Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei vows opposition to the United States and criticizes America's presence in the Persian Gulf. General Hossein Salami threatens the United States that Iran could close the Straits of Hormuz; and references the 2016 American sailors taken hostage on the Persian Gulf.
Massive demonstrations in Tehran are against the United States and Israel, often Saudi Arabia is included in the burnt flags, torched effigies, and Death to America chants. Iran facilitates demonstrations by making subway travel free on demonstration days.
In Paris thousands of Iranians arrived to campaign for reform at the annual National Council of Resistance of Iran event. Supporters included former US Congressional Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former New York Mayer Rudi Giuliani, and high-level representatives from France, Spain, Algeria, Jordan, and Egypt.
Iran is the latest incarnation of Persia, which pre dates the birth of Christ in the Empire of Cyrus the Great. Alexander the Great, and dynasties of the Zoroastrian religion have ruled. The Arab invasion brought Islamic rule. The Mongol Genghis Khan and his descendants reigned for centuries until WWI. Military Commander Reza Khan became Prime Minister after the war. He made his son, Reza Shah Pahlavi, Crown Prince. Persia became known as Iran in 1935.
Reza Shah Pahlavi came to power during WWII; after Anglo-Soviet invasion forced the abdication of his father. The Shah embarked on a campaign to modernize and westernize the country. He teamed with Israel to develop a short-range system for missiles, and nuclear technology. He banned the Communist party, and had strong support from the United States and the United Kingdom. Shah Pahlavi lost support from the clergy, and clashed with Islamists. By 1979 he was forced to leave Iran.
Ayatollah Khomeini was exiled in France. He sought President Jimmy Carter's help to return to Iran and overcome the military, which was loyal to the Shah. Many claim that Carter was suckered. Khomeini returned, purged the military, and became an adversary of the United States. Khomeini proclaimed Iran an Islamic State, and reversed all pro Western policies. 52 Americans were taken hostage inside the US Embassy. They were released the day that President Ronald Reagan took the oath of office. The exiled Shah died of cancer in Egypt the following year.
Ali Khamenei was appointed Supreme Leader in 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini died. During the Clinton Administration Iran was a sponsor of terrorism, and sought to acquire nuclear arms; oil and trade sanctions were placed. The Bush Administration described Iran as an axis of evil and warned of proliferation of long-range missiles being developed. IAEA found Iran in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Violations and warnings continued.
The US, UK, France, Russia, China, plus Germany and the EU negotiated with Iran for years. This resulted in the 2015 Iranian Nuclear Deal. It claims to limit Iran's nuclear activity in return for lifting economic sanctions in addition to gaining access to more than $100 billion in assets frozen overseas.
Ayatollah Khamenei is not Mikhail Gorbachev, and Obama is not Ronald Reagan. After the Nuclear Deal, Iran conducted a series of tests of new ballistic missiles. Language empowering member nations to take necessary measures to prevent missile technology transfer was replaced with weak language, which merely requests Iran not to continue its missile program for 8 years.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly opposed the framework "This plan threatens the survival of Israel. Such a deal would not block Iran's path to the bomb. It would pave it."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced Iran's blatant violations of UN regulations and a recent German intelligence report highlighted the fact that after the Nuclear Deal Iran continues to seek illegal nuclear technology.
Ambassador John Bolton asserted that the nuclear situation with Iran is perilous, that the next president of the US will face a dangerous period where they must do the analysis required to come to a decision to use force. Bolton voiced, "There is only one way to block the Iranians from building a nuclear bomb, bomb them first."
The United States Institute for Peace affirms that Iran has the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East, and it should be able to develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles over time. Iran should be able to strike Western Europe after 2017, and the United States not before 2020.