A couple of days ago, the celebration of the 37th anniversary of the revolution that led to Khomeini’s creation of the Islamic State could not have shown a more classically aggressive Iran, despite the recent agreement with the P5+1 and the consequential lifting of the sanctions.
The crowd celebrated by chanting “Death to the US, Death to Israel”, for those who imagine Iran as being mannerly, friendly, affable… like Rouhani in his visit to Europe.
The old anti-Western roar has simply turned into a sneer. President Rouhani himself, in his speech to the crowds in Azadi Square, repeated that Iran proudly defends its right to Iran’s: “Nuclear victory”. “Our victory ” -he said- ” has shown the world that Iranians are capable of winning any battle, including the diplomatic ones”.
In the meantime, the parade showed off the ballistic missile Emad and the Shahed 129. The Emad is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, and everyone knows that on Wednesday a new Emad missile, with a claimed range of 1,700 km, will be presented.
Iranian TV and newspapers have described the square as overflowing with ‘millions’ of enthusiastic citizens, while France Presse speaks of hundreds of thousands and NBC of tens of thousands.
Attendants were able to share not only the joy of the new post-sanctions era and therefore the hope for a better future, but also US and Israel flag burnings and placards where both Obama and Kerry, punched in the face, spurt brilliant red blood.
The “hit” of the evening was the acclaimed show of a group of actors dressed as American sailors and as Iranian soldiers who enacted the January 12th image that was on the front pages throughout the world: the Americans, on their knees and with hands behind their heads, captured by Iranians guards in the Persian Gulf where their vessel had got lost. Sneering and laughing at the humiliation of the Yankees, with a video of one of them crying becoming a favorite.
Khamenei presented the commanders of the Navy with medals for having captured the American sailors.
The birthday rally was also attended by the commander of the powerful revolutionary guard General Qassem Suleimani, the strategist of Iran’s tentacular presence in Iraq and Syria.
These are strange ways of showing openness to the American partner that has rehabilitated Teheran before the rest of the world. But Iran leaders trust the big mass of business flowing in after the lifting of the sanctions.
Moreover, on the 26th there will be the elections for both the Parliament and for the Assembly of Experts, which will elect the next “supreme leader” after Khamenei.
The classical/aggressive but post-sanction optimist style, the nuclear/national mood, mixed carefully with the promise of new wealth, is good electoral propaganda. And the good old hate agains Amaerica and Israel, is always the best tool.
This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (February 13, 2016)