The U.S.-Iran Nuclear deal was supposed to usher in a new era of openness. Instead, distrust continues to prevail between the two nations a day after Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 student takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Despite the historical agreement, there is a strong anti-U.S. fervor in Tehran.
To commemorate the anniversary, thousands demonstrated in front of the old U.S. Embassy, just a few days after forcefully shutting down a fake KFC restaurant because “it was too American.” During the rally, a bunch of new anti-American billboards were released, including a mockery of the Iwo Jima flag-raising picture that symbolized Marine sacrifice in World War II. “It feels like a witch hunt,” said one Iranian-American businessman in Tehran. “It’s pretty scary.”
While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized the recent actions of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has announced that in spite of the nuclear deal, “the United States remains Iran’s main enemy and cannot be trusted.” While maintaining that the “Death to America” slogan is eternal, Ali Khamenei warned of more arrests after four Iranian-Americans, a few journalists and a businessman, are being held captive.
“Let us not go and arrest one person here, another there, based on an excuse and without any reason, and then make up a case and aggrandize it, and finally say this is an infiltration movement,” said Rouhani, who is under extreme pressure from hard-liners ahead of February’s parliamentary elections.
It’s clear that Iran’s diplomatic higher-ups are saying the right things to honor the historic deal. But their Revolutionary Guard Corps are unwilling to sit back and allow diplomatic relations to continue.
Back home, Senator Ted Cruz claimed that the Obama Administration has prevented American terror victims from receiving compensation for their losses and called the Iranian nuclear deal “the worst betrayal.” In September, Cruz was joined by Donald Trump and Sarah Palin in a rally against the Iran deal.
Cruz, the deal’s most active critic, called the money it would release to Iran through sanctions relief “a national disgrace” during a Senate hearing on compensation for victims of Iranian and Palestinian terror. “We want you know that we haven’t forgotten these crimes, and we will never forget,” said Cruz. “Even today the killing still rages,” he added.