Sunday, June 28, 2009

Iran and an Embassy: It Worked So Well in 1979- - -

The headline, "Britain blasts arrest of embassy staffers in Iran," reminded me of 1979's news that Iranian students had taken over the American embassy in Tehran.

Sure: the circumstances aren't the same. Staff of the embassy are being held, not the whole embassy; ayatollahs are running Iran, not a shah; and the embassy is British, not American.

Iran's government says that the nine or so British embassy staffers were arrested because the helped Britain mess up Iran's recent presidential election. I think the ayatollahs did a fine job of that on their own, with no outside help, but let that pass for now.
"...The Iranian government has long accused other countries, especially Britain, of "meddling" in its affairs, but has offered no proof any outside forces have been involved in the unrest since the election...." (CNN)
Diplomacy between Iran and the U.K. has been a bit strained of late, since Britain won't do what the ayatollahs want it to. Last week, Iran's government expelled two British diplomats. In diplomatese, that's a way of showing displeasure. Britain, in turn, expelled two Iranian diplomats. Then, Tehran booted the British ambassador. That's upping the ante considerably.

The British government says they didn't interfere with Iran's election, and I'm inclined to believe them.

Meanwhile, Iran softened its ban on public demonstrations by allowing one today, in honor of Mohammad Beheshti. I'd say that it's a case of some demonstrations being more equal than others. Beheshti is a hero of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. (June 28, 2009)

So That's Why the Numbers are So Low!

Wonder why the body count for one day of demonstrations was 19 (June 20, 2009, officially, but people who weren't on the ayatollahs' payroll said it was around 150? This might give part of the answer:
"...Amnesty International has collected accounts from people who have left Iran and expatriates with relatives there who say the Basij has prohibited medical professionals from getting identification information from wounded demonstrators who check in, Akhlaghi said on Saturday. They are also not allowed to ask how the injuries happened, and relatives are hard pressed to find the wounded.

"Once the patients are treated, the militia removes them from the hospital to an undisclosed location, she said...." (CNN)
The official line in the ayatollah's government seems to be that the CIA, or terrorists, or anybody but their own enforcers shot Neda, that not many people at all were killed, and that Iranians had better stop complaining, or they'll disappear, too.

It just might work.

As for seizing embassy staffers: something like that tied America in knots until President Regan took office. At that point, the current rulers of Iran seemed almost in a rush to get rid of their hostages.

Maybe the ayatollahs figure that, if it worked once, it's worth trying again. At this point, with the mess they've got on their hands, I suppose they may be willing to try anything.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.