The website Iran Front Page proudly announces: “The first edition of International Hourglass Festival, dedicated to anti-Israel art and media productions, will be held in the Iranian capital Tehran in April.”
Last week a press conference on the festival was held in Tehran. During it Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, identified as “the Secretary-General of the International Conference on Supporting Palestinian Intifada and an international advisor to Iran’s Parliament Speaker,” explained that “the ‘Hourglass Festival’ is a symbol of the imminent collapse of the Zionist regime of Israel, as predicted by the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.”
Amir-Abdollahian further explained that he “cannot publicize the Islamic Republic’s plan to realize the Leader’s prediction that the Israeli regime will collapse within 25 years, but it will definitely happen.”
What will the Hourglass Festival be like? Its executive secretary, Mahdi Qomi, offers a preview, saying it “will be held in 11 sections”:
Audio-visual productions, graphic design (poster, cartoons, etc.), mobile apps, mobile and web-based games, social media and websites, animation, motion-graphics, start-ups are among the fields in which the festival accepts entries.
The festival will accept entries until April 21, when all the submitted works will be put on display to the public….
The organizers will work with 2,400 anti-Israel NGOs in Europe, North America, Latin America, and Eastern Asia to promote the festival across the world, Qomi said.
The website for the festival itself features a disappearing Star of David. It declares that “Israel Will Not Exist in 25 Years: if the resistance fron [sic] stands firm, the enemy cannot do a damn thing,” while offering instructions for submissions and much else.
Seemingly this is news; it’s one UN member-state not only calling for the destruction of another UN member-state but holding an international festival devoted to that goal. Yet so far it is almost solely some Israeli and pro-Israeli websites that have reported the development.
This is hardly, of course, the first time Iranian leaders and officials have openly called for Israel’s eradication. Apparently, if you do it enough it becomes humdrum and acceptable—even with the added twist of an international effort, in tandem with “2,400 NGOS,” to instill the notion that the Jewish state needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.
Meanwhile West European countries are in a state of anxiety over President Trump’s warning that unless the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA, is seriously modified, he will withdraw from the deal and reinstate U.S. sanctions. These countries regard Iran—ayatollah regime and all—as an invaluable business partner to be protected at all costs.
As the Financial Times reported last October:
European countries are battling to save commercial ties with Iran as part of a wider effort to stop the US upending the landmark deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme. [That includes] contingency plans to protect companies such as Airbus, Total, Siemens and Peugeot, which have all struck deals in Iran….
[Since the JCPOA] trade between Iran and the EU, which was Tehran’s top trading partner before broad economic sanctions were imposed in 2010, has all but doubled annually to almost €10bn for the first half of ….
It turns out Germany is one of the countries reaping a bonanza from this renewed trade. In the first nine months of 2017 “Germany sold 2.358 billion euros worth of goods ($2.846 billion) to Iran,” while it “imported just $328 million worth of goods from Iran”—a huge trade surplus in Germany’s favor. And “German exports to Iran…remain on a steep upward curve.”
The article—posted on the Deutsche Welle site—complains that “The Trump Administration has taken a strident anti-Iranian tone, as have the political establishments of Israel and the Gulf Arab countries.” That is, even though Iran sponsors subversion and terror against Israel and Gulf Arab countries and threatens their destruction, strident tones are something to avoid when German business is at stake.
At the Munich Security Conference in February, U.S. national security adviser H. R. McMaster and Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir raised the issue that European funds are flowing to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The Revolutionary Guard is the main engine of Iranian subversion and terror and is believed to control about a third of Iran’s economy.
Yet CNBC reports that Iran’s key business partners Germany, France, and the UK keep fighting the good fight for European multinationals Airbus, Siemens, Peugeot, and Total, all of which have “struck major deals in the country worth billions.”
When business is that good, it would be naïve in the extreme to think that any further Iranian outrage—even an innovation like the International Hourglass Festival—could swing the Euros toward Trump’s stance on reining in Iran.
Instead it can be confidently predicted that the festival in April will go forward and most of the international community will keep trading with Iran and treating it as a respectable, legitimate country. Meanwhile Israel’s government will be seen as “too right-wing.”