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Iran Hostages: What is the Next Phase? 31 March 2007

Posted by David in Comment, EU, Europe, European Union, World.

Iran still has 15 British troops held captive, at an unknown location, and is refusing diplomatic access to them unless Britain apologises for entering Iran’s waters. But we didn’t enter Iran’s waters! Even if Britain forged the GPS signal and maps – as Iran has themselves – the original grid reference given by Iran is actually within Iraqi waters! Only when they realised the mistake did they give a new grid reference.

But what can we do? We cannot block trade any more than we have, as the European Union (Iran’s biggest trading partner) controls our trade policy, and both Germany (the current European Union President) and France (with a veto) have big trade links with Iran. France alone in fact is Iran’s 2nd biggest trading partner. As the Times reports, European foreign ministers failed last night to back Britain in a threat to freeze the €14 billion trade in exports to Iran.

We don’t even know where they are, so can’t mount a rescue bid, as dangerous and near impossible as it would be anyway. Would we really declare was for 15 people? Iran would probably execute them even if we did. And the public have shown a very distinct lack of interest really. As the Telegraph comments, public opinion has changed. Where our great-great-grandfathers clamoured for the rescue of Gordon, we have reacted to Iran’s provocation with a resigned shrug. Americans, in particular, cannot understand why we seem so indifferent to the fate of our own people.

I certainly agree that the Americans are confused, the internet is awash with comments from our friends over the pond who really do not understand what has happened to Great Britain – many pledging their military support to us. The US Republicans in particular are shocked by our lack of action. But what will the government do?

And so Iran has all the cards, and knows it. The letters and apologies are clearly forced by the Iranians, you can tell in the letters by the language and grammar, one lacking the definite article and reading “To British People” as if dictated by a foreign person with less than fluent English rather than “To the British People” as we would say. The mention of removing forces from Iraq so they can take decisions themselves is clear indication as to Iran’s power in Iraq.

Blair has got to step up the pressure. Appeasement doesn’t work. If you give in to one hostage taker, you invite a thousand more, with ever bigger and tougher demands. We cannot rely on the EU, they will not help us. The diplomatic heat must be cranked up, with tough sanctions banning trade, blocking entry to the country, halting flights over allied territories etc. Meanwhile we must begin to threaten military action – such as seizing the waterway, bombing nuclear plants and oil sites – with America and our other true allies, and let Iran know we will not allow such actions against our forces enacting a UN mandate.

But Blair and Brown are weak. They talk of the next phase, the next level, the next stage – but what exactly is it?



1. UncleWeirdNoise - 31 March 2007

Iran has once again clearly indicated how mentally devoid they are. Each time a muslim acts he demonstrates mental and emotion instability.

2. crushed by Ingsoc - 31 March 2007

I’m still very suspicious of what’s happening here.
Partly, one remembers an Iran hostage crisis from before- and a daft American plan to free them, which shouldn’t have passed five minutes scrutiny.

Secondly, one wonders if this isn’t all a little convenient.

I notice Blair has been getting very involved. Well, I suppose he has nothing to lose and hopes he’ll add to his slim legcy with this. But Carter thought the same.
Brown is keeping his head down, wisely.

3. The Bicycling Chameleon - 1 April 2007

It’s certainly helping the US case for war against Iran, but I still blame Iran. They started using this for their own propoganda first.

4. hydralisk - 2 April 2007

When you’re dealing with an opponent who would push in all his chips and appears to mean it, no options look good. I certainly don’t know the right answer.

As for the US, we pretty much already are engaged in a cold war with Iran.

5. Anonymous - 18 July 2007

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