Ahead of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's address to the nation on 2 May, the country's state TV ran a video clip that featured troops from the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) marching and firing missiles followed by images of the US Capitol dome blowing up and then views of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Today pre-Khamenei talk,Iran state TV aired this clip depicting an IRGC attack on #Congress— Kasra Aarabi (کسری اعرابی) (@KasraAarabi) May 2, 2021
Yes, it’s propaganda. But it shows the anti-US ideology of #IRGC,which is rising in power
Should the #US give #Iran billions in sanctions relief before addressing the challenge of IRGC? pic.twitter.com/Yp4z4igwWL
The song in the background hailed the IRGC troops for purportedly levelling the US Capitol and "liberating" Jerusalem, Tony Blair Institute analyst Kasra Aarabi noted in a tweet. The footage of the "Capitol's explosion" was apparently snatched from a 2013 Hollywood action film called "White House Down".
The controversial video fanned the flames of criticism against US President Joe Biden over the administration's plans to return to the nuclear deal with Iran and lift (at least partially) the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic by Donald Trump.
Last week, Iran’s chief diplomat allegedly admitted the IRGC calls the shots in Tehran. Now, Iran releases a fake video of the IRGC blowing up our Capitol. The Biden admin’s priority should be ensuring Iran cannot carry out such an attack, not capitulating by removing sanctions. https://t.co/LPHiVX0all— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) May 3, 2021
Republican Senator Pat Toomey argued that instead of lifting sanctions Washington should be making sure Iran never gains enough military power to commit the things shown in the video. The senator appealed to a recently leaked private conversation of Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in which the diplomat claimed the IRGC calls the shots in the country, including when it comes to foreign policy. The Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic responded to the emergence of the audiotape by stating that Zarif's comments were ripped out of context, but did not deny the authenticity of the recording.
The US is currently indirectly engaged in the talks of the Joint Commission of parties to the Iran nuclear deal aimed at restoring Washington's participation in the accord and returning Iran to compliance with it. It is so far unclear how much progress the parties have made in reconciling their disagreements, but media reports suggest the US is ready to lift practically all of Donald Trump's sanctions if Iran reimposes restrictions on its nuclear programme to ensure it remains peaceful.