Expressing a balanced view on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Iran is risky, as all media are meant to echo the official stance of the Supreme Leader.
However, several social media users noted on Tuesday that even Ali Khamenei sometimes has to retract what he had said earlier without apologizing to anyone or at least make it known that he has changed his view or pretends to have changed it.
On Tuesday, when Khamenei changed his view about Iran’s involvement in Hamas terror attack, several social media users compared his previous comment. Earlier, Khamenei had said, “We intervened due to our enmity with Israel and the result was the victory in the 33-day and 22-day wars. We will help any group that would fight Israel.” But his opinion was different on Tuesday after being cautioned and warned by US officials: “Islamic Iran is being named as the country behind this move [by Hamas]. But they make a mistake. This was done by Palestinians themselves.”
Others in Iran, particularly journalists or media commentators, do not have the luxury of changing their minds voluntarily or otherwise. If the support Hamas in the current war, they are on the safe side. Reminding that Israelis are also entitled to be safe from terrorist attacks is not an option. Judging views from Iran on this matter need to take this reality into account.
In one of such views expressed by former diplomat Jalal Sadatian, he told Roiuydad24 website: “Israel has done something in Gaza that put an end to Palestinians’ tolerance. It was Netanyahu’s policies that turned Hamas’ defensive policies to aggressive action.” This view obviously ignores the fact that Hamas has a military wing with an offensive agenda.
Like all Iranian commentators, Sadatian reverted to the history of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians and the violence by a Lebanese group in Sabra and Shatila in 1982 during the Lebanese civil war charging that the group was an ally of Israel. Meanwhile he blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for all recent violence against Palestinians ignoring that the attack on Saturday was a surprise operation by Hamas.
The most significant part of Sadatian’s analysis is that “Hamas has had no aggressive approach during the past few days.” This comes while Hamas slaughtered at least 250 men and women at a music festival as the starting point of its attack on Israel on October 7.
Meanwhile, in an analysis in the reformist daily Shargh, Hassan Lasjerdi commented, “Israel is likely to start a major operation to make up for its biggest intelligence and security defeat as a result of the great operation launched by resistance forces.” There is an outright bias in the terms “great operation” and “big defeat.”
Lasjerdi further characterized Israel’s situation as a “military fiasco” and praised the Hamas operation as “the great Al-Aqsa Storm.” Like most Iranian analysts, Lasjerdi could not care less for “impartiality” as an essential characteristic of any reporting.
Meanwhile he opined that there are three scenarios ahead for Israel: A limited attack on Gaza and Palestinian territories, attacking the “resistance” bases in regional countries, and getting several countries involved in a larger scale war in the Middle East.
He further opined that the third scenario is not feasible in terms of Israel’s political and military capabilities and its economic potentials. He also ruled out the second scenario by saying that Israel cannot fight the “resistance forces” in Palestine as well as the armies of Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. However, Israel is currently fighting Hamas and Hezbollah at the same time, while Syria and Iran are too intimidated to get directly involved in the conflict.
Another analyst, Kourosh Aliani, who is known for his anti-Israeli views, praised Hams‘ operation as a “unique strategic offensive”. Aliani claimed that Hamas has used infiltrators in the Israeli army to collect intelligence for a whole year before the operation.
This is an example of a series of Iranian analyses by individuals who claim to have access to insiders, but their claims are hard to substantiate, but easy to dismiss.