Day By Day

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Iran Crisis

If you read only one article on the emerging crisis in Iran, it should be this one. Charles Moore, writing in the Telegraph notes.

Relentless media attention in the West has focused on the errors of the Coalition in Iraq, and plenty of errors there have been. But almost no scrutiny from press or Opposition has been given to the way that the supposedly intransigent George Bush has actually been so accommodating to European sensibilities that he has delegated the policy on Iran to Europe. This has produced the current disaster.

For years now, the "EU Three" - Britain, France and Germany - have been in charge, emboldened since 2005 by the personal support of Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state. They have wanted to believe that they were dealing with a power that was negotiating in good faith. They have spurred that power on to greater excesses by declaring that Western military action was (Mr Straw's word) "inconceivable". They have hoped against hope and against evidence. Only this week did they finally admit defeat. They agreed, which earlier they had refused, to try to take Iran's behaviour to the Security Council.


The point about Iran since 1979 is that it has been governed by revolutionaries....

Westerners tend to see the Iranian revolution as "medieval", but this is a slander on the Middle Ages. "Twentieth century" would be the more accurate description. When Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran, he encouraged his lieutenants to be well versed in the history of revolutions, particularly the communist revolution in Russia.

If you look at Iranian "democracy" today, you will see that the only candidates allowed are those committed to the constitution's idea of the "guardianship of the clergy" (a rule which, at the last parliamentary election, permitted the Council of Guardians to disqualify 6,000 of the 7,000 who wanted to stand).

This is a religious version of the Leninist idea of the "leading role of the party". In 1979, Khomeini said that his revolution was the first step ''in correcting the past of Muslim history''. He meant radicalising Shiism to take over the Muslim world.

That's what Ahmadinejad means, too.

This is a real crisis, one that "sophisticated" Westerners have been ignoring for a third of a century. We are now reaping the whirlwind that three decades of "sophisticated" negotiations and studied indifference to the mounting threat have produced.

Read the whole article here.

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