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Senior IRGC Man Says No Country Dares Attack Iran

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Emboldened by a modest US response to the killing of American soldiers, the former head of IRGC intelligence, Hossein Taeb, has claimed no country dares attack Iran. 

Taeb, still a senior Revolutionary Guard official and an advisor to its commander-in-chief, said during an event on Thursday that the Islamic Republic is celebrating its 45th year since its establishment while no superpower has the courage for a military attack on Iran. 

This week, the international community witnessed the US retaliation for approximately 180 attacks carried out by Iran-backed militia on US targets in the region since the Gaza war began on October 7, in strikes in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. On February 2, the US carried out airstrikes on more than 85 targets in Syria and Iraq , aiming at Iranian-backed forces including the group responsible for the Jordan strike that killed three American service members and injured over 40 others. A day later, American and British warplanes, with support from six allies, launched strikes at dozens of sites Houthi militants, one of Iran’s biggest proxies.

The White House is under pressure mainly by the Republicans for a direct confrontation with Iran, though so far, has preferred to engage more directly with the proxies for fear of a wider conflict. 

A Tomahawk land attack missile (TLAM) is launched from the US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Gravely against Houthi military targets in Yemen, February 3, 2024.

Every year in February, the government in Tehran holds about 10 days of nationwide events and gatherings to mark the anniversary of its establishment, the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The propaganda line has been the same for decades: Iran is a global powerhouse and is thriving despite growing international sanctions and a plethora of domestic problems. 

Taeb claimed that “it is impossible for superpowers to escalate pressure on Iran to the point that economic problems and pressure on people’s livelihoods lead to collapse.” Iran has been a scene of growing anti-regime labor and civil protests over economic woes and human rights abuses in recent years but the boldest uprising was the nationwide revolt that started after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in 2022 that came to be known as the Women, Life, Freedom movement. 

The regime quashed months of rallies, killing about 600 people and arresting about 22,000. The crackdown on dissent and acts of social disobedience, mainly through women appearing unveiled in public, is intensifying day by day. 

Taeb also downplayed the efficacy of measures to pressure Iran by the US and Israel, an idea that surprisingly resonates with countless officials in the US and other countries as well as Iranian dissidents and opposition figures. They concur that punitive measures are not enough to contain Iran in its destabilizing acts as it is advancing its nuclear and missile capabilities, with some saying that the international community’s appeasement with Tehran has only encouraged it. “America sought to confine Iran with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), then with JCPOA 2… it aimed to restrict Tehran’s military and regional power, consequently weakening Iran,” Taeb mentioned as instances of the US failure.

He boasted that Iran is now seen as a major threat against the US. “They wanted Iran to be only a normal country, but we turned into a regional power and threat. Now the world acknowledges Iran as one of the three countries challenging American hegemony,” he said, claiming, “Today, they say Iran has become a power of Islamic resistance and a regional force, meaning it will defeat American hegemony and itself become a hegemon.”

Last year, Taeb claimed the US had sent messages to the regime through three neighboring countries of Iraq, Qatar and Oman, saying that it is not looking to overthrow the regime. The claims were not corroborated by Washington. 

Taeb was pushed out as the head of IRGC’s intelligence in 2022, but maintains significant influence in the country’s intelligence apparatus, with political analyst Morteza Kazemian calling him as “one of the most feared men in Iran’s security system.” Taeb has close relations with the Supreme Leader’s son Mojtaba Khamenei, a former comrade during the 1980s war with Iraq. 

His dismissal came following multiple mysterious incidents in which IRGC officers and operatives were killed or died in unexplained circumstances. Iran blamed Israel for some of the incidents. Taeb was harshly criticized by social media activists and politicians for failing to detect and prevent Israel’s operations in Iran. The fact that an Israeli news outlet, Kaan News reported Taeb’s removal from his post several days before its confirmation by Iranian officials, was another indication that Israel had access to insider information from the IRGC Intelligence Organization.