Tuesday, September 27th | 2 Tishri 5783

February 12, 2016 12:22 pm

Happy Birthday, Islamic Republic

avatar by Ruthie Blum

A screenshot of footage showing US sailors seized by the Iranian navy in January. Ruthie Blum argues that " Iran has been milking [the incident] for all ‎its worth over the past month. Photo: Screenshot.

A screenshot of footage showing US sailors seized by the Iranian navy in January. Ruthie Blum argues that ” Iran has been milking [the incident] for all ‎its worth over the past month.” Photo: Screenshot.

On Thursday, Iran celebrated the 37th anniversary of its Islamic revolution with great fanfare. To ‎mark the success of the reign of the mullahs, which began in 1979 with the return of Ayatollah ‎Ruhollah Khomeini from exile, Iranians took to the streets to chant “Death to America, Death to ‎Israel,” while waving banners hailing the current despot-cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.‎

Normally, this occasion involves a march to the defunct US Embassy, the site of the hostage-‎taking of American diplomats, to bask in the defeat of the Great Satan at the hands of students ‎loyal to Khomeini.‎

This year, however, the regime in Tehran had additional and more recent reasons to gloat. The ‎first was the lifting of international sanctions, made possible by Iran’s intransigence during ‎nuclear negotiations. Understanding full well that US President Barack Obama would stoop to ‎any low necessary to achieve a deal with the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism, the ‎Iranian hegemons got what they didn’t even have to bargain for.‎

The second was the January 12 detaining of US sailors, whose boats had gone off course in the ‎Persian Gulf. Letting Washington grovel and beg to have the 10 Americans released unharmed — ‎and then thank the Iranians for being merciful — merely added honey to the baklava Khamenei ‎was nibbling with his afternoon tea at the time.‎

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The latter event has provided much amusement for the supreme leader and his henchmen. It has ‎been the subject of speeches by top brass and the impetus for awards bestowed upon ‎Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps naval officers. Indeed, it is a story that Iran has been milking for all ‎its worth over the past month. Not a day has gone by without some new piece of “information” ‎about the incident. ‎

One minute there was an announcement that sensitive intelligence was retrieved from the ‎cellphones and laptops of the abducted servicemen; the next there was a previously unseen photo ‎of one of the sailors weeping.‎

It was to be expected, then, that the Islamic Revolution Day parade would feature a re-enactment ‎of the event. And members of Iran’s Basij militia, along with other willing participants, staged a ‎street performance to depict it in all its glory.‎

Some played the U.S. sailors, dressed in military fatigues, their hands shackled and their heads ‎covered in burlap sacks. Others acted as their proud captors, forcing them to their knees at ‎gunpoint. Dozens of extras simply held their arms behind their necks, mimicking the surrender of ‎the sailors broadcast on Iran’s state-run TV.‎

Cheerful crowds surrounded the mass mockery of America, as was fitting for the illustrious ‎annual hate-fest.‎

Meanwhile, the harshest response from the State Department on the repeated flaunting of the ‎humiliated sailors has been to express “disgust,” whining that if the situation had been reversed, ‎the U.S. would never have behaved that way to Iran.‎

No kidding.‎

But nobody is as keenly aware of this as Iranian Foreign Minister and chief nuclear negotiator ‎Mohammad Javad Zarif, who frequently screamed at Secretary of State John Kerry at summits in Europe ‎with utter impunity, at least from the Obama administration. It was actually Khamenei who ‎purportedly told Zarif to tone it down a notch. “After all,” the supreme leader must have said to ‎his underling, “we can bring America down just as easily by speaking softly.”‎

He was right, of course, which ought to serve his fundamentalist successors in good stead ahead ‎of the Feb. 26 elections for the Majlis (parliament) and Assembly of Experts, the body that ‎selects the supreme leader for a lifetime appointment.‎

Khamenei is 76, so in a speech he gave encouraging the public to vote — a joke in and of itself, ‎because Iranians who don’t support Khamenei’s candidates find themselves jailed, tortured or ‎killed — he pointed out that the next Assembly of Experts could end up having to appoint the ‎next mullah-in-chief.‎

‎”This committee should choose a leader who holds the key to the movement of this revolution,” ‎he said, making it clear what he expected at the ballot box.‎

A year from now, on the 38th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, a new president will be in ‎the White House. Whoever that person is, it is safe to say that his or her effigy will be burned in ‎Iran as part of the festivities. But if it is a Republican, the United States will at least attempt to ‎stand tall, douse the flames and hold Iran accountable. This is why Khamenei is praying to Allah ‎that a Democrat wins.‎

Ruthie Blum is the web editor of The Algemeiner (algemeiner.com)‎. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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