TEHRAN — Iran is hosting the biggest international summit it’s held in its modern history, and the country that is known for provocative words and unpredictable actions is trying to paint itself as the victim of lies, unfair sanctions and terrorism.
The Iranians have gathered representatives from more than 100 countries, all clearly aware that the U.S. considers Iran an immense threat to the world’s nuclear security and a major source of terror.
But in Tehran, everywhere the delegates go, they see descriptions of horrors the Iranians say were inflicted on their “innocent” citizens. One of the major displays the Iranians have set up is a series of cars, all of them bombed. The drivers of the cars were Iranian scientists.
The attacks were right out of a spy thriller: The bombs were planted on the cars by a speeding motorcycle driver. Iran blames Israel for the violence and there has been no flat-out denial from Israel.
At the summit the Iranians even trotted out the scientists’ widows and children. Some delegates have been offered tours of a nuclear facility the Iranians claim is for peaceful purposes. But the U.S. says satellite photos show the facility has been sanitized in recent weeks and the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Thursday that Iran has added about 1,000 new machines in an underground site that produce material that can be used to construct nuclear weapons.
“This information that the United States announced to the people, it’s wrong,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast.
Mehmanparast also called threats by Israel to attack nuclear facilities “a joke” and said if Israel attacks, Iran may respond militarily.
“Everything is on the table,” he said.
The summit will make it hard to argue that Iran is isolated, but nothing has changed the minds of the U.S. and especially Israel that Iran continues to rapidly make progress toward a nuclear weapon.