Al Jazeera reporter
Tehran – In a scene familiar to Iranian culture, authorities demolished the famous Jamkran Mosque Qom South of the capital Tehran, a red flag of vengeance flies above the blue dome to avenge the victims of the Kerman bombing and symbolize the duty of revenge.
At the funerals of the 89 victims, Persian media yesterday and Friday circulated scenes of the “red flag of retribution” being raised following the assassination of General Quds Force four years ago. Qasem SoleimaniHe was killed in a U.S. raid in January 2020 on his way to Baghdad airport.
The Tehran city government hurriedly replaced the giant mural in Wali Asr Square in the center of the capital. The slogan “Revenge is difficult, God's will” is written on a red background in the center of the new painting.
Red is one of the colors of Iran's national identity, symbolizing the strength and courage of fighting. It is also one of the colors of the Iranian flag. There are two colors: green, which symbolizes Islam, and white, which symbolizes peace.
In ancient Iranian culture, a red flag would be raised over the houses of flesh and blood and would not be lowered until revenge. In previous years, during funeral processions, red flags would be raised on domes to symbolize those “unjustly” killed on mosques and thresholds, as a sign of national grief and the duty of revenge.
While the authorities have repeatedly raised slogans of “Oh, Revenge of Hussein” after “horror” actions against national security over the past few years to signal their revengeful intentions, the latest move has prompted mourners of the victims to There was widespread reaction, with people chanting for revenge against the perpetrators of the two bombings.
Political researcher Hassan Hanizadeh viewed official threats and scenes of popular demands for revenge as “necessary warnings of retaliation,” adding that his country “has conducted military operations against targets abroad in the past few years. act in retaliation for destabilizing behavior.” its national security, and the punishment of those responsible for the bloodshed of Iranians. “
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Hani Zaid confirmed that “despite the islamic state organization The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Kerman bombing. The Iranian authorities ignore this statement and are only thinking about settling scores with the drivers of such terrorist groups,” he said, calling Washington and Tel Aviv “the areas most affected by this attack.” Tehran's support for Palestinian resistance factions. “
Talking about the developments in the Battle of Al-Aqsa Flood and targeting some of the symbols and forces of the Axis of Resistance in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Red Sea region, the Iranian researcher said: “The Kerman bombing should only be carried out in the area of the Axis of Resistance.” Read against the backdrop of a series of assassinations and military operations that took place.”
Hanizadeh believes that “American political leaders have previously exposed the role of the United States in the formation of terrorist organizations headed by the Islamic State” and pointed out that “the Islamic State organization has not only failed to take any action against the Zionist Western interests. Not even condemning Israel’s aggression in Gaza.”
He concluded: “Security data and information in his country's possession demonstrate that the United States has made unremitting efforts over the past two years to reinstate the Islamic State group in the region.”
The duality of response and silence
While there is consensus across Iran that a response to those behind the Kerman bombing is needed to limit the recurrence of such bloody actions at home, some Iranians warn of the consequences of engaging in direct responses to U.S. and Israeli interests.
Over the past three months, Iranian estimates have often suggested that Tel Aviv is trying to lure Tehran into joining the war in Gaza, pitting it against the United States and NATO, but a second segment of Iranian circles believes that confrontation is inevitable and directs painful strikes, to prevent a series of assassinations. The target is Iran and its allies in the region.
Given popular calls for revenge for the victims of the Kerman bombing and official threats of retaliation, the two recent bombings have created a “reaction-silence dichotomy” within Iran, somewhere between direct reaction and silence. between. Do as Israel wishes, while others believe silence and waiting will increase popular anger against the Iranian authorities.
Ali Nejat, a researcher at the Middle East Institute for Strategic Studies, said the country was forced to take action to retaliate against the victims of the Kerman bombing and was convinced that a direct response was not in its interests at this time. .
In an interview with Al Jazeera, he believed that Iran’s response limit would not exceed the following three situations:
- This is the weakest possibility, through a direct response targeting U.S. and Israeli interests in their homeland.
- A direct response would be to target the Islamic State group or U.S. or Israeli interests in other countries' territories, similar to those targeting “terrorist” headquarters in Syria or the Kurdistan region of Iraq in years past. This is one option available to Iranians as the authorities interact with popular demands for revenge.
- Responding through allies is the strongest possibility, through escalation against U.S. interests in Iraq and Syria, or against Israel through Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.
Al Jazeera has learned from an informed Iranian source, who asked not to be named, that Iran has decided to pursue a smart policy “to evade responsibility for what it is going to do on the one hand, and to demonstrate its commitment to Iranian public opinion on the other.” strength”. On the other hand, maneuver is used to respond to losses on the enemy's front lines. “The response to the Kerman bombing will be through the soft flank of Israel's enemies,” he concluded, without providing further elaboration.
Of the possible scenarios and decisions the source spoke about, most Iranian citizens are predicting what will happen after the two recent bombings, while others are betting on the weakness of society's collective memory and their economic worries over the past year. During the summer, it focused on retaliating for the “terror” committed against the Temple of the King. The Religious Garage in Shiraz last summer.