So, how does a country celebrate an anniversary of something important?
The USA celebrates its anniversary day with fireworks and BBQ. The French light up the Eifel Tower. Iran has found other ways to celebrate. Iran celebrates its 38th Islamic Revolution anniversary with threats and hate filled anti-Western rhetoric, focusing especially on the US. Phrased well by bigstory, “Iranians on Friday marked the anniversary of the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution with..mass rallies that saw people step on large U.S. flags laid out on the streets”.
Quoted in the washingtonpost, President Rouhani announced that “the marchers are telling the world to speak to the Iranian nation with respect”. The Iranians expect and demand to be treated with respect!
They build the expectation of respect while they publicly trample the American flag, burn the American flag, chant “Death to America”, step on images of former American presidents, parade with mocking effigies of President Trump, hold mock execution posters of President Trump, punch caricatures of President Trump’s image, spread threats against anyone who confronts Iran and refer to the US, UK and Israeli leaders as the “devil triangle”. These “civilized” actions enjoy the full support and consent of the Supreme Leader Khamenei and the so called moderate President Rouhani.
Consoling is the fact that many Iranians on social media, such as twitter and Facebook, used the hashtag #LoveBeyondFlags to electronically resist the expressions of hatred.
The press coverage is interesting.
While describing these external expressions of hatred, the washingtonpost seems to explain this behavior by describing it as protests against President Trump’s entry ban and as responses to the Trump administrations “forceful rhetoric”. Reuters seemed to connect this negative behavior to the fact that the Trump administration dared to “put Iran on notice”. They do remind readers that diplomatic ties were cut when the Iranians stormed the American Embassy and took 52 American hostages. Newsweek at least does not try to display Trump misdoings as some kind of justification for the Iranians, but does mention that Trump did impose new sanctions in response to the Iranian ballistic missiles violations. The only problem with the attempted “justifications”, is that there is nothing new in these acts of contempt towards the USA and the West. It is traditional behavior. It was acted out in the time of Obama (see for instance newyorker), and has nothing really to do with what the current President does or does not do.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif played the diplomatic game by twitting protesters raising posters with the words: “American people are welcome and invited to visit Iran.” He did forget to warn of the dangers lurking for dual citizens and Americans at large, who can easily find themselves held hostage behind bars for political reasons.
Now let us try imagine if such incidents of disrespect occurred in the US, against the Iranian flag or leadership, with the blessing of the authorities. Perhaps it is time for the US to demand and expect respect from Iran.