Iran’s IRGC Quds Force Commander Esmail Qaani

IRGC General Warns UK, France, Germany, and Regional Leaders

Thursday, 05/16/2024

Esmail Qaani, the commander of IRGC Quds Force, issued a threat to France, Germany, and the UK accusing them of supporting Israel in intercepting Iran’s barrage of missiles and drones last month.

“All criminals should know that their actions and crimes have been recorded. France, Germany, and England should not think that that night [April 13] they came, brought their planes, and left, the matter was over and done with. Yes, that night ended, but their accountability remains.,” Qaani said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a commemoration of one of the commanders killed during an attack on Iran’s consulate in Syria by an alleged Israeli air strike earlier in April, which triggered Iran’s unprecedented aerial bombardment of Israel, Qaani said: “The American president, who is devoted to defending the Zionist regime, officially announced to the Israelis; ‘I will not enter the conflict.’”

Asserting that the US used "the maximum defense power" to protect Israel from Iran, he warned that regional leaders "who rely on America" should be "more sensible." "Is America going to defend them more than the Zionist regime?"

Critics in the US have warned that President Joe Biden's policies to pressure Israel in the Gaza war will send the wrong signal to allies in the Middle East and elsewhere.

In its first direct attack on Israeli territory, Iran launched over 350 drones, missiles and ballistic missiles on April 13, Most of the attack was intercepted by Israel and a US-led coalition.

US President Joe Biden said US forces "helped Israel take down nearly all" drones and missiles launched by Iran, and the US Central Command (Centcom) reported destroying more than 80 drones and six ballistic missiles.

The White House later said they would not take part in any further retaliatory action against Iran, a stance that Qaani referred to in his speech as a means to threaten regional Arab countries and European powers.

“The victory is not about the missiles and drones that reached the occupied land. Many secrets are hidden within this operation, which will take a long time to unravel,” Qaani said of the air attack as the regime plays down its failings.

As part of his threat against Western countries for supporting Israel, Iran’s archenemy, Qaani included Germany in his threat. While Germany did not take part, it condemned Iran’s attack, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz branding it “unjustifiable and highly irresponsible”, stressing that “Germany stands by Israel.”

President Biden's Iran policy in general has been widely criticized for being too soft. By reversing Trump's maximum-pressure policy in pursuit of a nuclear agreement, Biden and his team did not enforce oil export sanctions imposed in 2018. Also, prisoner swaps and waivers have freed $16 billion in previously frozen Iranian funds, which pumped tens of billions of dollars into the regime's coffers.

As part of the Biden administration's sanctions waiver in 2023, Iran gained access to upwards of $10 billion in electricity revenues previously held in escrow in Iraq—also, the US made a deal to swap prisoners detained by Tehran in exchange for the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian funds that had been frozen in South Korea.

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