Nation: The Cruel Stalemate Drags On

Threats, warnings and shifting signals on the hostages "

Carter doesn't know how ridiculous he sounds when he threatens us," jeered Iran's tempestuous Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini. "The noises he makes are similar to those of a frightened lion, who does three things: he roars in the hope of frightening off his challenger, he makes rude noises because fear causes his muscles to contract, and he sways his tail in hopes of finding a mediator."

It can prove dangerous for anyone confronting a lion to conclude that the animal is frightened. But given the Iranian taste for...

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