Iranian nuclear threats and bomb plots might win popularity in Tehran, but they will backfire.
In two weeks’ time, millions of Iranians will cast their votes to elect a new parliament. So we should hardly be surprised that the final stages of the election contest have been marked by a sudden surge in anti-Western hostility from Tehran.
Over the past few months, Iran has tried to murder a Saudi diplomat in Washington, threatened to close the all-important Strait of Hormuz shipping lane through the Gulf, and warned the EU that it is going to impose its own oil embargo. And now it has unleashed a series of terrorist attacks against Israel’s diplomatic missions around the world.
As is their custom, the Iranians have denied any involvement in this week’s spate of attacks, which has seen Israeli diplomats targeted in Georgia, India and, most recently, Thailand. The Iranians are, of course, past masters at covering their tracks. Despite the enormous amount of intelligence-based evidence that pointed to Iran’s complicity for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, there was never sufficient material to build a convincing prosecution case.
I suspect Tehran will have a far more difficult job persuading the Thai authorities that it had nothing to do with the attempted assassination of two Israeli diplomats in Bangkok this week. Even if you ignore the fact that the detained bombers, one of whom managed to blow off his own legs in the failed attack, were clearly Iranian, the Thais have also uncovered a mountain of evidence – including 4.5 tons of home-made explosives – to suggest that Iran was planning a far larger terrorist campaign in a tourist destination popular with young Israelis.
Similarly, Iran’s elaborate attempts to cover its tracks during last year’s failed plot to murder Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington, as he dined at a Georgetown restaurant, have badly backfired. The Iranians hired a Mexican drug cartel to do their dirty work, only for their efforts to be exposed by an American double agent. Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries are getting careless in their old age.