Right now, with marches and fiery speeches, the Islamic Republic in Iran is marking the 38th anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran and the holding of American diplomats as hostages for 444 days.
As the US Congress seeks new ways of tightening the screws on Iran, the Tehran leadership remains prisoner to old illusions. Most of those illusions are centered on the United States, which has frightened and fascinated the mullahs since they seized power almost 40 years ago.
The mullahs are frightened of the US because their view of history is shaped by their belief in conspiracy theories. They regard the US as a heavily-centralized diabolical machine controlled by a small coterie of conspirators, determined to rule the world. Internal political fights in the US are seen as part of a carefully scripted scenario to confuse the outside world.