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Thursday, November 7, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Anniversaries are an opportunity to commemorate something special that mustn’t be forgotten. In Iran, there is a long memory for something especially malign — the 1979 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the beginning of a 444-day hostage crisis. The current mullahcracy has chosen the 40th anniversary of that jarring day to announce a rapid acceleration of a nuclear program that threatens the United States along with the rest of the world. Not satisfied to add insult to injury, the rogue regime threatens to aggravate injury with nuclear annihilation.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, chose the ignoble day of Nov. 4 to publicize on state TV the start-up of 60 IR-6 advanced centrifuges capable of manufacturing enriched uranium at a rate 10 times that of older models. “We must thank the enemy for bringing about this opportunity to show the might of the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially in the nuclear industry,” Mr. Salehi was quoted to say.


Iran announced in May it would abandon nuclear material limits imposed by the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal in retaliation for President Trump’s withdrawal from the deal last year. With production climbing to five kilograms per day, the Islamic republic is rapidly shrinking the one-year estimate for becoming nuclear bomb-ready.

Tehran has made a habit of tweaking the eagle’s beak. Americans of adult age during the ‘70s cannot forget the gut-wrenching news coverage from Tehran as thousands of so-called “students” — mostly men of military age — overrunning the U.S. embassy and dragging out its 52 staff members in blindfolds.

The shameless terrorizing of U.S. diplomatic personnel was the capstone of a year of violent convulsions. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had already fled the country and revolutionary organizations had fought street battles against loyalist armed forces until exiled radical Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned and assumed power as supreme leader. On the day unabashedly confident Ronald Reagan succeeded the doubt-ridden Jimmy Carter, the captors concluded that discretion is the better part of valor and promptly returned the hostages.

Still, for its role in aiding the shah hold onto power in the ‘50s and for treating him for cancer during exile, the United States has spent 40 years as the place the mullahs love to hate. As much as Americans have a fondness for chanting “U-S-A” at political rallies and football games, Tehran dwellers can be counted on to flood the streets when summoned by authorities to fill TV screens with chants of “Death to America,” in Persian and banners with the same message in English.

On cue, they returned to the still-standing U.S. Embassy in Tehran and other cities on Monday to uplift the familiar refrain. “Thanks to God,” intoned Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, the commander of the Iranian army. “Today the revolution’s seedlings have evolved into a fruitful and huge tree that its shadow has covered the entire [region].”

His words are hardly an exaggeration. In recent years, Iran has managed to insinuate its presence into the inner workings of nations throughout the Middle East, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. It is often criticized as the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism, but it would not be unfair to also name Iran as a peerless practitioner of imperialism.

It is Iran’s incessantly threatening demeanor that Mr. Trump has frequently cited as a cogent reason for exiting the nuclear deal that was designed to merely delay the mullahs’ nuclear quest. He drew attention to the violent incident, retweeting video posted on Arab News and adding: “Dozens of Iraqi demonstrators have stormed the Iranian consulate in #Karbala, lowering the flag and burning part of the outer wall.”

And it is Mr. Trump’s blunt denunciations of the Islamic regime’s regional offensive that has left it implacably opposed to reconsidering its push toward nuclearization. “One way to block America’s political infiltration is to ban any talks with America, said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the anniversary of the U.S. embassy takeover. “It means Iran will not yield to America’s pressure.”

To end a world war, the United States used a nuclear weapon — 74 years ago. Memories of the devastation have had a sobering effect on humanity, except for Iran. Nothing more starkly warns of its penchant for provocation than the unveiling of the mullahs’ spike in nuclear activity on the anniversary of the treacherous takeover of the U.S. embassy.


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