It's unlikely that Iran's government leaders or the formal policy apparatus in Tehran knew about the plan to take British hostages — they wouldn't have believed it was worth the risk. The hardliners presented Iran's more rational elements with a fait accompli — now backing down will be portrayed as a betrayal of the country's sovereignty and pride.My emphasis. This is a curious formula. I think we can eliminate the possibility that Britain backed down on Iran's IAEA violations. But what if the plan of the mullahs was to make this arrest just to show that they could? A brushback pitch, if you will, to ensure that coalition control over Shatt-al-Arab doesn't impede, say, shipments of centrifuge parts from North Korea.
If the situation is swiftly resolved, it will mean that more-moderate voices won in Tehran. If it drags on, it will tell us that the hardliners' gamble succeeded, at least domestically. Doubtless, tempers are flaring in Iran's chambers of government, a bitter struggle they'll never reveal to the world.
Thursday, June 24, 2004
More Iran: And back to that Peters article from the other day: