A valuable lesson in how the Iranian regime can re-write developments to proclaim victory over "America"....
In the Tehran Friday Prayer, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami confidently explained;
The massive turnout of the Iranian people in the country’s parliamentary elections brought the US and Europe such a failure that they had to ease their sanctions against Iran....This blow forced the US to soften sanctions endorsed by its allies on the country’s oil industry...The Iranian nation's move compelled them to regret their wrongdoings.
Khatami was far from the only voice making the proclamation. Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar said the US had retreated while the European Union "realised its mistake".
Now --- given not only questions about the supposed enthusiasm of Iranians for the elections but also the escalating effect of sanctions, with Iran facing increasing difficulty selling oil and financing its transactions, the issues over even basic supplies of food, and the European Union "realising its mistake" on Friday by putting more Iranians on its list of those sanctioned over human rights --- how could regime officials put out their assurances?
The answer lies in the calibration of sanctions by Washington, noted by EA, earlier in this week. The US State Department announced that it was waiving punishment for six months on 10 European Union countries and Japan, as they had taken steps to reduce imports of oil from Iran.
Trust me, that is far from a "retreat". Rather, it was the US putting out the line that its strategy of constricting Tehran is getting results. And at the same time, it kept up the pressure on other nations to cut Iranian oil supplies, explaining that 12 --- including China, India, and Turkey --- were still facing Washington's sanctions.
Now the US will not take that step. It will not do so because those countries, whatever their public criticism of economic restrictions, are slashing their purchases of Iranian crudes or planning to do so. China reduced its imports by 45% in February.
Ayatollah Khatami must have missed these developments. More likely, he is a true believer in the success of the Islamic Republic's defiance, to the point of cognitive dissonance.
Equally likely, those regime officials who do recognise reality have made this calculation. Iran is about to enter nuclear talks with the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China. It cannot afford to do so, for the sake of its negotiating position or for its public opinion, wearing a cloak of "weakness".
So expect more from the pulpit, from Parliament, and from Government in coming days. As Vice President Mohammad-Reza Mirtajeddini assured on Friday, “The US will undoubtedly have no option but to retreat."