The ruling mullahs in Iran have always played an unpredictable role, to the extent that it has always been expected that they will take unpredictable steps.
In the face of a national uprising that seems to be continuing despite the massive repression being practiced against it, and the regime being violently shaken by the unexpectedly tough stance of the International Atomic Energy Agency on the never-ending nuclear dispute, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued orders to resort to an old recipe that relies on two elements. .
The first is the announcement that the Islamic Republic has begun enriching uranium hexafluoride to 60 percent instead of the 3/67 percent permitted under the moribund “nuclear deal” struck with former US President Barack Obama. This means that the mullahs intend to accelerate enrichment to 90 percent; This gives them the materials needed to produce nuclear weapons.
The new enrichment program is being carried out at the Fordow nuclear center, which was built deep underground and is supposed to be immune from possible air strikes.
As on the eight previous occasions in which Iran used this ploy, Tehran’s message to the Western powers, especially the United States, is: Resume the nuclear talks or else…!
Over the years, Tehran has accumulated more than 10,000 kilograms of enriched uranium which it has only used for diplomatic blackmail.
And the mullahs played this trick with Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. In every case, except for Trump, the ploy worked. However, it did not work with Trump. Because he wanted to take a picture with the supreme mullah, just as he was snatched from North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un. And I think if they gave Trump the image he wanted, they would get much more in return than what his predecessors offered.
For their part, the mullahs need to talk about the nuclear deal, with the aim of countering accusations against their regime as a global pariah. Moreover, the endless talks enable the mullahs to emerge as a major power dealing with other major powers. For its part, Kayhan daily boasted that “all major powers need to talk to the Islamic Republic”; Because they “know that our revolution can demolish their palaces on their heads.”
According to the official Fars news agency, Tehran today possesses enough advanced missiles to set fire to the entirety of West Asia, which Tehran now calls the Middle East. In other words, the mullahs are considering the option of Samson.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian plays the reluctant novice by claiming that the US is “begging us to resume talks.”
Over the past two weeks, Abdullahian has been pestering the Omani and Qatari foreign ministers with phone calls asking them to intervene to persuade Washington to return to the stalled talks.
The other element in the Khomeinist recipe is hostage-taking, something the mullahs have practiced since day one of their 43-year rule over Iran. For its part, Tehran announced, on Tuesday, that it had taken 41 foreigners hostage and accused them of aiding the current raging protests across the country. This brings the number of hostages now held by the mullahs to 81, the largest number since they kidnapped 52 American diplomats in 1979.
The question here is: Will this trick work again? I am certain that were it not for the current uprising against the Islamic Republic, the Biden administration would have fallen for the ruse with a big smile on its face, at least in order to salvage Obama’s sole legacy while at the same time settling scores with Trump.
It is not difficult to expose Tehran’s game as a cheap bluff. For years, Tehran, through its lobbyists and helpful idiots in Washington, has been promoting the idea that Khamenei had issued a fatwa banning the production of nuclear weapons under Islamic law.
It is certain that no one saw the alleged fatwa except Obama, who claimed to have some knowledge of it. But if there is a fatwa and the mullahs do not intend to build a nuclear bomb, then why do they need to enrich uranium up to 60 percent? This degree of enrichment has no obvious benefit as fuel for Iran’s research nuclear power plants, which only need 20 percent enriched uranium.
In any case, plutonium is now being used to make nuclear bombs, rather than enriching uranium. Therefore, the enrichment that Tehran is proud of is nothing more than an attempt at diplomatic blackmail.
With regard to hostage-taking as a tool of diplomacy, the past four decades must have taught everyone not to be swayed by such attempts. We have experienced this many times.
When it comes to the choice of Samson, which is being considered by the propaganda machine of the “Revolutionary Guard”, the mullahs may benefit from re-reading the story of Samson in the Bible.
Samson represents the biblical Hercules who kills a lion with his bare hands and leads 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. Despite having a gigantic body, his mind was small and he let himself fall in love with a woman, which is a symbolic way of saying that he had fallen into delusions of grandeur and lost the divine grace behind this power.
On the other hand, the mullahs’ game has been successful as long as it only concerns themselves and pessimistic Western politicians. This time, however, we find a third player in the field: a large portion of Iranians who feel they can no longer tolerate the status quo.
The myth of Khomeini’s tyranny as a system based on the support of the people, promoted by figures such as Noam Chomsky, has been punctured. Even Bill Clinton, who once apologized for “the wrong my civilization did to Islam,” is now tweeting in support of young Iranians calling for regime change in Tehran.
The Khomeinist regime reminds me of an ancient Greek tale about the hedgehog who knows one thing and the fox who knows many things. The hedgehog can protect itself as long as the fox is not willing to use its greater knowledge against it.
In dealing with an authoritarian regime like the one imposed on Iran by the mullahs, the options are not limited to surrendering to the invasion, as Iranian lobbyists in Washington claim. Perhaps the best option would be to let the mullahs taste the bitterness of what they have made, thus revealing their detachment from their contemporary reality, while the younger generations in Iran desire to be part of the modern world.
For the first time since the mullahs seized power, the battle over Iran’s future is taking place within Iran itself. Even assuming that the Khomeinist regime enjoyed divine grace, it is now increasingly clear that it has lost it, becoming a caricature of the biblical Samson.