Sick-looking Iranian president warns Israel of 'strong response'

Sick-looking Iranian president warns Israel of 'strong response'
Pressure is mounting on the clerical leadership in Iran as new pictures released show a worn out Iranian president. / CC: Government of Iran
By bne Tehran bureau April 17, 2024

New photos released by the Iranian government show President Ebrahim Raisi in a meeting looking worse for wear ahead of an official military parade, Khabar Online reported on April 17.

Just days after Iran launched 300-plus missiles and drones at Israel, the Iranian president is seen looking swollen-eyed and without his glasses for the first time in a publicised cabinet meeting, causing a wealth of speculation that the current tensions with Israel are getting to him. The release of the worn-out Raisi pictures is unusual for the Iranian government, which usually tries to keep a close tab on the release of images at sensitive times.

The article noted that: “Some of the users in cyberspace, after seeing these photos, believed that Raisi had lasered his eyes so that he no longer needed glasses.”

The pictures come hours after an official parade the military in Tehran called “army parade day”, where members of the Iranian armed services and the country’s latest weapons were paraded in front of the president and top generals.

President Ebrahim Raisi declared at a military base near Tehran that the operation named as "Honest Promise" had brought down the glory of the Israeli government.

In his speech, addressed to the regular army and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, he highlighted the readiness of the armed forces that was demonstrated by this operation.

“We had decided to take limited action to punish the Israeli regime and to hit the points that had been used to target Iranian interests. Our response to any aggression by Israel will be strong and fierce,” Raisi said in a speech in central Tehran during the parade.

Israel has vowed to respond at a time of its choosing to Iran’s aggression in response to Israel’s targeting of the Iranian embassy complex in Damascus, which killed several military officers.

Pressure is mounting on both Iran and Israel to not look weak by hardline factions on either side, which could push the two into direct regular confrontation.