Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; piasa; Valin; nuconvert; seamole; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; ...
Britain, Iran and archaic fears

The arrest in the UK of Hadi Soleimanpour, Iran’s former ambassador to Argentina, has again displayed the volatility and fragility of Anglo-Iranian relations. The arrest is unlikely to amount to anything significant ­ in fact it is probably not the most important factor behind the recent tension in bilateral relations. Nevertheless, it is a reminder that for as long as memories of Britain’s colonial adventures linger in the Iranian psyche, the two countries will probably not enjoy sustained normal relations.
The origins of concerted British influence in Iran date back to the early 19th century, when Qajar Persia was perceived to pose a moderate threat to the western flank of the British Raj. By the middle of the century, the increasingly corrupt Qajar dynasty had fallen under British influence, and Iran had become a central component in the “Great Game” between the British Empire and Tsarist Russia for control of Central Asia.
British visitors to Iran are amazed at the longevity of Iranian delusions about the so-called “perennial” nature of British power. Iranians of the older generation still cling to the idea that Britain virtually controls the world. These victims of a post-colonial inferiority complex put an interesting spin on the reality of contemporary American power. The US, they argue, is a smokescreen for British domination.
Yet Iran was never colonized by Britain. Therefore, what is it that drives the intensity of this collective delusion? Ironically, the very fact that Britain never “directly” ruled Iran, choosing, instead, to gain almost complete control over the country in a subtle and clandestine manner. Britain imposed upon Iran’s incompetent elites exploitative trade concessions, such as the 1872 Reuter concession to build a railroad, the 1890 tobacco concession and the 1901 William D’Arcy oil concession.
Britain also directly influenced Iranian politics. It was partly responsible for frustrating the goals of the constitutional revolution of the early 20th century, and changed Iran’s rulers when they no longer served British interests. A case in point is the rise to power of the semi-literate Cossack officer Reza Khan Pahlavi ­ father of the last shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ­ who took office on the back of a British-sponsored coup in 1921. The British forced him out in 1941, after he forged a close relationship with Nazi Germany.
Britain’s disregard for Iran’s neutrality during the two world wars, its subsequent invasion of the country, its exploitation of Iranian oil for over 50 years and its perceived pervasive influence, firmly buttressed Britain’s “incorrigible” colonial nature in the collective Iranian mind. Yet the victory of the Islamic revolution in 1979, by displacing the old corrupt elites and securing the country’s political independence, provided Iran and Britain with an opportunity to start afresh.
Initially, relations were drastically curbed as a result of upheavals in the 1980s. The British Embassy was closed down in 1980 and Sweden became the representative of British interests in Iran.
Yet relations were restored in autumn 1988. While these generated hopes that ties would substantially improve, they have been repeatedly dashed during the past 15 years. Every time relations were on the up, crises seemingly appeared from nowhere to sabotage what had been achieved. In February 1989 it was the Salman Rushdie affair. Once the issue was settled in September 1998 and relations upgraded to ambassadorial level in May 1999, a row broke out over what the Iranians considered excessive MI6 activity from the unusually large British Embassy in Tehran. In fact, in February 2002 Iran refused to endorse the ambassadorship of David Reddaway on the grounds that he was a top MI6 operative.
And now there is the Soleimanpour case. The obstructions to fully normalized Anglo-Iranian relations will not be lifted until memories of Britain’s highly questionable historic role in Iran fade. Iran’s new elites, of whatever ideological orientation, while they do not share the old generation’s delusions, still need time to get over their “British” hang-up. There is little prospect of this in the near future. In fact the two countries may be destined to endure another generation of volatile relations. This does not seem long taken in the context of 200 years of history. However, in the current international climate it assumes crushing significance.
The prospect of uneasy relations is particularly unfortunate for Iran, as it needs Britain on its side in the face of unprecedented American attempts to isolate and demonize the country internationally. This helps explain the Islamic Republic’s reluctance to make a fuss over the Soleimanpour case. Iran recently announced it would be sending its ambassador back to London. Clearly, it cannot afford a rupture in relations at such a critical juncture.
However, there are unmistakable signs that Britain will adopt positions that are increasingly in tandem with those of the US administration. Therefore, irrespective of the idiosyncrasies of Anglo-Iranian relations, Iranian policy-makers should not rely on British support in the crises likely to engulf the Islamic Republic in the coming years, particularly over calls for stricter International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of Iran’s nuclear industry.
It is also unfortunate for Iran that British Prime Minister Tony Blair has proved to be uniquely hawkish, with an ingrained skepticism of Iran. On Sept. 4, The Guardian newspaper was moved to publish an analysis claiming that Britain radically altered its Iran policy last July, after Blair had dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The prospect of an alliance between Blair and Sharon must cause intense unease in Tehran. The fact that Israel might exert influence on British policy is proof that the UK’s influence in the Middle East is now negligible. More precisely, the only state in the world that has a sizeable impact on shaping US policy towards Iran is Israel.
However, these realities are unlikely to have any impact on the collective delusion of millions of Iranians. To them the “old fox,” as Britain is sometimes called, is behind every major political event in the world.

Mahan Abedin is a London-based financial consultant and analyst of Iranian politics. He wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR
9 posted on 09/18/2003 1:36:30 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
U.S. Still Hopes to Talk Russia Round on Iran Nukes

September 18, 2003

By Richard Balmforth

The United States is confident proof will soon emerge of a clandestine Iranian nuclear arms program that will force Russia to drop plans to help Tehran build a nuclear reactor, a top U.S. official said on Thursday.

Speaking in Moscow on condition of anonymity, the senior administration official said Russia would not ship fuel to enable the 1,000-megawatt Bushehr reactor to become active until early next year, giving Washington time to dissuade it:

"Each day that goes by that that has not happened gives more time to see if we can't bring the Russians into closer alignment with our analysis of the threat posed by the Iranian program."

Tehran denies Washington's accusation it is using Bushehr and other facilities as a front for developing an atomic bomb.

U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak on Wednesday in a new bid to get Moscow to abandon the $800-million Bushehr project, an irritant in relations that will figure prominently when presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush meet at Camp David next week.

Russian officials share concerns at stopping the spread of nuclear arms but say U.S. suspicions against Iran lack proof.

Kislyak, in an interview with the newspaper Vremya Novostei, appeared to confirm Moscow was still moving ahead on the Bushehr plans, saying work was being completed with Iran on a bilateral protocol for the return of spent reactor fuel to Moscow.

The United States is hoping confirmation of its suspicions will emerge from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

That, the U.S. official said, would let Washington raise the issue at the U.N. Security Council, sure at last of support from Russia and others that still doubt Tehran is developing weapons.

"Once it becomes clear that they (the Iranians) have a nuclear weapons program, Russia will not have civil nuclear cooperation with Iran," the official said.

The IAEA has given Iran until October 31 to enable it to check whether it has an illicit atomic arms program.

U.S. officials, keen to maintain good personal relations between Putin and Bush, are quick to say that Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran is more a matter of muddled policy than deliberate connivance with one of Washington's adversaries.

But the official said U.S. intelligence was convinced maverick Russian scientists were helping Iran develop weapons.

10 posted on 09/18/2003 5:01:53 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies ]

To: F14 Pilot; DoctorZIn; Grampa Dave; BOBTHENAILER; dennisw
it needs Britain on its side in the face of unprecedented American attempts to isolate and demonize the country internationally.

Iran is doing a perfectly fine job of that without U.S. assistance.

Robert Baer, See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism, Crown, 2002, page 79 places the blame for the kidnapping and murder of Buckley and the Beirut Embassy bombing on IJO which on page 264 he says the CIA knew "was merely a front for the Iranians."

The current nuclear weapons violation indicates the evidence of Bill Gertz re Iranian-Russian proliferation (Year of the Rat, Betrayal) was the tip of the iceberg.


Amid mounting international scrutiny of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, officials in Washington are expressing fresh worries about the growing missile threat from the Islamic Republic. In his June 25th testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General John Abizaid, the incoming commander of the United States Central Command, stressed that “Iran has the largest ballistic missile inventory in the Central Command region -- to include long-range weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems capable of reaching deployed U.S. forces in the theater.” Iran, according to Abizaid, “casts a shadow on security and stability in the Gulf region” and “poses a potential threat to neighboring countries.”

These concerns are sure to be compounded by news that Iran has successfully tested its medium-range “Shahab-3” missile. Israel's Ha’aretz newspaper (July 4) reports that the latest flight test of the rocket, conducted in late June, is the most successful trial to date, showcasing an expanded range for the “Shahab-3” above and beyond its previously-projected 1,300-kilometer range.


September 11:

MOSCOW MOVES TOWARD ACCOUNTABILITY ON IRAN. A source in Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry has told Agence France-Presse that Moscow will support a draft resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) setting an October 31st deadline for Iran to prove it is not secretly developing nuclear weapons. According to the source, the draft softens a previous version by giving the Iranians "room to maneuver, so they are not pushed into a corner like North Korea" and into withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Moscow is demanding that Tehran sign an agreement to send back spent nuclear fuel from the Bushehr nuclear facility, which Russia is help building, once the facility becomes operational.

Russia Reform Monitor No. 1076, September 12, 2003
American Foreign Policy Council, Washington, DC



Even as plans for multilateral talks over its nuclear program move forward, North Korea is intensifying its missile and WMD cooperation with Iran. According to the Sankei Shimbun (August 6), Pyongyang is currently in talks with Tehran to export components of its long-range “Taepo-Dong 2” missile to the Islamic Republic, as well as to jointly develop nuclear weapons. According to the conservative Japanese daily, the plan -- in the works for about a year -- could be finalized as early as this October. If it materializes, this export arrangement would provide North Korea with much-needed hard currency, and would dramatically expand the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles, making the Islamic Republic capable of striking targets in Europe.

American Foreign Policy Council, Washington, DC


The agency of certain UK journalists to apologize for jihadists has come to the fore of late with the Andrew Gilligan smear and the petition to cancel the royal charter of the BBC, altogether with Israel's breaking relations with that agency.

To suggest as the author does that Israel shapes U.S. policy toward anything let alone Iran is a default to knee-jerk anti-Zionism and ignorance of reality.

Iran is working very hard to maintain membership in the Axis of Evil, an even more exclusive club since May.

33 posted on 09/18/2003 8:43:32 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson