Iran protesters in violent attack against UK embassy in Tehran
Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
According to news from the BBC it was stated by James Reynolds that “there is a lot of anger among the protesters” who attacked the UK embassy and burnt British flags in Tehran. However, it is difficult to take the attack at “face value” because it would appear that the “hands” of the government of Iran and security apparatus are behind this anti-British demonstration. Therefore, the government of Iran is showing the world once more that it is good at instigating violence and intimidating civilians who are meant to be “a bridge” between both nations.
The Foreign Office of the United Kingdom stated that it was “outraged” by the events that took place in Tehran. Also, the same department urged the authorities in Iran to abide by protocol and protect all staff members and diplomatic missions. After all, diplomatic missions of all nations and embassy staff are on the frontline in solving important issues, protecting respective nationals of the given nation, developing trade and culture, and so forth.
However, elements within the government of Iran appear to be hostage to rhetoric and like usual the flags of America, the United Kingdom and Israel were burnt. This was a stark reminder to the dark days of Iran after the Iranian Revolution of 1979 when mobs lynched people and this was followed by flag burning and so forth. Therefore, the events that just occurred in Tehran is a clear reminder that the current leaders of Iran and militants, alongside state sponsored thugs, have not gone away and since the revolution all hopes of moderation have been dashed.
If the government of Iran is unhappy by recent political events between the British government and Iranian government, then it is incumbent of Iran to respond in a rational approach. Sadly, this wasn’t the case and instead all the “dark forces” of “a sinister regime” whipped up fervor and the so-called student demonstration erupted.
In recent times the government of the United Kingdom imposed more sanctions on Iran and this may or may not be correct? This decision was seen to be very harsh in Iran and while understanding elements within the government of Iran against this, it can never justify attacks against the embassy of the United Kingdom. Both nations have geopolitical issues to resolve and the “nuclear cloud” is clearly hindering trust in both directions. However, it is essential to use diplomacy or to decrease ties by normal channels.
Relations between Iran and the United Kingdom have been rocky to say the least since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. However, a gradual thaw took place after 1999 when relations were increased to ambassadorial level and two years later the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom visited political leaders in Iran.
Since 2009 events have turned more negative because of Iran’s nuclear program which remains hotly disputed in Tehran. The British government imposed sanctions and because of internal political convulsions in Iran the government pointed the finger at elements within the United Kingdom. Of course, this couldn’t be substantiated by the government of Iran and if anything, nations like America and the United Kingdom have remained largely silent about unrest in Iran.
Recent events in 2011 apply to new sanctions in the financial arena towards the government of Iran and clearly this is linked by the attack against the embassy. According to Associated Press the students chanted “death to England” and nervous embassy workers and officials fled to escape the mayhem.
In time, Iranian riot police calmed the situation and took control but it is difficult to believe that Iranian intelligence didn’t know that a major rally was going to take place. After all, security services throughout Iran have clamped down against opposition forces for decades and the state apparatus is very strong.
A statement by the Foreign Office of the United Kingdom stated that “We are outraged by this. It is utterly unacceptable.” The statement further added that “The Iranian government have a clear duty to protect diplomats and embassies in their country and we expect them to act urgently to bring the situation under control and ensure the safety of our staff and security of our property.”
On Sunday the government of Iran voted on reducing relations with the United Kingdom and according to reports some government MPs followed the vote with the mantra of “Death to Britain.” To think, Iran once was a cradle of civilization and the Zoroastrian faith enabled the richness of Persia to flow and give so much “light” to the world. However, the “dark forces of the Islamic Iranian Revolution” continues to show the shallowness of many political leaders and that hatred is at the heart of the government.
The Iranian people deserve much more from their political leaders because the Iranian Revolution of 1979 was “an empty shell” once all opposition to Islamic clericalism were defeated. Since then, Iran continues to walk a path of militancy to possible signs of greater openness and then back to militancy again.
Irrespective of supporting either the British or Iranian side, the issue which set current events in motion was based on the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). According to the IAEA it is clear that nuclear tests have taken place and these tests were “relevant to the development of a nuclear device” and because of this the government of the United Kingdom imposed further sanctions.
The issue of this article isn’t based on the rights or wrongs of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons because this issue according to Tehran is an internal issue. Alternatively, nations like America, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and many others, believe that the nuclear issue is an international matter.
Iran can rightly point to the hypocrisy of the “nuclear debate” because little was done to prevent either India or Pakistan from becoming nuclear powers. Not only this, the governments of America, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the Russian Federation (began under the Soviet Union), didn’t obtain international approval. However, the counter-argument will be that Iran is more unstable in the political arena but this is debatable given the crisis in Pakistan.
This is a different issue all together but events that took place against the embassy of the United Kingdom can’t be justified on any grounds. Therefore, if the government of Iran is unhappy with the response by the United Kingdom then the usual channels would have been appropriate. However, the blatant attack against the embassy of the United Kingdom is “utterly unacceptable.”