Rouhani pretends Iran defeated the US, without actually doing anything

The Iranian president's speech is out of touch with both the IRGC’s actions in Iraq and the failures of his own administration to fight the coronavirus.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, March 4, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, March 4, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani needs to find a feather to put in his cap after failures to confront the coronavirus have left millions of Iranians vulnerable. His response: We’ve done everything right, and we have responded to the US over the killing of Qasem Soleimani, and we defeated the US over oil sanctions. There is one problem. Rouhani hasn’t accomplished any of the things he claims to have done over the last year.
His message to the Iranian public on Wednesday was bragging in the face of a growing crisis. While his own members of parliament are chafing under the failure of the government to impose lockdowns to stop the coronavirus outbreak, Rouhani boasted that he has done well in the face of US sanctions. He said that the country is facing the worst pressure it has faced since 2009. Left without major oil trade, the country has survived, he argued.
“The economic trend has been positive,” he said in his message, adding that the government increased salaries by 4%. It’s not clear if that is helpful in the face of inflation.
Iran also responded well to flooding over the last year, he said. He mentioned that the nuclear industry in Iran is proceeding along schedule. Tehran has been increasing uranium enrichment after the US walked away from the JCPOA (the “Iran deal”) in 2018.
Rouhani said that Iran conducted a strong response to the US killing of IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani. He was killed after attacks on US soldiers in Iraq and after an attack on the US Embassy last year. Iran responded with ballistic missiles, fired at Ain al-Asad base in Iraq. Although around 100 Americans suffered concussions, Washington has now sent Patriot defense systems to Iraq. It is unclear whether Iran’s strike has had much impact on the US.
The Iranian president said, however, that America will “never forget the attack on the US base.” He said that Iran has responded to the US. “I think the Americans will never forget, because it was the first time in the region” that they were struck in this way.
Rouhani asserted that the Islamic Republic has given the US a “slap in the face” in response to its sanctions. Iran has embarked on infrastructure projects, and it is surviving in the face of the maximum pressure campaign.
He also claimed that in Qom and Gilan provinces, the coronavirus has peaked, and that Iran is doing everything correctly to fight the virus. Meanwhile Press TV and other Iranian channels continue to push conspiracies alleging that the US is behind the virus and that it is a kind of “biological war.” In addition, Iranian members of the security council, such as Ali Shamkhani, along with members of the foreign ministry continue to beg European powers for help to get around US sanctions. They have claimed that the sanctions prevent Iran from fighting the virus.
The comments by Iran’s own foreign ministry and officials are thus in contrast to Rouhani’s boasting. Tehran has been brought low by the coronavirus – and worse is likely to come. Experts assert that Iran is downplaying the numbers infected, and that many thousands may be dead, in contrast to the 988 who were listed as deceased on March 17 due to the virus. Iranian religious fanatics have broken into shrines that the government sought to close to prevent the spread of the virus.
Iran’s supreme leader has said the struggle with the virus is a war and those on the front line, like nurses, are “martyrs.” This is a  kind of apocalyptic vision that is not in line with Rouhani’s claim that reasonable diligence was employed by the government. It is not clear how much control he even has anymore, as the army and IRGC have sought to send troops into the streets to fight what they call a “biological war” against the virus.
Rouhani may be as out of touch with reality as clerics in Qom who are sick with the virus, one believing that heaven up above will save them, the other believing falsely that they have created heaven here on earth – with policies that are more imagination than reality.