INVOLVED IN THIS ARTICLE:

Brigadier General Qassam Soleimani

Brigadier General Qassam Soleimani

IRGC – Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

IRGC – Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

IRGC-Qods Force

IRGC-Qods Force

An investigation by the Reuters news agency this week revealed that Iranian military leaders developed the plans to strike the Saudi oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais. Details of possible strikes were discussed at length in at least five meetings and final approval was issued in September.

According to three officials quoted in the Reuters story, “these meetings took place at a secure location inside a compound in southern Tehran, and (Supreme Leader Ali) Khamenei attended one of those meetings held at his residence, also inside the compound.” The story added: “One of those at the meetings was Yahya Rahim Safavi, Khamenei’s top military adviser and deputy to Qassem Soleimani, who leads the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ foreign and secret military operations.”

The official familiar with the decision-making process said that “a Saudi seaport was among the possible targets discussed at the outset.” The plan then evolved into attacking the two oil facilities because they would make headlines and do economic damage while simultaneously delivering a strong message.

One official said that agreement on targeting Saudi Aramco was “almost unanimous, with the idea being to demonstrate Iran’s military capability.”

What Reuters has uncovered is not surprising. Tehran’s aggressive behavior in the region is well known. It is both the largest state supporter of terrorism and the greatest destabilizing influence on the region’s security and stability. The Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi oil installations were not in fact a response to the US-imposed economic sanctions but they were Iran’s way of protecting its nuclear program. The attacks mirror Iran’s ongoing support for terrorism and ballistic threats.

Some may attempt to use this nuclear deal narrative in order to justify Tehran’s behavior, but Saudi oil facilities were also targeted in the 1980s. Iran’s support for terrorist militias in the region and their interventions remain clear obstacles.

As usual, however, Tehran is taking advantage of events to further its aims. It would not have dared do so without international silence concerning its terrorism and the failure to punish it. Iran has gone so far in the past as to increase its aggression by shooting down a US drone and seizing a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, through which approximately 20 percent of global oil traffic passes.

Tehran has also announced the creation of stockpiles of enriched uranium, which is a clear violation of the 2015 nuclear deal and represents the resumption of its nuclear weapons program. We have heard, in the past few days, a frank criticism of the soft attitude toward Iran from French Defense Minister Florence Parly. In a speech at the annual Manama Dialogue in Bahrain, the minister criticized Washington for not responding to the attacks committed by Iran in recent months. “The booby-trapping of vessels proceeded unchallenged and a drone was shot down,” Parly said. “And these things happened with no action taken and major oil facilities were bombed, so where will it stop?”

Indeed, there is an opportunity to discipline Tehran today in light of the growing demonstrations sweeping Arab countries and Iran itself. The Iranian regime is responsible for devastation and destruction in the region. Everybody wants to contain it and its terror and dismantle its militias, which are responsible for great destruction in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Or will we let opportunities pass and so repeat the mistake that happened with North Korea, when the US was not willing to strike a nuclear facility there? Instead there were talks between the US and North Korea that worked out to the advantage of Pyongyang.

Since 2006, there have been four nuclear crises and we know that Iran has the capability to become more dangerous because of its terrorist militias roaming the region. If Tehran becomes nuclear, it will not be deterred by anyone from handing that power to its militias, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons will become a dangerous reality.

Source » arabnews

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