Iranian Official: Gaza Is Part Of Three-Way Israeli Plot

A prominent Iranian politician has characterized Israeli operations against Gaza as the third phase of Israel's current plot to destabilize the Middle East region.

Mohsen Rezai, a former Revolutionary Guards commander and current member of a state arbitrating body, said the first two phases of Israel's strategy were the civil wars provoked in Syria and Iraq. Rezai told a gathering in Tehran University on Wednesday that Israel had planned Salafist and Sunni attacks against the governments of Iraq and Syria.

Its attack on Gaza "is the third phase of a large operation" — and its aim, to "recover the morale it has lost over the last 10 years" and "fully exploit" the regional mayhem, IRNA reported.

In contrast with certain incendiary declarations of Iranian clerics and officials, Rezai did not accuse the West or particular states of backing international terrorism, but said certain, possibly Western states, were "unwittingly" conniving with Israel's plans.

Iran is currently discussing its nuclear program with the West in a process seen in recent months as a tentative and precarious rapprochement with the international community.

Rezai said "if the states accused of backing terrorism in Syria and Iraq do nothing against Israel, this is proof they are working with Israel." Arab states must force Israel to stop its attacks on Gaza he said, "otherwise they are all partners in this crime. Arab leaders ... should know that if they remain silent, the flames of this fire will engulf them."

On Thursday, as Israel continued to bomb Gaza to punish Hamas authorities for the recent killings of three Israeli teenagers, Hamas legislator Mushir al-Masri told Iran's official IRNA agency that there was "no talk of a ceasefire" for now and militants had yet to use up "all their capacities to resist" Israel.

Al-Masri told the agency in Gaza that there could not be talks of a ceasefire as long as Israelis were killing "families and especially children." He added, without specifying how, that the Israelis would soon pay for their actions. "The resistance has many capabilities to fight the Zionist enemy, which it has not yet used, and what it has done so far has amazed both friends and enemies."

— Ahmad Shayegan

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Iran To Offer Master's And PhD In Morality Enforcement

For those aiming to serve the Islamic Republic of Iran as experts to train the public morality agents, there are now courses to obtain the "proper" training.

Properly dressed in the holy city of Qom.

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

A woman in Tehran walks past a mural of an Iranian flag

The traffic police chief recently said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes

Rouzbeh Fouladi/ZUMA

New academic discipline

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

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