Over the past few months, Iranian provocation in the Middle East topped headlines worldwide. Tensions have been high since the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord a year ago—and then instituted harsher sanctions in a bid to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions and toe the line. As the economic vice grip tightened, the Islamic Republic began to act out…
The mullahs in Tehran looked to the European Union (EU) to make economic concessions to bail them out of their economic woes, combining appeals for relief with thinly veiled threats of the consequences of failing to come to their aid. Iranian incitement kicked up a gear in May, when Tehran was accused of using its terror proxies to sabotage oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Worldwide outrage ensued, with the US deploying an aircraft carrier and bomber task force to the region. Tensions have threatened to erupt ever since.
From a downed US drone, a war of words with US President Donald Trump on social media, Tehran seizing civilian tankers, an Iranian drone shot down after threatening a US warship to publicly boasting about surpassing the uranium enrichment limit and increasing the purity of uranium, thus taking another step closer to the production of nuclear weapons as the world watches, Iran’s ongoing provocation rattles the foundations of a region teetering on the abyss of all-out war at the best of times.
At the time of going to press, tensions continue to mount, and the US and Iran each threaten military action against the other. One thing does, however, remain clear. Should the situation escalate to war, Tehran vowed that the full brunt of its wrath will be reserved for a singular target: Israel.
“Iran leadership doesn’t understand the words ‘nice’ or ‘compassion,’ they never have. Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world…The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else…Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”
—President Donald Trump takes to Twitter to warn Tehran against actions that might spark war.
“This is an unjustifiable intervention in civilian shipping that further exacerbates what is already a tense situation…A further escalation in the region would be very dangerous…We stand shoulder to shoulder with our UK partners in this serious situation.”
—A press release from the German Federal Foreign Office after Iran seized two civilian freight ships, one belonging to the UK
“Now Iran is trying to lash out to reduce the pressure. They attack tankers, they down American drones, they’re firing missiles at their neighbors. It’s important to respond to these actions not by reducing the pressure, but by increasing the pressure. We should stand up to Iran’s aggression now.”
—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
“Our strategy is [to wipe] Israel [off] the world’s political geography…Israelis won’t even have a cemetery in Palestine to bury their corpses.”
—Brigadier General Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
“If the US attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan.”
—Mojtaba Zolnour, chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission
“You will witness the demise of the enemies of humanity, meaning the degenerate American civilization, and the demise of Israel.”
—Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei
“The struggle against the Iranian aggression is not just ours, it needs to be the struggle of the entire world…I would like to remind you that for many years we stood alone…The time has come for the entire enlightened world to understand the severity of the danger from Iran…The time has come for the entire world to come out against them.”
—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
“Iran has long been secretly ‘enriching,’ in total violation of the terrible 150 Billion Dollar deal made by John Kerry and the Obama Administration. Remember, that deal was to expire in a short number of years. Sanctions will soon be increased, substantially!”
—President Donald Trump
“The Europeans should act upon their undertakings to guarantee Iran’s oil sales, transportation, return of Iran’s assets and revenues of crude sales.”
—Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister, looks to the EU to rescue Tehran from its economic woes after announcing that Iran had surpassed the 600-pounds (300-kg) enriched uranium limit.
“There is no credible reason for Iran to expand its nuclear program, and there is no way to read this as anything other than a crude and transparent attempt to extort payments from the international community. This is an interpretation the Iranian regime itself readily admits, stating openly that it will continue to engage in such provocations until it receives various economic benefits.”
—US Ambassador Jackie Wolcott in an address to the IAEA board
“The deal is not in good health, but it’s still alive. We hope and we invite Iran to reverse these steps and go back to full compliance with the agreement.”
—Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief attempting to wield a cushiony policy of appeasement to coax Iran back into compliance
“There are those in Europe who will not wake up until Iranian nuclear missiles fall on Europe. But then it will be too late.”
—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comments on the EU’s announcement that it will not take any steps to penalize Iran after it openly deviated from the limitations set by the 2015 nuclear deal.
Source: See individual quotes
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