Will there be war?, the Iranians ask themselves

The scene took place yesterday in a central cafe in Tehran.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
11 April 2024 Thursday 23:04
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Will there be war?, the Iranians ask themselves

The scene took place yesterday in a central cafe in Tehran. "Guys, there's going to be war, isn't it?" asked a woman in her late 30s to a group of friends who had gathered for coffee during the second holiday commemoration of Id al-Fitr o the end of the holy month of Ramadan. "Iran will respond, Rahbar reconfirmed it yesterday", assured one of the men at the table.

He was referring to the words of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the traditional prayer that is celebrated on the first day of the festivities. "The evil regime must be punished, and it will be punished", he insisted in front of thousands of people in the great mausoleum in Tehran.

"He will do it, but not from the territory of Iran. It is dangerous. The Israeli minister has already threatened to strike back," added one of the women at the coffee table, while another simply said that "all I know is that I'm afraid," before continuing with the speculation about how Iran will respond to the April 1 attack on its consulate in Damascus that killed seven Revolutionary Guard officers, including three senior generals in charge of relations with Lebanon and Syria , including the logistics to transport weapons to the two countries.

Threats of revenge were then directed at the “Zionist regime”, according to Tehran, and tension and speculation have only increased since then. Many are talking about an attack through the militias that are part of the axis of resistance in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; others speak of a coordinated attack from many fronts that includes Shahed missiles and drones... Yes, the same ones that Russia is using in Ukraine.

It didn't go unnoticed that public television cameras focused on the commander of the aerospace forces when Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei spoke of "punishment" last Wednesday. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh's smile was interpreted in Iran as confirmation that the response had already been approved. Although the reality, said a local analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity, is that only a very small circle knows about the Iranian plans. Fears of an imminent Iranian response grew when German airline Lufthansa, one of two airlines along with Austrian Airlines still flying to Tehran, announced on Wednesday the cancellation of flights to the country, at least for 24 hours. Yesterday it was known that this measure was extended for several days.

All this coincided with a story published by a local news agency on Wednesday night in which the statements of a general were collected assuring that the airspace would be closed from midnight, which had never happened. But the psychological war was already underway not only in Israel, where they were preparing for an attack and several ministers were talking about a response, but in Iran, where the fear of a greater escalation was increasing. No one forgets what happened the night Iran launched a missile attack on a US base in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of the general of the Quds Force, the international division of the Guardian Corps. of the Revolution. General Qassem Soleimani had landed on the morning of January 3, 2020 in Baghdad and the entourage carrying him was attacked by an American drone.

That night, Iran did not close the airspace and a Ukrainian Airlines plane was shot down by two missiles that, according to Iran, were fired at the aircraft that had just taken off from Tehran. All 176 occupants died and Iran argues it was a mistake, although an official investigation has never been completed. Hence the Iranians' fear that something similar will happen again.

"There is no talk of anything else. This morning on the subway everyone was talking about the same thing", explained Hussein, one of the employees of the cafe, about the tension that is being experienced. "I did not remember a moment like this since the assassination of Suleimani, but I think this time it is more dangerous, because it is against Israel", explained this 25-year-old engineering student, who fears that if Iran responds from its territory nothing will stop Israel.

So far the Iranians have been more or less clear that the Government is not looking for a greater escalation in the region. But that is starting to change. "With the blessing of the Almighty, the era of strategic patience for the Iranian nation, as well as for the children and the oppressed people of Gaza, is coming to an end," assured the X network the former commander of the Guardians of the Mohsen Rezai Revolution.