From Informed Comment
In remarks Saturday to the Iranian foreign policy establishment in Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani gave some warnings to Donald Trump. He said, "Mr. Trump, do not play with the lion's tail. The only result of such a course will be profound regret."
With regard to Washington's current attempts to sow the seeds of instability in Iran, he said, "You are not in a position to move against the security and interests of this country, the nation of Iran."
"America," he said, "must know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars."
Critics of the president were astonished at this diction, which echoed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's description of the Gulf War of 1991 as "the mother of all battles." (This is actually an Arabic idiom and "mother" could be translated as "essence." No similar idiom exists in Persian, so Rouhani is speaking a translated Persian form of Dictator Arabic.) Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in September of 1980 and the two fought a major war until 1988. The Iraqi leader was the most hated man in Iran, and to have an Iranian president more or less quote him is shocking, to say the least.
It should be said, however, that Rouhani was not talking about attacking the US. In fact, he began by saying that Iran was glad to offer Washington the "mother of all peace." He went on to say that if Trump instead opted to attack Iran, then *that* would result in the mother of all Wars.
The US press will likely try to turn Rouhani into the aggressor here, however, in a long tradition that goes back to William Randolph Hearst. Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev once observed in Russian that Communism would outlast capitalism and that Soviets would still be around to bury capitalism, which would predecease it.
The US press attributed to him the words, "We will bury you!" -- they made a statement of determination and steadfastness, not of aggression. But I grew up believing the falsehood.
Iran signed a treaty with the US in 2015 and observed all its requirements. Trump has torn that treaty up and launched covert operations to destabilize the country. Trump is the aggressor here, and Rouhani was just saying that Iran would defend itself very effectively if attacked.
This is true. Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq was the biggest debacle in the history of American foreign policy. Iran is geographically and demographically three times larger than Iraq, so do the math.
Still, Rouhani's words are most unwise and are, indeed, shocking and shameful.
Speaking of shocking and shameful, Trump of course always has to be the biggest dog, so he shouted at Rouhani on Twitter in all caps: