Iran stepped up its rhetoric against the US today by threatening to use suicide-bomber attacks against America. Ari Larijani, the former nuclear negotiator, referred to the 13-year-old boy sent by the mullahs to disable an Iraqi tank in the 1980s as a model for the fight against the Americans. Larijani promised an “unexpected response”:
Referring to the US army’s attacks in Pakistan and Syria, Larijani said they would not be answered with diplomatic protests.
“The US method and conduct, expressed by this aggression, will only be stopped by a clear-cut and unexpected response, whose grounds were set by the martyr Hussein Fahmida,” Larijani said during a parliamentary session on Wednesday.
Fahmida was 13 when he detonated an explosive device he carried on him, destroying an Iraqi tank during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.
“America should be aware not to put its huge body on top of the suicide bombers’ explosive devices,” Larijani said.
Larijani was not alone yesterday in Iranian verbal volleys against the US. Supreme leader Ali Khamanai spoke less literally when he warned nations who didn’t respect Iran’s independence that they would “have their hands cut off”. Khamanai said that reconciliation between Iran and the US would not be possible because Iranians hate America too much, presumably because of our opposition to the ruling mullahcracy and our support of the Shah — although the latter occurred before most Iranians were alive.
The threat to use suicide bombers marks a cassus belli, if the US wanted one as a pretext for strikes. Openly threatening attack on a non-belligerent nation gives that country a right to defend itself. Israel didn’t take the bait with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s genocidal lunacy over the last two years, and it would be madness to attack Iran now anyway.
However, that doesn’t diminish the seriousness of an Iranian leader standing in its parliament and endorsing terrorism as a state policy. That’s exactly what Larijani did in this statement today, and the US should respond by placing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on the list of terrorist organizations in order to freeze its funds. The Kyl-Lieberman bill would have done that last year, but it was opposed by Barack Obama and most of the other Democrats in the Senate. Larijani’s threat is an open declaration of Iran as a terrorist state, and a lack of response would encourage others to follow suit.