Sanctions have aggravated infighting among Iran’s ruling clique. Now the US must take care not to play into hardliners’ hands

Looking at the Iranian press over the past few weeks you would be forgiven for thinking that Iran is in a state of hypertension. The long list of new military hardware ready to fire against the “enemy” is mindboggling.

While punitive sanctions are taking effect, Iran continues to face the threat of a military strike from Israel. At the same time the US refuses to remove from the table the possibility of military action. The inauguration of the Bushehr nuclear power plant on Saturday – described by Israel as “totally unacceptable” – seems to have made matters even worse.

On Monday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards naval force commander, Ali Fadavi, announced the production of two new high-speed boats with missile launchers. He said Iran had “reached unparalleled power” in cruise missile defence. These are new versions of Zolfaqar and Seraj 1 rocket launchers. They are “unrivalled” in high speed, according to Iran’s defence minister, Ahmad Vahidi. He warned the “enemies” of Iran that they are “playing with fire”.


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