On February 9, the Islamic Republic of Iran failed for the third (or maybe the fourth) time to place a rocket in orbit around the earth. It was no doubt a bitter disappointment, and was due, according to official broadcasts, to an inability to reach the required speed.
We are used to successful launches, but not so the Iranians. They are used to failure, whether it has to do with missile launches, the national economy, the currency, or celebrations of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The latest disasters are in Iraq, and in Iran itself — where the coronavirus is spreading at an impressive rate. In Iraq, where the mullahs have been trying to impose control for years, they are now facing a spirited uprising that has been underway since October 25. And there are demonstrations in Lebanon as well.
The Iranian regime constantly lies to the people, who understand they are being lied to. Nobody in Iran takes seriously claims from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Foreign Minister Zarif or President Rouhani, and the people take their cues from first-hand information, not from “official” reports.
Take, for example, the recent disinformation from Zarif: he blasted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for “bringing the region very close to the brink.” He said Pompeo had sent an extremely “inappropriate” letter to Tehran, a letter based based on ignorance and arrogance. Zarif claimed that Pompeo had brought the two countries to the brink of war at the peak of the crisis in January.
“It didn’t used to be this way,” Zarif said, referring to negotiations during the Obama administration in which he frequently spoke to then-Secretary of State John Kerry.
“I’m still the same foreign minister that dealt with John Kerry in a respectable way.”
The Iranian people show their contempt for the ruling class by withholding their participation in staged events. There was just a parliamentary election and it produced a) carefully selected “winners,” and b) a record-low turnout. The regime knew the turnout would be very low, and they pegged it at 40%, while opposition leaders said it was half as great.
The opposition was correct. The regime had lied again.
Elsewhere, the regime is cracking down on violations of Sharia law, for example in Iraq, where celebrations of Valentine’s Day have become popular. Iran is trying to ban cards, chocolates and presents, and the Qom prosecutor’s office threatened to close down businesses that sell Valentine’s symbols and set up a hotline for trade union leaders to report anyone buying stuff for the holiday.
There were violent anti-Iranian demonstrations in Iraq, where crowds gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, and in Karbala, Iraqis chanted “Iran, get your dogs out of here, the Baghdad regime is more honorable than the one in Tehran.”
The event of the week was the “million-woman march” in Baghdad, and elsewhere around the country. And Iranian-supported militias have been unleashed against American troops in Iraq. The Kataib al Hezbollah attacked a joint US/Iraqi military base in Kirkuk.
The anti-American assault was the latest in Iran’s efforts to drive the United States out of the region, and it has provoked mass demonstrations and no end of ridicule. The regime’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Mohammed-Javad Azari-Jahromi was singled out for his farcical unveiling of what he claimed was a model of an Iranian spacesuit. In reality, it was a twenty-dollar American kids’ costume that had the American flag removed and the regime’s flag stitched in its place. Jahromi’s phony space suit was part of the failed launch of February 9th, which most observers believe was an effort to mask Iran’s development of ballistic missiles. So far, they have not succeeded in reaching the ultimate goal of being able to hit American targets in the homeland. But another test is scheduled for June.
Meanwhile, American Democrats were meeting secretly with Iranian Foreign Minister Jarif at the Munich Security Conference. A small number of senators, led by Chris Murphy of Connecticut and accompanied by Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and former Secretary of State John Kerry, constituted the American delegation. These meetings have been a regular feature of Democrat strategy ever since Trump’s election, but have failed to produce any meaningful results. The Democrats clearly hope for some sort of breakthrough at Trump’s expense, but are playing Iran’s game: stalling for time and hoping that somehow, some way, they can win the presidential elections in November.