The View From Tehran
HERE in Iran I have been finding it hard to make sense of all the strident utterances about the Islamic Republic emanating from America’s capital this week. Being Supreme Leader, I need to understand what my enemy is thinking. Being an ayatollah, I can modestly say that I am something of an expert in textual exegesis. Nonetheless, I confess that I’m puzzled.
The first thing we need to know is whether America or Israel intends to attack our nuclear facilities, and if so when. So I decided to read first what Barack Obama told Israel’s visiting prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the 13,000 delegates to the annual policy conference of the mighty American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as the Zionist lobby is known.
From the beginning of his presidency, Mr Obama has pronounced himself determined to prevent our revolution from acquiring nuclear weapons. This week he seemed to sharpen things up. He told AIPAC that prevention meant prevention. Contrary to some reports, he did not intend merely to “contain” a nuclear-armed Iran but to make sure that we never got a bomb in the first place. Moreover, stopping it was in America’s national interest, not just in Israel’s, and to this end all options, including military ones, were on the table.
So far, so clear: Mr Obama may attack if we proceed towards nuclear weapons. He seems utterly unimpressed by my assurances that we do not want one. On the other hand, he is not thirsting for a fight. His main point this week seemed to be that the sanctions he imagines to be “crippling” should be given time to work and that this was therefore not the moment for “bluster”. Too much “loose talk” of war had already helped Iran, by driving up the price of oil. He said it would be better right now to heed Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to speak softly and carry a big stick.
From here in Tehran it looked as if the intended recipient of Mr Obama’s strictures was the leader of the Zionist entity, which the American hegemon does so much to prop up. It was therefore a little startling to see Mr Netanyahu, speaking to AIPAC a day later and only hours after visiting the White House, pay almost no heed to what his American patron said.