An Iranian diplomat has told IranWire that Iran intentionally attacked “US bases and facilities” and deliberately avoided “personnel” on the morning of January 8, after days of deliberation. During a short call using a public phone, the diplomat, who asked not to be named or have his location disclosed because he feared repercussions for discussing sensitive matters, said, “I’m just worried about the possibility of a war and destruction and just wanted to talk to someone I could trust.”
The diplomat insisted that he only had a few minutes to speak and did not want to risk using an Iranian mission’s landline or his cell phone. “Everything we do can be monitored. So I have to be cautious,” he told IranWire.
According to the diplomat, the levels of external and internal security have increased in Iranian missions around the world since January 3, when US forces killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards general Ghasem Soleimani in Baghdad, Iraq. “There’s more police presence around the missions and the movements of the embassy staff are monitored more than before.”
According to the diplomat, Iran’s decision to attack two American bases in Al Asad, northwest of Baghad, and Erbil in the Iraqi Independent Kurdistan region, came after days of deliberation in Tehran. “From what I know some Revolutionary Guards and military commanders insisted that Iran’s revenge must be restrained and that any American casualty can lead to an all-out war that could lead to the destruction of many parts of Iran and possibly the downfall of the government.” The diplomat said those who urged for restraint were led by Ali Shamkhani (the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran). Admiral Shamkhani is a former Revolutionary Guards’ commander and, like General Soleimani, is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88). “Mr Shamkhani knows what war is and doesn’t want to see a repeat of it.”
Among those who insisted on taking deadly revenge were members of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s family and staff, the diplomat said. “From what I know from very reliable sources, the people around Mr Khamenei thought revenge must be taken quickly, otherwise Mr Khamenei would look weak and vulnerable.”
US forces have reported no casualties in the bases. Meanwhile, Iranian Revolutionary Guards have said that at least 80 “American terrorists” were killed in the attacks, referring to American soldiers. The Guards have also threatened to attack 104 other American and Israeli targets in the region if the US retaliates. In a tweet following the attacks, President Trump said, “All is well! Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”
The diplomat contacted IranWire only a few minutes before Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the Iranian nation on January 8. In the speech, the ayatollah praised Soleimani’s wisdom and intelligence. “Some people are brave but not wise,” said Khamenei. “But the martyr Soleimani was brave and wise.” The Leader also called for national unity and the end of the US “corrupt presence” in the Middle East. “We slapped the Americans last night,” he said. “We’ve not taken revenge yet.”
“Mr. Khamenei is 80 years old and all he’s thinking about is his legacy. He doesn’t want to be remembered as a leader who surrendered to the Americans,” said the Iranian diplomat. “Please pray for Iran. May God save us.”