Heavy rocket fire on Israel from Gaza began four days after Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared in a speech on Quds Day that “fighting the Zionist regime is a general duty.” He was addressing the youth of the Muslim world, and told them to “build suitable weapons and strengthen the line of holy war and martyrdom.”
Khamenei reacted to the rocket attacks at another gathering in Tehran, saying “force is the only language the Zionists understand,” and the best way for Palestinians to “force the criminals to surrender and stop their savagery.”
Israel has dealt Iran’s clerical regime several blows in recent years, both inside the country and against its allies and positions in Syria, each time with Iran unable to retaliate. Furthermore, while the suspect deaths of two Revolutionary Guards generals (Mohammad Hossein-Zadeh Hejazi and Mohammad Ali Haqbin) cannot be directly attributed to Israel, reactions by senior Iranian officials suggest they suspect Israel’s hand. Some regional reports on Hejazi’s death have suggested he was poisoned.
Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Salami said at his funeral that “I heard Israel is rejoicing, but it will disappear.” The latest violence in Gaza seems, at the very least, to be a consolation to Iranian officials, after months of helpless resentment against Israel. But Iran may have had a more direct hand.
The Iranian ayatollahs are telling Israel its attacks and sabotage in Vienna will not go unanswered.
Talks have stalled to revive a nuclear pact between Iran and the West, as Israel and Saudi Arabia pressure the administration of President Joe Biden to prevent its waltzing into a any-old deal with Tehran, and dashed Tehran’s hopes of dealing with an “Obama-style” administration. Iranian officials have repeatedly accused Israel in past weeks of blocking the talks. With the country heaving under economic pressures, the regime has few bargaining chips with the West, besides threatening to rev up uranium enrichment or fueling regional violence.
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