On the night of March 12, 2022, 12 missiles were launched from Iran that, according to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), struck bases of the "Israeli Mossad" in Erbil, Iraq. Iranian sources, including Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh and regime mouthpiece Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari, said on March 15 that the launch had been an Iranian response to an Israeli operation on Iranian soil. Western sources have reported that in mid-February 2022 hundreds of Iranian drones were destroyed at an airbase in Kermanshah province in western Iran, and attributed the attack to Israel.
According to Iranian spokesmen, the airstrike against the Kermanshah base carried out by unmanned aircraft had been launched from Erbil. IRGC spokesman Ramadan Sharif claimed on March 17 that "the Zionists themselves declared that [their] aircraft that had reached the base in Kermanshah had taken off from outposts in Erbil."
It should be noted that the first reports in Iran stated that the Iranian attack on Erbil was a response to the killing of two IRGC fighters in a March 6, 2022 attack in Syria attributed to Israel.
In a March 23 speech commemorating slain IRGC commanders that mentioned the IRGC missile attack, IRGC commander Hossein Salami stressed that the declining U.S. recognizes the rising power of Islamic Iran, and threatened Israel itself with a missile attack if it carries out another attack.
In response to Salami's threats to strike Israel itself, the IRGC-affiliated Telegram channel T.me/T_neutrino_plus criticized Salami, accusing him of being too moderate. It said that Salami's statements cast the Iranian missile attack on Erbil as a one-time occurrence that had ended, and accused him of avoiding carrying out an active operation on Israeli soil even though Israel had not settled for attacking Iranian forces in other countries but had attacked Iran on its own soil. It should be noted that Neutrino_Plus, which tends to express support for the IRGC, expressed highly unusual criticism of Salami's alleged "moderateness." It is also notable that it called for Iran to escalate the Iran-Israel conflict with a direct attack on Israel itself.
The following are excerpts from Salami's statements and from criticism of them.
IRGC Commander Salami Threatens Israel: "We Do Not Just Prepare Funerals And Memorials For Our Martyrs – We Shall Swiftly Avenge Them"
At a conference commemorating slain commanders, i.e. martyrs, IRGC commander Hossein Salami said that Washington recognizes Iran's might, and added: "The fact that today the enemy fears the Iranian people is the fruit of the resistance. The resistance does not stand still, and is not restricted to [any particular] point [in time or place], because it flows like a stream. The resistance is the ongoing truth in the spirit of the [Iranian] nation, and is inspired by [Iranian Supreme] Leader [Ali Khamenei], the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini], and the infallible [imams] who have made steadfastness in the face of the enemy one of the great divine rituals and have set the land on this path.
"After the eight-year Iran-Iraq war [1980-88], great Iran is responding to the years of sanctions, the enemy's pressure into political isolation, psychological and media warfare, terror attacks, and cultural attacks [against it], and has succeeded in exhausting the strength of the enemies and reducing their might.
"The White House spokesperson said in an official statement that the policy of sanctions and pressure on Iran has made it stronger and more aggressive than ever, and that this American strategy has strengthened all aspects of the IRGC. We have entered a century that will surely be the century of the decline of the satanic forces and of the West. The end of America and Western civilization began years ago. This wearing down and fading began thanks to the Islamic revolutionary movement [of Iran], and in recent years it has gained momentum.
"Global geography is changing. The enemies and the Westerners made the last century one of captivity and slavery of the Muslims and of the oppressed. [This was] the century of the development of ignorance [jahiliyya, the pre-Islamic period], of modern ignorance, of modern captivity, and of a bipolar world in which the West was the advanced pole and we were the backward ones who were dependent [on it]. But the rationale of the revolution was to destroy this idea and to shatter this perception [of oppression].
"We are moving in the light of the great leader... We marched neither in the footsteps of the West, nor in the footsteps of the East [a reference to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's statement "neither East nor West – only the Islamic Republic"], but on the straight divine path. We adhere [to it] and see that the enemies are gradually retreating, and their policies are no longer effective. The peoples are awakening; the Muslims are gaining strength; they are no longer submissive and their lands are the arena of jihad.
IRGC commander Hossein Salami (Source: Tasnim, Iran, March 23, 2022)
"The enemies' expiration date has arrived. In recent weeks, you have seen how the Zionists, whose calculations are always mistaken, were subjected to IRGC missile attacks, and we warn them to remove their hand from evil – and if they do not, we will plug all the small cracks that yet remain open in the world [that is, all the cracks through which Israel operates, such as other countries].
"Beware. We do not just prepare funerals and memorials for our martyrs – we shall swiftly avenge them. This is a serious and genuine message, and if this [Israeli attack] recurs, you will be forced to again experience an IRGC missile attack, and to taste the bitterness of missile strikes.
"I promise you that we will never let any foreigner threaten and endanger the security, honor, and welfare of our dear homeland."
Neutrino_Plus In Response To Salami's Threat To Israel: "The Commander [Salami] Has Relinquished Here Direct Vengeance, Sidestepped The Point, And Declared It Over... If This Is What Happens, We Must Expect Many More Zionist Attacks In Syria"
Immediately following Salami's speech, the IRGC-affiliated Telegram channel T.me/T_neutrino_plus, published a post harshly critical of his threats against Israel as empty, without mentioning him by name. It decried the approaches of the IRGC and the Iranian regime for refraining from responding to Israel's attack in Syria and for the regime's decision to respond only via Iran's militias and the resistance organizations, if at all. Calling for responding urgently by attacking Israel on its own soil, it said that if this did not happen, the empty threats uttered by the IRGC commander would be seen as inviting other Israeli attacks on Iran and its forces in the region.
It should be noted that Neutrino_Plus did not mention the February Kermanshah attack attributed to Israel, but spoke only of the need for an Iranian reaction to Israel's alleged killing of two IRGC fighters in the March 6 attack in Syria.
The following is a translation of the Neutrino_Plus post:
"The statements by the [IRGC commander] Gen. [Hossein Salami] (after others in the regime said that the attack on [Israeli] Mossad outposts [in Erbil] was a response to [the strike] against the drone [hangar] at Kermanshah [attacked in February]) in a way that we will not see direct and open movement on the part of the IRGC in the occupied lands [Israel] in response to the death of two defenders of the holy places [i.e. the IRGC fighters who died in the attack in Syria attributed to Israel].
"In effect, the commander has relinquished here direct vengeance, sidestepped the point, and declared it over. As in the past, he has uttered several threats in the local language [i.e. Farsi]. Therefore, either there will be no vengeance in the occupied lands, or if there is, it will be carried out by resistance groups, or by Hamas or Islamic Jihad, or by anonymously sending a few drones.
"In effect, if this is what happens, commander, we must expect many more Zionist attacks in Syria.
"This is not called deterrence – it is an invitation for more attacks and more martyrs.
"The attack in Erbil, Iraq should have been just the first step in a series of significant and open operations. As it appears, we will apparently not conduct a campaign, not even in Erbil, in the [near] future, and we will wait, as usual, for the enemy to strike, and then perhaps we will present a minimal reaction. The matter cannot be advanced in this way. For shame!
"Particularly with the establishment of the Arab NATO, with the participation of the Zionists [referring to the Israel-Arab Gulf states military alliance], it is more necessary than ever to strike these hyenas. In any event, perhaps they have information we do not, but one thing is clear here: The blood of the sons of this land is very dear, and there is a need for more diligence so that it will not be spilled in vain."
Iranian Regime Mouthpieces Echo IRGC Commander Salami's Threats Against Israel
The following are examples of Iranian regime threats against Israel via its mouthpieces, in the wake of the recent events. Friday preachers and political cartoons are echoing Gen. Salami's message to the public.
Friday Preacher Imam Nassir Hosseini: Iran Can Carry Out Any Necessary Counterattacks Inside Tel Aviv – Or America
Imam Nassir Hosseini said in a Friday, March 18, 2022 sermon that aired on Iran's Dena TV that Iran has the intelligence and capability to carry out any necessary counterattacks inside Tel Aviv or America. Israel, he added, is taking its last breaths, America is no longer a superpower, and the Zionists cannot "measure up" to the Iranians.
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below:
Cartoons Published By IRGC-Affiliated Tasnim News Agency: "How Many Missiles For One Mouse?" "?????"
In a cartoon published March 16, 2022, the Tasnim news agency, which is close to the IRGC, expressed pride in Iran's launch of missiles against the alleged Israeli Mossad base in Erbil. The cartoon depicted an Iranian missile grabbing an Israeli mouse by the ear, as the mouse squealed "How many missiles for one mouse?!"
The cartoon was captioned: "While the Zionists are confused after the Iranian missile attack against the Mossad spy outpost in Erbil, Iraq, the senior security circles of Tel Aviv acknowledge that Iran has proven that it has the strength to respond to Tel Aviv using all means."
Another cartoon published by Tasnim, on March 17, depicted the Iranian missiles launched against Erbil as payback for the Israeli operation in the region. The cartoon depicts a boxer representing Israel subjected to blows from Iranian missiles, with the caption: "[Iranian] Fateh missiles punish Israel / the IRGC launch at 'the eye of the fitna [sowers of discord]'; On the morning of March 13, 2022, news was published about mighty explosions around the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The IRGC declaration shows that this attack took place in response to the latest crime of the Zionist regime in recent weeks."
 Fars (Iran), March 15, 2022.
 Nytimes.com/2022/03/16/world/middleeast/iran-israel-attack-drone-site.html, March 16, 2022.
 Fars (Iran), March 17, 2022.
 Tasnim (Iran), March 23, 2022.
 T.me/T_neutrino_plus/1740, March 23, 2022.
 Tasnim (Iran), March 16, 2022.
 Tasnim (Iran), March 178, 2022.