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Tehran Dangles the Samson Option Again by Amir Taheri for The Gatestone Institute – 27.11.22

The new enrichment program is taking place in the Fordo nuclear center which, built deep underground, is supposed to be immune from possible air strikes.

As on the eight previous occasions when this trick was used, Tehran's message is addressed to Western powers, notably the United States: resume the nuclear talks or else!

The mullahs played that trick with presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. In every case, except that of Trump, the trick worked.

At the same time, Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian plays reluctant debutante by claiming that the US "is begging us to resume talks." Over the past two weeks, he has been pestering Omani and Qatari foreign ministers with phone calls demanding they persuade Washington to return to the stalled talks.

Last week, Tehran announced that 41 foreign nationals have been seized as hostages and charged with helping the current anti-regime protests across the country. That brings the number of hostages now held by the mullahs to 81, the highest since they seized 52 American diplomats in 1979.

Will the trick work again? I am almost certain that, had it not been for the current uprising against the Islamic Republic, the Biden administration would have fallen for the trick with a big smile, if only to save Obama's only legacy while settling scores with Trump.

It is not hard to expose Tehran's game as a cheap trick. For years, Tehran, through its lobbyists and useful idiots in Washington, has been selling the story that Khamenei has issued a fatwa banning the production of nuclear weapons under Islamic law.

To be sure, no one has ever seen that fatwa except supposedly Obama, who claimed he had some knowledge of it. But if there is such a fatwa and the mullahs don't intend to build a bomb, why would they need to enrich uranium up to 60 percent?

The mullahs' game worked for as long as it concerned only themselves and the cynical or lily-livered Western politicians.

This time round, however, a third player is in the field: a good chunk of Iranian people who feel they cannot take it anymore.

The myth of the Khomeinist despotism as a people-based regime, peddled by characters like Noam Chomsky, has been punctured. Even Bill Clinton is now tweeting support for young Iranians calling for regime change in Tehran.

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Amir Taheri was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. He has worked at or written for innumerable publications, published eleven books, and has been a columnist for Asharq Al-Awsat since 1987.

This article was originally published by Asharq al-Awsat and is reprinted by kind permission of the author.

© 2022 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Pictured: The Isfahan uranium enrichment facility in Isfahan, Iran. (Photo by Getty Images)

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