For many ordinary Iranians, US threats barely register

Tehran (AFP) –


While some US officials hope their increasingly aggressive measures could trigger some kind of new Iranian revolution, they are unlikely to get much take-up at Tehran's Tajrish bazaar.

The overriding response to Monday's threat-laden speech by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was one of weary apathy.

Not one person approached by AFP over several hours at the upmarket bazaar in northern Tehran had seen the speech.

When its key points were relayed to them, it was generally seen as the same angry rhetoric they have been hearing from the United States for decades.

"Americans think they own the world. They want to decide for other countries as they wish," said Omidi, a retired man, shopping at the bazaar.

"They want to have everything. They want to have even more nuclear energy and atomic bombs than they have now. And they want the countries that oppose them to have nothing," he added, indignantly.

Pompeo's threat to "crush" Iran with sanctions has sparked widespread fears, particularly among anyone with a business linked to the outside world.

But sanctions are also familiar in Iran, and many remained defiant.

"There have been sanctions over the last 30 years," said Musavi, a government employee.

"If it was going to have any effect, it would have affected us over the last 30 years. Iran has never paid attention to sanctions and has stood on its own feet," he added.

"America has proven for the last 40 years that it is hostile towards us," said Chegini, a street seller.

Pompeo said he wanted a new deal with Iran, but his 12 demands on ending Iran's regional interventions and missile programme are considered a non-starter by the government, particularly in the way they were presented.

"Trump's secretary of state is 40 years behind the times. The Iranian nation had the revolution so that no one can tell them what to do," said Eshagh Jahangiri, Iran's first vice president.

"Trump's administration will eventually have to come to terms with the reality that Iran... must be spoken to with the language of courtesy and logic and not with the language of threats," he wrote on Twitter.