Why does Iran test fire ballistic missiles at a time when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) hasn’t been fully implemented? Why does Iran need to launch such a brouhaha and propaganda? If we take a look at the Iranian regime’s propaganda and media machine we will see a full scenery of saber-rattling and power-mongering through scenes of ballistic missile tests.
A glance at the situation inside Iran and the society being described as a powder keg by many analysts allows us to realize why the regime in Tehran is so concerned. On a daily basis senior Iranian regime officials are warning about the consequences of the current economy and youth unemployment crisis, parallel to the horrible situation the country’s workers are in. However, considering the fact that the ruling system is unable to respond to the people’s demands, it is attempting to resort to hollow saber-rattling to cement a climate of fear in the society and silence the restive Iranian nation.
The setbacks suffered in the nuclear negotiations as the regime was forced to forgo many of its ambitions, the bitter rifts seen in the top brass and especially the defeat supreme leader Ali Khamenei suffered in the late February sham twin elections, provoke the Iranian people to rise in protest, and severely lowers the spirit of Iranian regime proxies inside the country and abroad. More than ever before the regime’s ranks and files have been seen defecting. In such circumstances, unable to resort to any other measures, Tehran sees the only solution in launching such shows of ballistic missile tests. Of course, this all comes at a price.
“White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Washington will respond to this development with unilateral and multilateral tools… The Pentagon spokesman said Iran’s missile tests are only one of the concerning and destructive activities of this country, continuing despite the sealed nuclear deal,” Iran state TV reported on March 9th.
Broadcasting such reactions from state TV is part of this entire farce as the regime attempts to depict a posture not concerned about reactions seen from the United States.
“Resolutions are merely dreams on paper. Missiles are realities on the ground,” said Revolutionary Guards deputy commander Hossein Salami in an attempt to claim Tehran is not even concerned of its dossier being referred to the United Nations Security Council, which of course will come with dire consequences. However, it is crystal clear that the mullahs’ regime in Iran, following the JCPOA, is no longer in the “good old days” when its firebrand president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in power who described UNSC resolutions as nothing but “worthless paper.” The Iranian regime has learned very well the seriousness of the situation on the ground. Therefore, the saber-rattling heard from the deputy IRGC chief actually shows to what extent Tehran is actually in need of staging such shows to thump its chest, and it is even willing to pay the resulting consequences.
One crisis that is engulfing the Iranian regime is the circumstances of its proxies abroad.
‘Vatan-e Emrouz’ daily wrote on March 10th: “The skies were heard rumbling yesterday! From Iraq to Syria, and from Yemen to Lebanon, as all were left in awe of the sounds of Iran’s missiles rumbling. The missiles containing the famous quote of the founder of the Islamic revolution regarding the Zionist regime, ‘Israel must be wiped off the planet’ in Hebrew.”
The tacit meaning of Iran’s proxies being “in awe” in the abovementioned countries is a reference to the fact that they are truly despair in this day and age. In all areas the Iranian regime’s forces are under a series of political and military blows, and the written sentence on the missiles indicates that Iran is especially concerned about the Lebanese Hezbollah. This group has been under increasing pressure from various parties and political prisoner groups, in addition to public opinion in Lebanon for its all-out allegiance to the Iranian regime and their crimes in Syria, along with its destructive measures in the political atmosphere of Lebanon itself. Hezbollah forces are also suffering severe casualties in Syria and literally on the verge of complete disintegration. As a result, maintaining Hezbollah’s ranks and files, along with its posture is the utmost priority for the Iranian regime.
Behind all the saber-rattling and when the dust falls, the actual capacity of Iran’s missile capabilities is nothing to boast about. These missiles are actually built based on technology belonging to the 1960s and 70s at best, directly or indirectly purchased from North Korea, China or Russia, or assembled from similar models. Claims these ballistic missiles are “precision perfect” are ridiculous, as anyone familiar with these affairs knows quite well that ballistic missiles lack such accuracy unless one enjoys the satellite remote control technology, which Tehran still yearns. These blind missiles are nothing but a terrorist leverage and all this very old hardware can be wiped out in 20 minutes under a U.S. attack, as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif himself once said. Iran’s propaganda and brouhaha can only lift the spirits of the regime’s forces for a few days. Nothing more.