Iran’s Response: Meaningless So Far

Along with lobbing a few mortar shells, Iran’s regime has responded to the killing of General Soleimani by offering $80 million to anyone who delivers the head of President Trump:

The mullahs of Iran have placed an $80 million bounty on the head of President Donald Trump in revenge for the hit that killed Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani. Iranian state television announced the bounty, framing it as an offer on behalf of the Iranian people.

“If everyone anywhere in the world supports our initiative in Mashhad, on behalf of all of Iran’s people – 80 million Iranians – and each puts aside $1 US, it would equal $80 million,” the report said. “And we would give this $80 million, on our own behalf, as a gift to anyone who brings the head of the person who ordered the murder of the grand figure of our revolution.”

This is the emptiest of threats, of course. No one will do any such thing.

Further, Iran says that it is walking away from its commitments under the Obama/EU nuclear deal:

Iran effectively abandoned the nuclear deal between itself and world powers Sunday as the fallout from the U.S. killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani Friday intensified.

Iran said it would no longer abide by any and all “operational restrictions” on its enrichment of uranium, a key part of the terms of the 2015 nuclear accord that prevented Iran from acquiring sufficient material to build a nuclear bomb.

This, too, is meaningless, as Iran got what it wanted from the nuclear deal up front–billions of dollars and relief from sanctions. Its compliance thereafter has been strictly optional and Iran has always been prepared to walk away from the agreement at its convenience, putting aside the fact that it has been violating its undertakings from the beginning.

However, Iran said it was open to negotiation and would willingly return to full compliance with the deal if the U.S. lifts economic sanctions imposed against it.

Of course it would! If sanctions are removed, the mullahs are willing to enter into another unenforceable agreement! In other words, they would be happy to sell the same bridge twice.

Curiously, the Iranian regime’s news outlet, FARS, says nothing about either the bounty on President Trump’s head or the withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Instead, it applauded the Communist group ANSWER that held an antiwar rally in Times Square.

The mullahs also hailed the Iraqi Parliament’s toothless vote on the presence of foreign troops. And they threatened to “raze” Israel, which as far as we know had nothing to do with killing Soleimani:

“If the US takes any action after our military response, we will level Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council Mohsen Rezayee said minutes into Monday.

Finally, in a bit of dark comedy, the mullahs protested bitterly against Instagram’s deletion of posts honoring Soleimani:

Many people who have posted photos of the late commander on Instagram pages have later complained that the social media platform has removed their posts or photos under the pretext that they violated the rules of the community.

The Iranian lawyers lambasted the move, describing it as clear violation of human rights.

Ali Bahadori Jahromi, the head of lawyers’ center of the judiciary, told FNA that the Instagram and Twitter users who showed their sentiments towards General Soleimani after assassination faced automatic removal of their posts by the social media platforms.

He described the move a violation of the freedom of speech and human rights.

The Iranian mullahs, principled defenders of free speech and human rights! You can’t make this stuff up.

All of this bluster means nothing, obviously. Presumably the mullahs are mulling some sort of military response, but my guess is that they will ponder it for a while and probably, in the end, choose to de-escalate while also trying to save face.

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