and striking a specific target, this time, however, regime decided to launch a non-military satellite carrier missile into space so as to give it a scientific, research look.
The other purpose of the recent missile test was to check out the opposite side’s reaction. Faced with such a test, though of little military and operational value that doesn’t realistically make the United States concerned, the US government reacted by imposing sanctions on six more entities related to Iranian regime’s ballistic-missile program, signaling the regime that the United States is not going to tolerate any kind of regime’s missile saber-rattling.
But regime’s major loss in this regard is political, as the regime had its eyes on the gap between the United States and European countries with regard to the nuclear deal. But following the recent missile test, major European countries effectively took the United State’s side and condemned the test.
Another ambiguity in this regard is related to Rouhani and his band’s stance. Rouhani had previously denounced Revolutionary Guards’ missile demonstrations during regime’s presidential debates, describing it as a measure taken to undermine the nuclear deal. But why this time Rouhani has praised the recent missile display on his Instagram page, describing it as the sign of ‘capability’ and something that brings ‘power and respect’?
“Pointing to the (importance of) military science and technology, Mr. Rouhani asserted that the more we are capable in various sciences, the more powerful and dignified we will become”, State-TV, July 28, 2017.
This change of stance points on one hand to the true nature of Rouhani and his band, which in essence is no different from that of Khamenei and Rouhani’s rivals, and on the other hand it’s a sign of increased pressures by Rouhani’s opposing faction. But such provisional proximity in relations should by no means be regarded as the sign of the two rival bands getting closer together or of their decreased conflict and power struggle in the face of foreign threats. Soon after the effects and consequences of the new sanctions begin to emerge, the conflicts between the rival bands will flare up more than ever.
What’s obvious, however, is that regime leader ‘Khamenei’ keeps remaining silent regarding new US sanctions, hesitating on the horns of a dilemma - acceding to the demands of the international community, the United States in particular, holding back from its atomic bomb project and regional interventions, and agree to more nuclear-deal-like treaties, or stand against them all – with both options, however, leading to imminent overthrow of the regime.