The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its report on Iran.
Comments from key Iranian officials have not been reassuring. Breaking Israel News reported last April that “Iran is preparing for an all-out war with the US, said Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari on Tuesday at a gathering of senior IRGC commanders in Tehran. Jafari said that Iran’s long-term military plan has been shaped by anticipation of a future war with America in which Iran would be the ‘decisive victors’. ‘For years, we have been building power on the presumption of a widespread war with the US and its allies, and have developed all our capacities and capabilities for decisive victories over such enemies,’ he said, Tasnim News reported. In a statement unlikely to surprise anyone paying attention to Iran’s constant anti-Western rhetoric and threats and its blatant dismissal of international condemnations of its arms developments, Jafari emphasized that a combative solution is prioritized over the weaker tools of diplomacy. ‘Before political and diplomatic options, we have gotten prepared for a military option,” he said.”
In 2014, the Middle East Media Research Institute wrote:
“In two separate speeches, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stressed that the main enemy of the revolution was the U.S. and extolled fighting it as the revolution’s central value… Khamenei also called on Iranians not to be taken in by the U.S.’s overtures, and not to trust it…In his Revolution Day message, both Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan and Iranian Army chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi stressed that Iran longs for the decisive battle with the U.S…
The next day…Iranian Chief of Staff Hassan Firouzabadi told Fars: “Iran is prepared for the decisive war against the U.S. and the Zionist regime.” He added, “Iran has been making plans, conducting maneuvers, and preparing its forces for this battle for years now.” Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) naval commander Ali Fadavi threatened that in battles at sea, his forces would sink American warships: “The Americans can spot swift boats, sea mines, and anti-ship missiles but they cannot grasp axioms such as… ‘God, the Islamic Revolution, and the Supreme Leader [Khamenei].’ On the chest of the IRGC is the [Koran] verse that clearly says that the use of measures against the infidels and the enemies must be promoted. The Americans notice only some of our capabilities; only on the battlefield will they fully internalize the bulk of our capabilities. The Americans will know [Iran’s true power] when their warships, with over 5,000 aboard, sink during a confrontation with Iran, and when they have to search the depths of the sea for their bodies.”
Complicating the vital task of analyzing what Iran intends to do is the religious factor. An apocalyptic Moslem belief in the appearance of “The Hidden Imam,” also known as the Mahdi, whose appearance would be brought about by a vast turmoil and mass martyrdom of Islamic faithful.
The Hudson Institute explains.
“Today, the three largest Shiite populations of Iran, Iraq and Lebanon are experiencing a dramatic transformation in the nature and scope of messianic expectation…While Shiite Islam has always possessed an elaborate literature concerning the Mahdi, never before has this literature been as copious, publicly available, detailed, or socially explosive (in terms of its stress on the imminence of the Mahdi’s return) as it is today…Messianism is an important driver of political life in the Shiite world whose power is too often underestimated and too easily misunderstood by outsiders. One obvious and legitimate source of deep concern for outsiders has been the potential combination of activist Shiite messianism and the Iranian nuclear program.”
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) reports that “In 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran closed a speech at the United Nations with a call for the ‘mighty Lord’ to “hasten the emergence” of Imam Mahdi, a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad.”
A study by the Trustees of Boston University noted that “Many Muslims anticipate that the end of days is here, or will be here soon. In a 2012 Pew poll, in most of the countries surveyed in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, half or more Muslims believe that they will personally witness the appearance of the Mahdi. In Islamic eschatology, the messianic figure known as the Mahdi (the Guided One) will appear before the Day of Judgment.”