european diplomacy

i don’t think the resolution of the british hostage situation was any kind of success for diplomacy. if so, iran certainly didn’t get that message.

here’s why (hat tip: lgf):

Hardliners in the Iranian regime have warned that the seizure of British naval personnel demonstrates that they can make trouble for the West whenever they want to and do so with impunity.

The bullish reaction from Teheran will reinforce the fears of western diplomats and military officials that more kidnap attempts may be planned.

The British handling of the crisis has been regarded with some concern in Washington, and a Pentagon defence official told The Sunday Telegraph: “The fear now is that this could be the first of many. If the Brits don’t change their rules of engagement, the Iranians could take more hostages almost at will.

“Iran has come out of this looking reasonable. If I were the Iranians, I would keep playing the same game. They have very successfully muddied the waters and bought themselves some more time. And in parts of the Middle East they will be seen as the good guys. They could do it time and again if they wanted to.”

Americans also expressed dismay that the British had suspended boarding operations in the Gulf while its tactics are reassessed.

iran knew exactly what it was doing, and the release of the british hostages had nothing to do with anything tony blair said to ahmedinejad. surely prime minister blair is smart enough to know this, but for some reason he chose to go along with iran’s propaganda stunt. iran has done this before, and if they continue to get away with kidnapping people without any reprecussions, there’s no reason to believe that they won’t do it again in the future. iran learned that no country is willing to hold them accountable for their behavior, and that the UN won’t be able to stop whatever they want to do. this is a dangerous path we are on with iran.

it would be bad enough if iran kept kidnapping foreign sailors for propaganda purposes, but now they will have nukes too, and the UN will not stop them.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday the country’s nuclear fuel production program had reached “industrial” levels, setting Tehran on a fresh collision course with Western governments over its atomic ambitions.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said the announcement was “another signal Iran is in defiance of the international community.” Iran has already faced United Nations sanctions over its refusal to back down from developing nuclear fuel.

“Iran has succeeded in development to attain production at an industrial level,” said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressing an audience at the Natanz nuclear facility as part of a ceremony marking the anniversary of the start of uranium enrichment at the plant.

“With great pride, I announce that as of today, our dear country, Iran, is among the countries of the world that produces the industrial level of nuclear fuel.”

Ahmadinejad vowed the fuel would be used for energy, “and for the expansion of peace and stability.”

it’s to our credit, i guess, that we are not buying the argument that iran will only use nuclear fuel for energy. we have been here before. the question is: what should we do next? if i’m the leader of a country with a stake in the outcome of this, i would insist on independent inspectors to keep tabs on iran and their progress to ensure that iran is only producing this nuclear material for peaceful purposes. i would also send to the UN a proposal for penalties to be assessed for non-compliance. the problem is that there seems to be no indication that the UN could credibly threaten iran, especially based on what we have seen from the UN in the past.

europe better wake up to the threat iran poses, or iran will continue to defy the international community and suffer no consequences for that defiance.

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