The Iranian regime is using the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution to boast about its accomplishments in seeking to dominate the Middle East and threaten Israel and the United States.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif traveled to Lebanon this week and met with Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has been holding rallies in Tehran, seeking to bolster the country’s image, while people in Iran are increasingly suffering under the burden of a failing economy and US sanctions.
Commander of Iran’s armed forces General Mohammad Baqeri condemned on Tuesday a conference in Warsaw to be held later this week focusing on the Middle East and Iran. He called the conference “worthless and insignificant.” However, it is clear that Tehran is taking the meeting seriously. “It will fail to affect the Islamic republic’s policy and power,” Baqeri claimed.
US acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan arrived in Iraq on an unannounced visit aimed at shoring up US-Iraq relations. Since President Donald Trump spoke at Al-Asad airbase in December, there have been calls by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq for the US to withdraw its forces. Those militias increasingly hold sway throughout parts of Iraq, coming in second in Iraq’s elections last year. The US says that it wants to build on Iraqi security after the war on ISIS; Iran wants to erode Iraq’s security and strangle the country in its tentacles.
Iraq is already sinking under the weight of Iranian demands. Oil is smuggled to Iran. Drugs peddled by Iranian networks enter Iraq, according to locals. In Basra, much of the economy has been squandered and stripped by corrupt Iranian-backed local leaders, leading to anti-regime protests last summer.
The US has stirred controversy in Iraq by suggesting that after the US leaves Syria it would use Iraq to “watch” Iran. This has caused condemnation of US policy in Iraq. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has said that Iraq should not be used to “harm other states.”
This potentially weakens the US hand in Iraq at a difficult time. If America leaves Syria and also has to scramble to stay in Iraq, US power is threatened in the region at a time when Tehran thinks it has won in Syria and thinks it can outmaneuver Washington.
This explains why the Iranian regime is so concerned about the Poland meeting and why it is trying to use the 40th anniversary events to spread a message that it is “thriving” while the US is failing. Iran’s Press TV pushes reports that the US is “running a policy on behalf of Zionist Israel” and that US “foreign policy is in the pockets of Israelis and Zionist lobby groups.”
Iran seeks to capitalize on the recent controversy in the US by a congresswoman and push the narrative that pro-Israel groups control US policy. This is part of the Iranian regime’s antisemitic agenda, hidden behind its claims that it only opposes “Zionism” when in fact it threatens Israel with annihilation.
As part of its goal to threaten Israel, Iran continues to squander the resources of its country on ballistic missiles and a nuclear program. This week, the regime again boasted that it was increasing uranium enrichment, and that it would move forward with its nuclear activities.
All of this is a red flag showing how the 2015 nuclear deal merely papered over the reality in the Islamic republic. Iran’s regime never moderates. Its appetite never decreases, but only grows. The stronger it gets in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, the more it wants – the more arrogant it becomes in seeking to challenge the US, Israel and the entire region.
Zarif is the spokesman for this policy. He seeks to paint the US as failing and to posit that Iran is merely unwilling to “submit” to US policies. He claims that the US has gone through “40 years of failure to destabilize Iran through blood and treasure.”
But let’s look at the balance sheet. Wherever Iranian militias are – in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen – there are no new universities or achievements. Where there are US allies – in Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi, or Amman – there is progress: economic, cultural and educational.
Tehran’s regime is a failure – no matter how many times it says “death to Israel and America.”