The late “father” of the Iranian missile program, Tehrani Moghaddam,
“the one who bombarded Ben-Gurion Airport” – Claimed on IRGC Twitter account
The current round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in “Operation Protective Edge,” illustrates the regional isolation of Hamas. Almost three days into the operation, no leading Arab actor is rushing to help Hamas and the Palestinians either in Gaza or in the regional and international arena.
Egypt continues to fight the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is the Palestinian branch, despite once playing a key role in mediating between Israel and Hamas. Now, however, Egypt is maintaining a low profile and prefers to grapple with its own domestic problems. As for the inter-Arab arena, it is more divided than ever and lacks any central actor willing or able to lead an effort in the regional and international arenas to put a stop to the campaign.
Iran Steps into the Arab Void
Iran has long been trying to fill the Arab void that has emerged. As in the past, Iran is now springing to the aid of Hamas despite the tension between them that stems from the crisis in Syria. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei keeps attacking the “Zionist regime” and supporting the Palestinians with calls to come to their assistance.1 President Hassan Rouhani, for his part, continues to maintain a low media profile with regard to the military operation.
In an announcement on July 9, the spokeswoman of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) called on the “Arab and Islamic states and the human rights organizations” to react firmly and put an end to what she called “Israel’s crimes” against the Palestinian people during the month of Ramadan. The spokeswoman stressed that Israel’s acts only intensify the hatred of the “Zionist regime” among the Muslim states and all peace-loving nations.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, Hussein Amir-Abdollahian, said that Israel believes it can exploit the crisis in the region and continue its attacks on Gaza, “but it will soon realize that the response of the Palestinian resistance groups will make Tel Aviv regret this.”
“The Father of the Revolutionary Guard’s Missile Program Is Firing at Tel Aviv”
As the operation continues, activity on social networks, some of which are identified with the IRGC, is intensifying, glorifying the role of Iran in general and of the IRGC in particular in upgrading the Palestinian terror organizations’ ability to launch rockets “into the heart of the cities in Israel.” A Twitter account identified with the IRGC proclaimed, “Oh my senior commander, the shahid Hassan Tehrani, Fajr missiles are falling on Tel Aviv every morning”; 2 and “the shahid Tehrani Moghaddam, father of the missile program of the Revolutionary Guard, is the one who bombarded Ben-Gurion Airport.”3
Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam was in charge of the IRGC’s self-sufficiency program for weapons and military equipment and is considered the “father of Iran’s missile program.” He was killed when an IRGC ammunition warehouse exploded on November 12, 2011. When Moghaddam’s daughter met with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, he told her that without her father’s help during the Second Lebanon War, Hizbullah could not have contended with the “Zionist entity.”
Meanwhile, the Twitter account identified with the IRGC quotes the Hamas declaration that “all the [Israeli] cities are close” to Gaza; it has posted a banner from the Hamas site that says repeats: “All the cities are close to Gaza.” 4
Iran’s English-language Press TV and Arabic channel al-Alam, which broadcasts propaganda to Arab and Western audiences, are continuing to report on the conflict in the same vein as the Iranian spokespeople, extolling the “achievements” of the Palestinian organizations that are “firing deep into Israeli territory” while quoting announcements of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
From Iran’s standpoint, the continued bombardment of major Israeli cities after three days of fighting constitutes an achievement. Iran’s investment in providing the terror organizations with missiles and the know-how to produce them is yielding fruit for Tehran, serving its aim of being considered the real leader of the anti-Israeli resistance camp as the Arab countries remained mired in crisis.
IDF Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael (Mickey) Segall, an expert on strategic issues with a focus on Iran, terrorism, and the Middle East, is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and at Foresight Prudence.