Every year now, it seems, we go through the big Iranian Armageddon scare. Last year it was the August 22nd debacle, this year it was a report from Iranian media about the “final response” that was coming to Israel and its supporters on world Quds Day, listed in the Iranian news story as falling on October 12. Tips have been trickling in all week quoting this passage:

“The US loses all opportunities to cooperate with regional and other world states by trying to support a regime (the Zionist regime) which is now at its weakest political and social position,” [Iranian spokesman Gholam-Hossein] Elham said.

He warned that Washington’s insistence on its wrong policies and arrogant approaches would have no result “but further political disgrace” for itself.

Referring to the approaching World Qods Day, the spokesman stressed, “Supporters of the Zionist regime will definitely receive the final response for their support on that day.”

Websites have been pimping this bluster for the past month and it was even picked up by Fox News, which quoted the “final response” line — without also quoting the lede from the Iranian story: “Supporters of the Zionist regime will receive their response during the world Qods Day’s rallies, government spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Elham, said Wednesday.” That makes it sound like they were talking about a verbal response, not some surprise attack. And the punchline? As far as I can tell, the Iranian story got the date of Quds Day wrong. It was last Friday, not today, unless they’re doing some special Quds thing in Tehran. Which, judging from the newswires, they aren’t.

Hawks need to do better about crying wolf over this stuff. Bloggers, thankfully, mostly held off on this one but every time some saber-rattling gets tagged as the signal for the Iranian Pearl Harbor and then doesn’t pan out, it gives the left something new to point to as “evidence” that the threat doesn’t exist at all. It cuts to the heart of the debate over Iran: are they so fanatic that they’d telegraph the date of a surprise attack by either announcing it beforehand or coordinating it with some Shiite holiday, or are they pragmatic enough that they’d keep mum in order to retain the advantage of surprise? I’m guessing the latter but your mileage may vary.