The Brits have been rudderless ever since the demise of Margaret Thatcher…
An English Misunderstanding of Iran
by Amir Taheri • July 26, 2019 at 5:00 am
- Jack Straw’s misunderstanding, perhaps caused by his “absolute infatuation” with his imaginary Iran, has three aspects.
- The first is that he thinks that because Iran is an ancient civilization — and has produced great poets, weaves exquisite carpets and offers one of the world’s hautes cuisines — it deserves indulgence for its weird activities in other domains such as hostage-taking, hate-mongering, human rights violations and the export of terror in the name of revolution. It is like granting Stalin indulgence because one appreciates Pushkin and Tchaikovsky and enjoys a dish of borscht with a glass of “little water” on the side.
- The trouble is that Straw is unable to cite a single reform proposed, let alone carried out, by his “reformist” faction in Tehran. Worse still, he forgets that there have been more executions and political arrests under Khatami and Rouhani than during the presidency of the supposedly “hardline” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
- Straw offers no evidence than any deal made with the Islamic Republic in the past 40 years has had a long-lasting impact on the Khomeinist strategy and behavior. The Khomeinist rulers of Iran have perfected the art of diplomatic cheat-retreat-advance. Whenever their bones began to creak, they offered some concessions, which were subsequently withdrawn once the crushing of the bones ceased. More importantly, perhaps, Straw fails to realize that his “moderates” including Rouhani and Khatami, lack the popular support base needed to marginalize Khamenei let alone get rid of him.
The English Job
Understanding Iran and Why It Distrusts Britain
By Jack Straw
390 pages; published by Biteback Books, London 2019.
The subtitle of Jack Straw’s new book promises to help the reader in “understanding Iran”.
However, what one gets in 390 pages may best be described as a misunderstanding of Iran today — a misunderstanding that has prevented Britain, along with other Western powers, from developing a realistic Iran policy and has helped prolong the crisis caused by the Islamic Republic’s unorthodox behavior in the international arena.
Straw’s misunderstanding, perhaps caused by his “absolute infatuation” with his imaginary Iran, has three aspects.