Confronting Iran

If the will exists, Iran can still be thwarted.

Iran British embassy protest 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer)
Iran British embassy protest 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer)
Only a few months ago the world marked the 50th anniversary of the 1961 UN Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. It defines the infrastructure of contacts between independent states in the modern era, making it possible for diplomats to pursue their tasks without fear of intimidation or persecution in the host country. Ratified by 186 members, this treaty renders all embassies inviolable everywhere – except, quite evidently, in Iran.
The international community hardly needed reminders of the rogue nature of Iran’s ayatollah regime.
But it got such a reminder just the same last week in the shape of an obviously well-orchestrated, government-sponsored attack on the British Embassy in Tehran.
It was by no means an unfamiliar picture as frenzied mobs went on a rampage, lobbed firebombs, ransacked the premises, threatened to take hostages and, in an insolent symbol of bravado, burned the Union Jack.
All the while, Iranian security forces stood aside, clearly indicating that the “demonstrators” enjoyed official endorsement, the Foreign Ministry’s wan anti-riot lip service notwithstanding.
The incontrovertible reality is that all embassies are strictly scrutinized and monitored in Tehran. Nothing is left to chance. Anarchy would never be tolerated in a capital rife with secret police, where torture is prevalent, as are public executions and corporal punishments.
The fact that Britain’s embassy was targeted practically as soon as London forbade all British financial institutions from trading with Iranian banks, especially Iran’s Central Bank, speaks volumes.
The British, it must be stressed, got off lightly in comparison to the seizure of the American Embassy 32 years ago in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981. That prolonged crisis was but a harbinger of numerous threats to come.
In 1997, for instance, a German court convicted Iranian and Hezbollah agents of assassinating Kurdish dissidents in Berlin on orders of the Iranian government.
The very next day so-called spontaneous protests erupted in front of the German Embassy in Tehran.
Sadly, however, in time the EU – where Germany wields preponderant power – boosted business dealings with Iran despite unambiguous indications of its steadily furthered nuclear warheads ambitions.
The Iranians cynically exploited Western greed and appeasement-oriented mindsets. With less greed and greater resolve on part of the world’s democracies, we wouldn’t have reached the current dire situation in which even the laggard International Atomic Energy Authority at long belated last warns that Iran is closer than ever to constructing its nuclear bomb.
For now, the UK appears braver than any of its European peers. It remains to be seen if Iran’s latest rabid response to tougher sanctions will convince more EU powers to follow London’s example.
Quite distressingly, Germany still hasn’t severed its massive commercial ties with Iran, while French petroleum giant Total keeps supplying Iran with refined fuel (which it must import despite its enormous crude oil resources). Were Iran starved of refined oil products, its economy could be very quickly brought to its knees.
But overshadowing the perfidy in the West are Russia and China. These two powers – motivated by callous self-interest, without even a semblance of ethics – shield Tehran from sanctions, much as moves such as those of Britain do hurt Iran’s despots.
The latest rude reminder from the rogue regime must be seized upon by both Israel and the free world to galvanize effective last minute resistance to the ayatollahs’ evil schemes.
Before us is an anxious and stultified theocracy lashing out irrationally, albeit dangerously, and thereby unintentionally exposing its weakness. Tehran betrayed sensitivity to London’s measures against its Central Bank. More such action by Western powers could considerably stymie Russia and China as well.
Unless the international community acts in concert at literally the last opportunity, it can expect all hell to break loose and will have only itself to blame.
Iran isn’t invulnerable. It already appears beleaguered.
Last week’s unexplained blast at Isfahan’s nuclear facility is but one aspect, exacerbated by the occasional mysterious strike against individual top Iranian nuclear scientists, to say nothing of mystifying cyber-mishaps.
If the will exists, Iran can still be thwarted.