After initially playing down the attack, which caused significant damage and exposed embarrassing security lapses, Iran blamed Israel. “The method Israel is using is dangerous, and it could spread to anywhere in the world,” a spokesman said, prompting fears of retaliation. Laying a possible smokescreen, a previously unknown dissident group, “Cheetahs of the Homeland”, claimed responsibility.
The crude idea behind the maximum pressure policy – that life in Iran is rendered so intolerable that the regime sues for peace or is overthrown in a people’s revolt – is bankrupt. Most Iranians, however badly misled, abused, oppressed and betrayed by a corrupt and incompetent theocracy, will nevertheless put their country first if attacked from without.