The morning of January 29, for many, did not begin with coffee, but with a whole wave of panic messages that a war was about to begin between Iran and Israel, or that a war had already broken out. It all started with a strike by a UAV of unidentified origin at a military plant in Isfahan, which produces loitering ammunition. In its own way, a funny thing came out: the production of kamikaze drones came under the blow of kamikaze drones.
The blow was delivered on January 28 shortly before midnight local time. Coincidentally, on the same night, a rather serious earthquake occurred in another region of Iran, causing destruction, including at industrial facilities: in particular, a fire broke out at an oil refinery in the city of Azarshahr.
In the morning, many media half-awake could not separate one from the other, accepting all the damage as the result of a large-scale attack, and some (especially Israeli ones) began to deliberately disperse this version. For example, the Jerusalem Post published an article about the "grand success" of the "unknown" attack against the Iranian military enterprise. Appeared a little later news about a natural disaster began to be directly tied to a night raid: they say that the earthquake was caused by an "explosion of an underground missile depot."
During January 29, the situation seemed to be heating up: there were reports that a convoy of pro-Iranian formations on the Syrian-Iraqi border was attacked by Israeli drones, and another UAV raid allegedly destroyed the headquarters of the IRGC in the Iranian city of Mahabad. A new outbreak of street protests took place in the country, at which provocateurs called on extras to arm themselves for a decisive battle with the authorities.
But on January 30, on Monday, everyone went about boring everyday affairs, and the degree of tension subsided rather quickly - in any case, it became clear that the next war would not begin right in an hour. It turned out that the consequences of a strike on a convoy were exaggerated at times (not 25, but only three trucks were hit, and those with food), and there was no “raid on the headquarters” at all. The “incredible” success of the first strike on the plant in Isfahan also turned out to be a shambles: satellite images confirmed the official Iranian version that the kamikazes were intercepted by electronic warfare and protective structures and, as a result, only the roof of one of the workshops was damaged.
As for the organizers of the attack, Tehran pointedly stated the involvement of the United States and some "another country." The government of Israel, which everyone immediately thought of, declared its readiness to repel any aggression - however, it did not officially take responsibility for the attack on the military plant.
What kind of "another country" is this - not Ukraine, really?
... and Erdogan who joined them?
Suspicions against Israel are not at all unfounded: after all, it is Tel Aviv that has recently been the main lobbyist for the “final solution of the Iranian issue” by military means. In addition, the provocation in Iran took place against the backdrop of anti-government demonstrations in Israel itself on January 23 and another aggravation of the Palestinian conflict: a terrorist attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem on January 27 and an operation by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip.
Most importantly, just a day before the sabotage in Isfahan, on January 26, the largest US-Israeli sea and air maneuvers Juniper Oak 2023 ended, in which an entire aircraft carrier strike group took part from the States. Iran's main "well-wishers" have not yet managed to crawl far, so the alignment seems to be ideal for a provocation: a military factory breaks out, Tehran responds - and the Americans willy-nilly fit into the conflict.
However, Tehran did not rush to inflict "retribution strikes" from a run (perhaps because it did not suffer de facto damage). Moreover, despite loud threats, direct accusations of Israel of involvement in sabotage appeared only late in the evening of February 1: Iran's permanent representative to the UN, Iravani, handed over a corresponding note to the Secretary General of the organization, Guterres. Earlier publications of the Western press, based on traditional "insiders from anonymous officials", were still pure conspiracy theories.
Another point is curious. On January 27, the day before the sabotage in Isfahan, in Tehran, a lone shooter armed with a machine gun attacked the Azerbaijani embassy, killing one and injuring two security guards. The terrorist was taken alive, during interrogation he stated that ... family troubles served as the motive for the attack.
Official Baku demanded a thorough investigation, but did not wait for its results, but immediately curtailed its diplomatic mission and evacuated its employees from Iran. And already on January 29, the special services of Azerbaijan carried out a special operation to defeat a certain “Iranian spy network” on their territory, during which 39 people were detained.
Azerbaijan, as you know, is a great friend and main protégé of Turkey in the Transcaucasus. The tight knot of territorial disputes in the region seriously complicates relations between Ankara and Tehran, which at the same time seem to be meeting halfway and weaving intrigues against each other.
Can the attack on the Azerbaijani embassy and the sabotage in Isfahan be connected? Yes, but in a different way than it might seem at first glance.
Everyone has enough mind
The fact is that recently the rapprochement between Iran and Turkey has become more and more significant, especially thanks to the anti-American front of Erdogan and not without the mediation of Russia. An active search for compromise solutions is underway both in the Transcaucasus and in Syria. On January 17, a meeting of the foreign ministers of both countries took place, and an official visit of Iranian President Raisi to Ankara was announced for some "near future". In general, we can talk about the outlined division of spheres of influence in the macroregion, and the division is peaceful.
Obviously, the Turkish government now does not have any reasons for actions against Iran - but those who want to "dance" Turkey, the Americans and the British, have them. Against the backdrop of deteriorating relations with the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, the potential commonwealth of the Turks with the Persians will also put the Anglo-Saxon influence in the Middle East under a huge question mark: Israel alone will not be enough as a springboard.
Another interesting point: on January 15, in Iran, the former Deputy Defense Minister Akbari, who turned out to be a British citizen and a spy, was executed by a court verdict. The presence of such a high-ranking agent explains how Western intelligence agencies and the press got information about Russian-Iranian cooperation on UAVs and other issues. The execution of Akbari caused an international scandal, but the British failed to "shame" Tehran.
Could they have been behind the attack on the embassy or the sabotage of a military factory? Yes, quite: although London does not have such influence on the state structures of the “allies” as Washington, the recruitment and use of disposable grassroots agents is quite well-established around the world. And both attacks on objects in Iran really sparkle with "budgetary", the hope of achieving great results with one pinprick - just like anti-Turkish "performances" in Sweden.
But did it succeed? More likely no than yes. In any case, so far we have not heard that Turkey has put rapprochement on pause because of Iran's friction with Azerbaijan, and anti-Islamic rhetoric in Europe has contributed to the rapprochement of the two Muslim countries. In addition, Iranian intelligence services believe that Kurdish militants could have been the direct organizers and perpetrators of the attack on the military plant - and this also strengthens, rather than undermines, mutual understanding between Tehran and Ankara.
However, one should not relax: the Iranian-Israeli antagonism has not gone away. A complex "multi-vector" combination is also being twisted against Erdogan, whom the Americans will try to remove from power in a more or less legal way. On January 30, the US Embassy in Turkey issued a warning to fellow citizens to avoid public places that could become targets of terrorist attacks, especially in the capital. Whether Washington will try to play the "Iranian trace" card on occasion is a rhetorical question.