On July 22, during a meeting in Tehran with top Iranian officials representing the country abroad, Hassan Rouhani delivered an inflammatory speech to the US. He mocked America’s political strength by saying ‘don’t play with the lion’s tail, it will bring regret.’
He didn’t actually say what he meant by ‘regret’, but added that “closing the Strait of Hormuz is easy and we have many other options on which strait to close.”
Rouhani didn’t elaborate on just how he would go about closing the Strait of Hormuz and one has to ask where on a map of Iranian influence those ‘other straits’ might be. Sounds rather more like a bluff or a bad joke.
At the same time as Rouhani was making such statements, his economic team in the Majlis came to an agreement regarding one section of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). They settled one-quarter of the FATF bill, as well as the financing for the law on fighting terrorism. This is the law, they consider, without which the US can infiltrate and be arrogant. It could just be that this tone of threat is actually saying, I was wrong and Iran is backing off.
It is laughable the way Rouhani spoke about the Iranian essence and culture making them peacemakers and eager to help their neighbors fight assassins. The president’s own mischief in the Middle East and North Africa, even in Europe, needs no reminders. It would have been better for him to admit how much Iran interferes in neighboring countries’ internal affairs.
He does, however, make the point that “Iran’s strategic depth is from the East in the subcontinent to the Mediterranean in the West. It is stretched to the Red Sea in the South and Caucasus in the North.” From this, you can clearly see the extent of Iran’s meddling.
Rouhani’s grasp of the US’s strategy against the Islamic Republic is expressed as:
“Their main policy is to overthrow us, then break us up and weaken us with sanctions.”
Obviously, Rouhani needs to act tough in front of the Islamic Republic top officials, but he knows well that the key factor that will topple the regime are the protesters. Yesterday many cities in the southern provinces demonstrated against water shortages in Iran.
And as for that lion, since the 19th century depicted on the Persian/Iranian flag, it was replaced by an Islamic symbol in 1980 on the national flag of the Islamic Republic, emphasizing the departure from the previous 2,500 years of history. The lion since stands with those who resist the Iranian regime’s repression. Rouhani calls on it in vain. Like the rest of his posturing, it is just empty words.