Home > Uncategorized > Time for the West to Shut all its Embassies in Iran

Time for the West to Shut all its Embassies in Iran

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

An Iranian mob’s ransacking of the British embassy compound in Tehran suggests that 2011 is the new 1979. Then, as now, Iranian actions were far from spontaneous. The take-over of the American embassy in 1979 was actually the second time Iranians had breached that compound. What led to the students turning a 48-hour vigil into a 444 day ordeal?

On November 5, 1979, a Carter national security aide—most probably Gary Sick, who had the Iran account in the National Security Council—leaked to the Boston Globe that the Carter administration had taken a military response off the
table. When Iranian officials read that thenext day, they concluded that they could up their demands and hold the hostages for the long-haul.

While fault for the latest incident lays 100 percent with the Iranian regime, the British government should have seen this latest embassy attack coming: The Iranian government refuses to respect the inviolability of diplomatic property. Why should they, after all, when they repeatedly reap rewards for their defiance?

The British embassy is especially vulnerable because the Iranian regime does not take the British government seriously. In Iraq, the Iranians laughed at Britain’s much vaunted softly-softly approach. While British officials chided their American counterparts for reacting to insurgency with force, the British famously just bent over and thought of the Queen. Under British supervision, Basra became a safe-haven for both Muqtada al-Sadr’s radical militia and the Iranian-trained Badr Corps. 

If the Iranians had any doubts about messing with the British, these were resolved on a spring day back in 2007 when Iranian guardsmen captured, disarmed, and humiliated their British counterparts. While the British tried to dismiss that as a rogue occurrence, it was anything but: Two days before, against the backdrop of allied efforts to sanction Iran at the UN Security Council, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared, “If they take illegal actions [such as sanctioning our nuclear program], we, too, can take illegal actions and will do so.” And, indeed, he did.

If the British are going to earn Iranian respect, they must lay down the law and punish Iran for its actions. The West must isolate Iran until its government seeks penance for all its violations of diplomatic norms. It’s time the West shutters all its embassies in Tehran.

There is good news, however. The Iranians have finally shown their hand: They may dismiss the efficacy of sanctions, but they certainly seem afraid of new sanctions. Now that Tehran has shown sanctions hurt, perhaps it’s time to pile on and grind Iran’s banking sector to a halt. After all, what will Iran do to protest? Seize Zimbabwe’s embassy?

Michael Rubin
Nov 29, 2011

Related link – http://tinyurl.com/7gbo44e

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