Despite the signing of a landmark nuclear deal in November with the P5+1 world powers, and a moderate tone coming from President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, Iranian defense officials escalated sharply their rhetoric against the United States over the weekend.
On Sunday, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy Commander Ali Fadavi said that the US knows that its aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf would be sunk if it launched a military strike on Iran.
“The Americans can sense by all means how their warships will be sunk with 5,000 crews and forces in combat against Iran and how they should find its hulk in the depths of the sea,” said Fadavi, according to Fars news agency.
“They cannot hide themselves in the sea since the entire Middle East region, western Europe, the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Straits of Hormuz are monitored by us and there is no place for them to hide.”
Also Sunday, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan touted the Iranian military’s ability to respond to an American attack, Fars reported.
“The Iranian Armed Forces are an intertwined and coherent complex that can give a decisive response to any threat at any level and any place under the command of the Commander-in-Chief,” Dehqan said in a ceremony marking the 35th anniversary of the revolution that brought the current Islamic regime to power.
“The enemy can never assess and think of the range of the response given by the powerful and mighty Armed Forces of the Islamic Iran,” he added.
The bellicose rhetoric follows Saturday’s announcement by an Iranian admiral that Iran had dispatched warships to the North Atlantic, while Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced the Americans as liars who, while professing to be friends of Iran, would bring down his regime if they could. He also said it was “amusing” that the US thought Iran would reduce its “defensive capabilities.”
On Friday, Iranian state TV ran a documentary featuring a computerized video of Iran’s drones and missiles bombing Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ben Gurion Airport and the Dimona nuclear reactor in a hypothetical retaliation for an Israeli or American strike on the Islamic Republic.
Iranian drones and missiles are also shown in the film carrying out simulated strikes on the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, downing American aircraft and striking American military targets in the Persian Gulf.
The film, entitled “The Nightmare of Vultures,” opens with Supreme Leader Khamenei addressing military academy graduates in 2011, warning: “Anybody who thinks of attacking the Islamic Republic of Iran should be prepared to receive strong slaps and iron fists from the Armed Forces.”
“And America, its regional puppets and its guard dog – the Zionist regime – should know that the response of the Iranian nation to any kind of aggression, attacks or even threats will be a response that will make them collapse from within,” the film shows him saying.
Set to dramatic music, the video shows Iranian drones and missiles carrying out strikes against Tel Aviv’s Kikar Hamedina square, the Azrieli Towers skyscrapers, and the IDF’s Kirya central command complex, as well as Ben Gurion International Airport, Haifa’s Technion, several army and air force bases, and the nuclear reactor in Dimona.
The strike on the Israel’s central command building is shown taking place while former prime minister Ehud Olmert and former defense minister Amir Peretz — who served in that capacity during the 2006 Second Lebanon War — are inside convening a meeting.
A barrage of missiles brings down Tel Aviv’s skyscrapers in a final blow.
Afterwards, Iranian drones and missiles are show attacking the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on its way through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf. Iranian drones are shown downing several American aircraft before sinking the US capital ship. Zooming out to a map of the Middle East marked with US military bases, Iranian missiles are then shown striking American military targets across the Persian Gulf.
In November, Iranian state television aired a shorter animated clip showing Iranian missiles targeting Israeli cities.
Iranian leaders have made repeated threats to wipe Israel off the map, and have threatened to annihilate Tel Aviv should Iran’s nuclear facilities be attacked by the West.
Ilan Ben Zion contributed to this report.