November 19, 2023 | The Jerusalem Post

Ten things Iran thinks it achieved on Oct. 7 – analysis

Iran’s IRGC leader gave a speech providing insight into the Iran regime’s prophecies about Israel and the US being defeated.
November 19, 2023 | The Jerusalem Post

Ten things Iran thinks it achieved on Oct. 7 – analysis

Iran’s IRGC leader gave a speech providing insight into the Iran regime’s prophecies about Israel and the US being defeated.

In a speech on Saturday, Hossein Salami, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), claimed that Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel was a step towards its defeat, as well as that of the US. He made the speech in Tehran during a large anti-Israel rally, in a typical rant about the supposed inevitability of the fall of Israel and the US. Yet October 7 prompted a new drive by Iran to carry out attacks using its proxies in the region.

The trend in Iran’s thinking can be seen in the regime’s comments and actions. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned on Saturday that the war in Gaza could expand across the region, as Iran has continued to attack US forces in Syria and Iraq using proxy militias.

October 7 was a surprise and turning point 

Salami’s speech provided a glimpse into how Iran views the war, as a kind of arc of history that Iran is spelling out, in which a process that spans the last century is coming to a close. Iran believes Israel is now accelerating toward defeat and that it is winning, and it is willing to wait many years for this. Iran’s prediction though, which sounds more like prophecy, is that October 7 was a turning point.

That turning point is in human history, Iran believes. Salami argued that it goes back to the era when the British, French, and US were more powerful in the region, a “reflection of the crimes and atrocities of the British, French, and American governments and the Zionist regime stretching back 100 years.” He said that Israel was “displacing” Palestinians for 75 years – but now October 7 has changed things.

“After the First World War, when the guardianship of the Eastern Mediterranean region was transferred to England and France, the British government prepared the ground for the transfer of Zionists from all over the world to Palestine with the Balfour Declaration,” he said.

Israel’s military dominance has been tested

Salami argues that Israel achieved victory in 1948 and other wars, such as 1967, illustrating its dominance. These victories were achieved through supposed “massacres,” according to Iran. Iran blames Israel for massacres in 1948, 1956, and also in 1982 in Lebanon. For the Iranian regime, the talking point is used to portray Israel as winning wars only through massacring civilians, not through legitimate warfare. 

Iran’s regime, which has backed the Palestinians for decades, now sees a way to transform terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad into a fighting force. It has done this with Hezbollah but has not succeeded generally when working with Sunni groups, such as Hamas.

Palestinians embraced ‘martyrdom’

Salami didn’t say this in his speech, but he references the history of Palestinian “resistance,” that after the 1979 “Islamic revolution, the Palestinian movement was revived. The Palestinians, who were fighting the Zionists with stones until then, were gradually armed, even when they were surrounded by the Zionist intelligence system in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.” 

Iran sought to arm terrorist groups and increase the range of their missiles and drones, for instance.

October 7 attack shows Israel needs foreign support 

The speech by the Iranian terrorist leader asserted that the “Al-Aqsa flood” attack of October 7 is an example of Hamas’s prowess after many wars, like in 2009 and 2014, and he also references the Second Lebanon War in 2006: “The Al-Aqsa flood showed that foreign aid and governments like the US cannot save Israel from the danger of collapse… When America reaches out to the Zionists, it is too late. The Zionist army, which had built itself into a legendary army, can no longer prevent the implementation of heavy subversive operations against the Zionist regime, nor that terrible and complex intelligence system that the Zionists relied on to sleep peacefully at night.” 

October 7 was a turning point in how it shows that US support for Israel won’t be enough.

Salami then discusses how Iran will supposedly unite its various fronts for a multi-front war against Israel, a country that he says is not very large, and as such susceptible to pressure from the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah, and militias in Syria. Salami didn’t reference these groups by name, but spelled out the distances across Israel from North and South, hinting at a process of encirclement. 

Salami argued that the world today finds the US “repugnant,” to use the war in Gaza to mobilize anti-US sentiment. To that end, Iran is working with Russia and China, and Salami points out in his speech that support from the US and the UK could be used against Western countries.

The Iranians believe that Israel was shaken to its core by October 7, with Salami saying that when US Central Command commanders visited, they found the country in shock. Now, the US and Israel work very closely together; the US has sent two aircraft carriers to the Eastern Mediterranean since October 7. Iran sees this as a signal of Israel’s weakness and wants to exploit it.

Iran has used the war that Israel – and, it claims, the US – are fighting against Hamas in Gaza to spread anti-US propaganda across the region. Pro-Iran militias in Iraq and Syria have carried out around 60 attacks against US forces in that time as well. Iran wants to leverage the Hamas massacre to create more tensions, and to use it as an example of how it believes the US and Israel can be defeated. Salami admitted that Israel is winning to some extent, but that the US and Israel are fighting against “children,” essentially just against civilians, not meeting a force at its level. He also boasted that Hamas has been able to target Israeli armored vehicles.

He too hints that there may be more attacks coming, an “invisible” war or a war of “ghosts”: “The ghost war has started and the story continues, Gaza is on the way to victory. The land belongs to them [Hamas and PIJ], they hit the multi-million dollar Merkava [tank] with a rocket worth a few dollars [RPGs], and the invisible war is in favor of Palestine. War is always in favor of the one who defends himself, and war is always in favor of the believers, and God’s help descends upon them.” He calls this the “path of a war of attrition and will gradually gain its victory.”

Salami argued that the war will go on for many years, that Iran and those it backs now want to take “revenge” and that this has no “expiration date;” this threat is extended to the US. Salami added that Israel will now face years of threats and instability. Hamas said something similar on Friday, claiming that “by giving a green light to the Israeli occupation to commit more crimes and massacres, the US holds a political and legal responsibility that has no statute of limitations.” 

Salami claimed that the October 7 attack was a step in the direction of endless war that would bring “anxiety” to Israel as an integral part of everyday life.

Seth Frantzman is the author of Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machine, Artificial Intelligence and the Battle for the Future (Bombardier 2021) and an adjunct fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War