Amid US preparations for airstrikes on Syria, Fars News — linked to the Revolutionary Guards — shifts its propaganda line, declaring that Damascus can deter any attack.
PHOTO: Fars’ Depiction of Syria’s Russian-made Missile Deterring the Americans
Using a “military analyst and strategic studies expert”, the outlet asserts that Syria’s “Supersonic Yakhont and Iskandar Missiles” can “inflict astonishing damage on any invading force, especially the US Navy’s giant warships”.
Amid the propaganda, the article also sends a slightly more subtle message to Israel, declaring that “the Lebanese Hezbollah movement” is also a “serious deterrent”.
Interestingly, Fars does not mention what would be the most serious challenge to any American warplanes — the S-300 missile systems, which were supposed to be delivered by Russia but have yet to appear in Syria. Rumors and conflicting reports surround the current status of the systems.
In another Fars article, a “senior Syrian military expert and retired General” explains, “Under the present conditions the US will undoubtedly experience another defeat similar to that in Iraq if it launches a military attack against Syria.”
And, in yet another entry, the head of the Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, chips in, “They (the Americans) are not able to enter a new war in the region, because neither do their economic capabilities allow them nor do they have a proper morale and high spirit for starting a new war, hence this capability is not envisaged for them.”
Majlis Director General for International Affairs Hossein Sheikholeslam declared on Monday that if the United States intervenes in Syria, “the first victim… would be the Zionist regime (Israel).”
He added that Assad would respond by attacking Israel, which would “flatten the place that is tied to the US’s national security.”
Sheikholeslam’s comments, reported by PressTV, conform to the Iranian media’s propaganda line noted earlier today.
Iran’s Ambassador to Syria added his voice to the rhetoric attacking the West’s response to the chemical weapons massacre.
Mohammad Reza Raouf Sheibani said, “No rational mind can accept the notion that the Syrian government would resort to such a measure (using chemical weapons) just when a team of UN [chemical weapons] inspectors are based in Damascus only 20 kilometers away [from the site of the attack].”
Sheibania doubted western claims that the Assad regime perpetrated the attack, on the grounds that “it would only mean providing a definite excuse for the United States and its allies to engage in military intervention in Syria, and would in one way or another mean political suicide.”
The ambassador added, “Can one buy the idea that a government, which has been under the most difficult conditions and has been resisting all sorts of military, political, security and economic pressures for nearly two and a half years and is now in a better position on the ground than before, would engage in such an act?”
In an interview with state broadcaster IRIB, Iran’s new Oil Minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, stated that his first priority will be to accelerate natural gas production in the South Pars Oil and Gas Field.
He claimed that accelerating production in phases 12, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 at the joint Iran-Qatar South Pars complex, which produce nearly 170 million cubic metres per day, will resolve the country’s energy shortages.
Zanganeh added that would also contribute 300,000 barrels of gas condensates, two million tons of liquefied gas (LPG), and two million tons of ethane to Iran’s daily production.
Following his high-profile meetings in Tehran — part of President Rouhani’s initiative for “engagement” with Gulf States, Sultan Qaboos has commented on Twitter.
We are still trying to analyze this.
HOPE,WORLD PEACE, STABILITY, FRIENDSHIP,IRAN-WORLD-OMAN.http://t.co/pmEi32MS8T
— HM SULTAN QABOOS (@nobpeacpzqaboos) August 26, 2013
In a series of tweets on Tuesday morning, President Rouhani’s office has emphasized its condemnation of the use of chemical weapons.
The significance is not in the content — Rouhani put out this line in an interview last weekend — but in the timing, given the possibility of US and British airstrikes on Syria over the regime’s chemical weapons attacks last Wednesday.
The series of tweets also renew the impression that Rouhani is at odds with — or at least using a far different from — others in the regime. The Supreme Leader’s office harshly denounced the “West” on Monday, and the Foreign Ministry has claimed that Syrian insurgents used the chemical weapons near Damascus.
We completely & strongly condemn use of chemical weapons in #Syriabecause Islamic Republic of Iran is itself victim of chemical weapons 1/2
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) August 27, 2013
Iran suffered chemical weapons attacks by Iraqi forces during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war 2/2
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) August 27, 2013
President Hassan Rouhani has appointed Ali Akbar Torkan as his senior advisor and head of the presidential council of advisors.
Torkan is a leading technocrat member of Rouhani’s trusted inner circle known for holding liberal views about the free market economy.
He served as Defence Minister, and then Transport Minister, during the presidency of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who is a close supporter of Rouhani.
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