Ironically to what we usually hear from the Islamic Republic of Iran, FM Javad Zarif claims that absolutely no Iranian leaders has ever threatened Israel with annihilation. “When did we say we want to annihilate Israel? Find one person that has said so. Nobody has said that” says Zarif firing back at a challenging question put to him by the French weekly, Le Point why the motto, “Death to Israel” is plastered on the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ missiles?
Doubtlessly Zarif’s denial comes in sharp contrast with too long list of statements made by top Iranian officials including the former and current leader describing Israel as a “cancerous tumor” that should entirely be “removed” from the region.
If everybody -including Zarif himself- realizes that his weird statement is a false, then the fundamental question is how we should read Zarif’s blatant denial? To my perception there are two answers to the question: a simple easy answer and an in-depth one.
The simple answer to the question is as following: Zarif is lying. Once he is trapped by foreign media asking about the Israel’s’ destruction as repeatedly heard from Iran, he has no choice but obvious lie. In other words, Zarif as a familiar diplomat with international norms is aware he cannot repeat the rhetoric allegations about the destruction of another state that is a member of the UN. Zarif is well aware that he would be under attack by hardliners inside Iran for his denial. No matter who has said that motto and how many years, Zarif is not in the position to repeat it despite the fact he was aware he would be underscathing attack by hardliners inside Iran for his denial. As an example and in the same vein, a couple of years ago he had been grilled by hard-line MPs for his “reactionary stance towards the Zionist regime and the Holocaust” as the aftermath of an interview in which he entirely rejected that anyone, including the supreme leader Khamenei, has ever denied the Holocaust. “I have spoken to the leader on this issue. He rejects and condemns the killing of innocent people.” said Zarif during the interview adding that the statement in the leader’s website suggesting otherwise “was simply a mistranslation.”
Despite the fact that the above answer is not wrong but it is not accurate enough for it covers only the Zarif’s individual intent of avoiding giving any pretext to foreign media. Notwithstanding, the second and in-depth answer –which I crucially hold- argues that it is not Zarif but the leader himself who no longer denies the existence of Israel though he himself dose not dare to openly declare it. This argument is supported by several undeniable findings. Here I individuate my argument to only two following facts:
- At least Zarif in his position as Iran FM twice and in separate denials blatantly rejected that “anyone” in the Islamic Establishment –including the leader Khamenei- has ever denied the Holocaust or threatened Israel with annihilation. Although he was severely fired back by hardliners but the leader’s silence says something differently. We have never heard Khamenei publicly, though mildly, blame his FM for such a fire back on one of the fundamental principles of the Islamic Establishment as we have also never heard that he secretly blamed Zarif for taking such stands. The question, then, is why Khamenei stays silent?
- It was just within two month since the victory of Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979 once the Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic of Iran, ordered the breaking off diplomatic relations with Egypt for recognition of Israel by Anwar Sadat according to the Camp David Accords. Nonetheless, once the same event took place by the unexpected visit (late October 2018) of Israel’s PM to Oman accompaniedmeaningfully by the Israeli intelligence chief and military officials warmly welcomed bySultan Qaboos –Iran’s close friend-, ironically not even a single voice of rejection or blame ever heard from revolutionary Iran’ officials from top to bottom. Such a silence, no way, can be interpreted as the Zarif’s individual intent of avoiding giving any pretext to foreign media. It is, in fact, the entire Islamic Establishment’s silent endorsement to Oman’s support of two state solution (78% Israel, 22% Palestine) which necessarily but implicitly means the recognition of Israel by Iran at first.
Moreover, not only this but also once the Netanyahu’s recent visit to Muscat followed by Oman’s FM Yusef bin Alavi’s statement advising “other” countries to treat Israel like “a state present in the region” no one doubted that the message from Oman –the Iran and US secret