[Originally published on Human Events]
Last week’s anti-American and anti-Israeli demonstrations in Iran, a response to the amateur YouTube movie trailer insulting the prophet Muhammad, were encouraged and may have even been partially staged by the Iranian government in order to score political points against its two staunchest enemies, Israel and the United States.
On Thursday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei came out in favor of the various countries’ outrage, staged or not, over the film clip. In a public statement, he called the video a “desperate move” by “the enemies of the Islamic Awakening,” which is the Iranian government’s term for the Arab popular uprisings.
During a Sunday morning appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the embassy protests to make the case for a military strike on Iran. He said that the “fanaticism” behind the outrage would also motivate a nuclear attack on Israel by Iran, which he said was “six months or so” away from being 90 percent ready to build a bomb.
He added, “Do you want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”
It appears that Netanyahu was correct in a way he may not have expected: the protests in Iran last week were at least partially affiliated with the Iranian government.
On Thursday, Human Events spoke to a Tehran university student who said he believed the protesters outside the embassy were “probably Basij,” the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ paramilitary street force, often identified by their strictly Islamic dress — beards on men, long black veils on women — and staunch loyalty to the Supreme Leader.