Victim complex redux: Iran's fake anger

Reuters

Iranian students who are members of the Basij militia, a part of the Iran Revolutionary Guard, hold placards with cartoons of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (2nd L) and former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (L) and anti-U.S. and anti-Israel slogans (3rd L) while standing behind a symbolic coffin of the U.S. and Israel during a protest in front of the United Nations' office in Tehran February 27, 2011.

Article Highlights

  • The Islamic Republic commemorates the anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran each year.

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  • Should the US embassy ever reopen in Tehran, the visa application line would be longer than any anti-American rally.

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  • Most young Iranians have a firmer belief in the American dream of making a decent living in the US. @Alfoneh

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An angry cleric addressing the assembly of prayers at the Tehran University compound slams the United States backed ousting of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh’s government in 1953.

A man in uniform inciting the crowds in front of the “Den of Espionage” promises “10 kilograms of gold to any historian who can prove that there is a regime more criminal than the regime of the United States”; state organized “spontaneous” rallies burn Stars and Stripes to the chants of “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel.”

The Islamic Republic commemorates the anniversary of the seizure of the United States Embassy in Tehran: same procedure as last year, same procedure as every year since 1979.

This year’s commemoration, however, was slightly different than previous years. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei delivered his speech on the occasion of “the national day for the struggle against World Arrogance [the United States]” on October 31st, making the 1953 coup the main theme of the commemoration.

The regime also commemorated the anniversary ahead of time, on Friday 2nd November, rather than 4th November, utilizing the prayers to fill the crowds in front of the old embassy building.

The regime’s difficulty in mobilizing the public is hardly surprising. The majority of Iranians were not even born at the time of the seizure of the US embassy. Few Iranians remember the 1953 coup, and most young Iranians have a firmer belief in the American dream of making a decent living in the United States, than in the regime’s unfulfilled promises of justice in this world, salvation in the next and now “ten kilograms of gold.”

Should the US embassy ever reopen in Tehran, the visa application line would be longer than any “spontaneous” anti-American rally the regime is capable of organizing.

Besides the hollowness of the revolutionary mythology, the "commemoration" should also serve as a sobering reminder to those believing in the normalisation of relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic.

Basij Commander Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, the man in uniform, spelled out the regime’s “preconditions” for relations with the United States:

“This country [the United States] must prove that it has become a human being [has developed the faculty of reason] and in doing so has closed its military bases in fifty countries of the world, dissolves the CIA so that this agency no longer plans coups against other states, lets the Palestinian be free, and shuts down its torture chambers and prisons.

And since this country is not domestically free and the American people do not have the freedom of choice, it should give freedoms to its people. Based on these principles, if it [the United States] desires relations with Iran, it must deliver these reforms and become humane."

Good luck to the US negotiators! 

 

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About the Author

 

Ali
Alfoneh
  • Ali Alfoneh's research areas include civil-military relations in Iran with a special focus on the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Islamic Republic. Mr. Alfoneh has been a research fellow at the Institute for Strategy at the Royal Danish Defence College and has taught political economy at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Southern Denmark.

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