Obviously, this isn’t big news everywhere but there is something disturbing in the fact that the police in Tehran confiscate clothes with UK/US flags on them. The big question is “Why?”. Why is it necessary, at a time when relations between Iran and the West are supposed to be improving, go out and confiscate t-shirts? Are the images of these flags so hurtful to the regime that they are deemed dangerous? And if so, dangerous to whom? To the people who are wearing them or to the onlookers?
The only “reasonable” reason is the warning that Khamenei issued in relation to maintaining a “revolutionary position” against the “onslaught” of Western influence on “political, economic and cultural” fronts. Khamenei supports the nuclear deal as long as it releases the Iranian economy from the clutches of sanctions but he is fearful that the rapprochement following foreign investments will harm revolutionary goals.
The confiscation of t-shirts cannot sit well with Rouhani’s views on the nuclear deal and its repercussions and another example of the “Two Voices” emanating from Tehran. Khamenei is fearful that even such a small item such as a US/UK flag t-shirt can lead Iranians away from the Islamic Revolution and the fact that Iranian people may find sympathy with the US/UK doesn’t sit well with him since he continues to view the US as his greatest enemy.