DESPITE ITS 45-year-old hostility towards the “Little Satan”, Iran had never fired a shot at Israel from its own territory. Instead, the road to Jerusalem went through Karbala, an Iraqi city holy to Shias, said the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, so he went to war with Iraq. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader since 1989, used its proxies—Hizbullah, the Shia militia in Lebanon, and the Palestinian militant groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad—to strike Israeli targets and avoid direct confrontation. When Israel attacked Iran’s nuclear programme and its scientists in Tehran, the capital, in recent years, Mr Khamenei’s advisers called for “strategic patience”.

That has all changed. Iran’s salvo of over 300 drones, cruise and ballistic missiles launched at Israel on April 13th heralds “a paradigm shift”, according to Ahmad Dastmalchian, Iran’s former ambassador to Lebanon. The firepower stunned many Iranians, far exceeding the volley that Iran sent in response to America’s assassination of its top general, Qassim Soleimani, in 2020. The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, says the regime is now working with “a new equation.” “The era of strategic patience is over,” said an adviser to the Iranian president on X (formerly Twitter) on April 14th.

Source » economist