Sunday, June 21, 2009

What Would Thatcher & Reagan Have Done About Iran?

Over the last week I have been perplexed, and a little appalled, at the response of both the British and American governments to what has been going on in Iran. Their attitude has been totally 'hands off' on the basis that they don't want to interfere in the internal affairs of another country. And yet Britain and the US are supposed to be beacons of democracy and free thought - countries who have been known for spreading the gospel of freedom all round the world.

Think back to the early 1980s. Did Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan stand on one side when Solidarity was in its infancy? Did they think that uttering words of support might be damaging? No, not a bit of it. They recognised the importance of sending a clear signal that those who were fighting oppression and dictatorship were in their thoughts.

I thought of that when I listened to David Miliband's weasel words last week. And when Barack Obama couldn't bring himself to say what the leader of the free world should have said.

And then on Thursday David Cameron uttered the words I was expecting to hear from Obama: "The protesters should know this - we are on their side". Well, hallelujah.

At least one politician said what other were too weak to.


Unknown said...

I'd love to join in the universal assumption this was a fix, but sadly the only remotely valid poll before the election had Amadin... 34% in the lead.

God forbid a leftist party simply won't accept a democratic defeat.

wolvreen said...

Yes give ammunition to dinnerjacket so he can say the west orchestrated the protests.
This would be the kiss of death to the brave protesters.
Dave looks much less intelligent and fresh than Clegg in recent times.

Alex said...

This isn't about freedom. It is about which of two Islamic factions should hold power. Ahmadinajad is popular with the poor and Moussavi is popular with the educated young, but don't figure that Moussavi will be spectacularly more enlightened or closer to the west.

happyuk said...

Fair enough, but sometimes saying nothing can be just as effective. Obama is a lot smarter than you think.

To merely come out with a rant that the Iranian election had been stolen by the mullahs would be playing right into their hands.

What Obama means when he says "the whole world is watching Iran" is actually quite powerful. Everybody can clearly see the regime's use of violence and it puts far more responsibility on the Iranians to determine their own future.

Britain was specifically targeted in these madmen's speeches because they know we can cause them huge problems when pushing for EU trade sanctions against Iran. Iran is know to have reached peak oil production, maintains a huge welfare state and revenues from their oil fields are expected to decline sharply.

Arnie said...

This is absolute idiocy - any endorsement of the protests by the west would simply give the Iranian government more ammunition in their crackdown.

Don't forget, there is a lot of historical mistrust between Iran and the west, stemming from our repeated interference in their internal affairs throughout the 20th century.

The President of Israel has recently voiced support for the protests, lets have a look at what one Iranian twitterer thinks to that:

@knv: Israelis stabbed us (People of Iran) in the back! We will never forget this...

Sorry Iain, but you are miles off with this.

BeenThereAndDunnit said...

We have punched above our weight and paid for the priviledge for far too long (UN and other international contributions etc). It's about time we acted like New Zealand - kept our mouths shut and sorted out our own mess first.

The Grim Reaper said...

I can't see Gordon Brown complaining about the results of their elections - the Iranians might well turn round and say "yes, but at least we had an election over here. More than you had!". I wouldn't blame them one bit if they did.

Anonymous said...

Barak was planning to buddy up with the Iranian dictators, and is now embarrassed by current events.

As for New Labour, I've long since given up trying to fathom out their stance on international affairs. One minute they are gung ho in support of their US masters, then the next minute they revert to their pro-Islam default position.

The bottom line is, why should we care which Islamic dictator ends up in charge of Iran? Moussavi only looks good when compared against Dinnerjacket. I doubt a Moussavi victory will begin a golden age of domestic freedom and pro-Western policies.

Anonymous said...

Iain, in most circumstances I would agree with you. I think we in the West have an absolute duty to help movements like the one struggling in Iran at the moment. I just don't think that the kind of support you're talking about would actually help the protestors. Tactically it would play into the hands of the regime.

Ask yourself why it was that when the Iranian regime broadcast Obama's statement to Iran it mistranslated his words to have him say that he explicity supported the protests and wanted them to continue.

Doing the right thing means more than having excellent motives. We've got a duty to use our brains as well as our hearts.

Labour Matters said...

Your sympathy for the protesters and your never ceasing partisanship seems to have overwhelmed any thought process.

Ignoring the fact that your analogy is way off the mark, this very question has been asked (although citing a different US President) and this is the conclusion:

// CNN: What should the United States do?

Zakaria: I would say continue what we have been doing. By reaching out to Iran, publicly and repeatedly, President Obama has made it extremely difficult for the Iranian regime to claim that they are battling an aggressive America bent on attacking Iran. In his inaugural address, his New Year greetings, and his Cairo speech, there is a consistent effort to convey respect and friendship for Iranians. That is why Khamenei reacted so angrily to the New Year greeting. It undermined the image of the Great Satan that he routinely paints in his sermons. In his Friday sermon, Khamenei said that the United States, Israel, and especially the United Kingdom were behind the street protests, an accusation that will surely sound ridiculous to most Iranians. The fact that Obama has been cautious in his reaction makes it all the harder for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to wrap themselves in a nationalist flag.

CNN: But shouldn't the U.S. be more vocal in support for the Iranian protesters?

Zakaria: I think a good historic analogy is President George H.W. Bush's cautious response to the cracks in the Soviet empire in 1989. Then, many neo-conservatives were livid with Bush for not loudly supporting those trying to topple the communist regimes in Eastern Europe. But Bush's concern was that the situation was fragile. Those regimes could easily crack down on the protestors and the Soviet Union could send in tanks. Handing the communists reasons to react forcefully would help no one, least of all the protesters. Bush's basic approach was correct and has been vindicated by history.//

Gordon Brown said...

Well said Iain!

Iran is already blaming us for the protests so we might as well say something. Presumably, if they believe we are a threat, as they have already pleaded, then maybe we are and if we speak out it will help.

Desperate Dan said...

Unlike you my heart sank when I heard Cameron has made an other of his lunatic foreign policy declarations. First for no sane reason he tried to pick a fight with Russia and Putin. Next I watched appalled as he flew to express his solidarity with the deranged President Saakashvili of Georgia. Now he's jumped with both feet into what most sane people recognise as a delicately balanced precarious state of affairs in Iran. None of these excusions into the field of foreign relations will have done anything but harm to the UK, its citizens and the way the world views D. Cameron.
I can't make up my mind whether he is very stupid to hold these mad opinions, or whether he's very stupid to allow himself to be manipulated by malign advisers.
Every time he wades into the sphere of foreign affairs my support for him is cut by another 10%

Sir Dando Tweakshafte said...

What would That Great Lady have done about Iran?

Privatise it, I expect.

This is a bit like asking how Cromwell would have reacted to Britain's Got Talent - a question of limited relevance.

niconoclast said...

She and Reagan would give moral support and encouragement to Israel to take out Irans's nuclear installations of course, unlike nuancy boy Obummer.

Gerry57 said...

They rig the election and then blame 'evil' Britain when it goes pear-shaped. Mugabe used the same excuse. Perhaps Mrs. Thatcher would stop giving aid to Iran. Goto )

PhilC said...

Spreading the gospel of freedom by instigating a coup and installing the Shah as dictator, you mean?
Or perhaps by arming Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran?
Is that how one goes about being a beacon of democracy?
Some might say that such a history complicates our current relations with Iran and inhibits our ability to affect events and we could learn from that.
Much easier to trot out some glib phrases though. After all, Cameron knows he's not got to actually follow through with any actions.

Old Holborn said...

Who would the Israelis rather have in charge Iain?

A moderate Iranian, smiling with China and Russia and happily carrying on with Nuclear research with all sanctions lifted?


A swivel eyed Islamoloon, threatening to detroy Israel every five minutes and shunned by every State on the planet?

Come on mate, you're supposed to be politically aware. Israel even paid for you to visit them last year. If I was an Israeli, I'd be donating every penny to keep Dinnerjacket in power.

Ven123 said...

Old Holborn-
The Israelis didn't "pay" for Iain's trip, as you kinow full well. And if you and most of the other commenters want to understand the Israeli position, watch Benjamin Netanyahu on MEET THE PRESS-

To combine this with iain's previous message-Appeasement never works. I fear that Obama will never understand that-No flies on him unless you're an oily dictator.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Old Holborn. That is a profoundly cynical, nay, Bismarkian, take on international affairs. Well Done.

Anonymous said...

Cynical or no, OH's comment was accurate: the head of Mossad has come out for Ahmadinejad.

bnzss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sorry Iain, that's absolute rubbish. Why did Cameron say it when Obama and Miliband didn't? Because Cameron isn't in government/the presidency. Simples.

It's just a political move, which is fair enough, but, come on, don't paint him as some freedom fighter!

bnzss said...

I'll repost without the swearing:

Mr Dale, you are a shrewd chap and I wouldn't expect such silliness!

Let us consider:

a) It is not our business what another sovereign state does,
b) If said state is a threat, we must consider why. In the middle-east, the most prominent answer is: 'because we're messing around with those poor people too much!'
c) So let us not ask 'what would Thatcher and Reagan do?' but 'What can we do to stop being dragged into such an unrelated argument?'

And there was also something about forcing democracy and how funny it is, but you know.

Jess The Dog said...

Got to be careful....US blundering got the Shah kicked out and Ayatollah Khomenei installed in his place.

Language can be misleading and explosive.

Dinnerlady said something along the lines of: "We must wipe the stain of the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem from the pages of history".

It was reported as Dinnerlady saying "We must wipe Israel from the map".

There is a powerful demographic movement in Iran - an enormous young and vocal population. A confrontation could push them the other way or prompt a massacre....the West learned the lessons of Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968) very slowly, but got it completely right in 1989.

Old Holborn said...

Hello, hello?

Iain has deleted a comment...

We NEVER do that at Old Holborn!

Who paid for your trip to the US this week Iain?

Thomas Rossetti said...

Spot on, Iain. All Obama or Brown had to say is what Cameron has said. Their fiddling is shameful.

Lester Taylor said...

If they step in and assist in a new revolution that gives Iran a Moderate leader.... then there is no justification to invade and cherry pick all the best oil and building contracts like they did in Iraq.

Frank Davis said...

Is it really comparable to Solidarity? I heard somebody say today that we were looking at "musical chairs" among the fundamentalist rulers of Iran.

Anonymous said...

Obama said the US supports any government that grants free speach to it's people as well as the freedom to protest/demonstrate.

Clearly, we know who's side he is taking. Very smart move. Didn't see this coming tbh.

Old Holborn said...


Plus they get a border with Pakistan from three sides

Anonymous said...

The problem, Iain, my tiny-brained friend, is that the Iranians - even the moderates - are paranoid about western interference. The kiss of political death in Iran is to be seen as a friend (i.e. patsy) of the west. To have Obama or any other western leader singing Moussavi's praises would guarantee that even his closest supporters would desert him.

Maybe you don't remember but back in 2002, Ahmedinejad was a joke figure who was inevitably bound to lose the presidential elections to the reformers. Do you remember what happened next? Yes, the invasion of Iraq happened next and all the lovely rhetoric about the Axis of Evil and Bliar's statement in the Commons that he would gladly follow the US into a war against North Korea or Iran (or anywhere else, as Tony said at the time).

The Iranians, not without good reason, grew fearful that they would be next and rallied to the hardliners. The moderates, meanwhile, received fulsome praise from the Bush regime....and were promptly dismissed by the Iranian electorate as probable traitors.

By all means get the US and UK government up there making statements of solidarity in support of Moussavi.....if you want the Islamic Republic to last another thirty years and Ahmedinejad to get another term.

Really, Dale, for a man who aspires to a political career, the level of your ignorance of world affairs is breath-taking.

Old Holborn said...

"Old Holborn-
The Israelis didn't "pay" for Iain's trip, as you kinow full well"

Remind us - who did?

Do I really have to post Iain's "reaction" to the bombing of Palestinain children with phosphorous shortly after?

Colin said...

"What Would Thatcher & Reagan Have Done About Iran?"

Well, the first thing they would have done is recognise that, unlike the cold war and their dealings with the evils of soviet socialism, things are a bit more complicated here.

The other thing Thatcher would have done is to make sure we didn't have a Grade A Prick in place as Foreign Secretary.

I'm with Old Holborn on this one...

Anonymous said...

Britain was specifically targeted in these madmen's speeches because they know we can cause them huge problems when pushing for EU trade sanctions against Iran.

Nope. You are competely wrong. Britain was specifically targeted because it's an item of faith in Iran that Britain (the Old Lion, as they call us) is the guiding force behind all misfortunes in the country. Whenever something goes wrong in Iran, it's the fault of British spies. They're terrified of us, paranoid, seeing James Bond under every bed and the malign hand of Queenie in everything.

Largely it's the result of us variously occupying them, running them as a client state, carving them up with the Russians, overthrowing their democracy, installing various dictators.... Hell, it's common to find Iranians who believe, with all sincerity, that the US is a British puppet state.

Iranians have good reason to distrust us, but they don't seem to realise that we no longer run the world, that things have moved on since the glory days of empire. And that, m'boy, is also why the very last thing that any Iranian reformer wants is Broon or any other western politician popping up on the box to make awesome fucking declarations of solidarity with the Persian proles.

Iainwilk said...

Agree with the guys who point out that this would be madness. Vali nasr Reza Aslan and other Iranian academics point out that this would be absolutely wrong. Khatami would use this as an excuse to paint the protesters as tools of the west thus draining their credibility. george HW Bush, as the former Communist countries sought freedom at the very end as the regimes were collapsing, was similarly circumspect to avoid giving the nutters an excuse to crackdown. Also Adam in that poll the majority said undecided which is common in Iran as people are still afraid to voice opinions to pollsters. So thats bollocks. Secondly they are not remotely leftist in our context. Many of the reforms they propose involve less state intervention in the economy as Ahmedinijads reckless leftist style spending has sent inflation to at least 15%, and state subsidies massively distort the market and keep prices high. Do try and read up on a subject before commenting you tit. Im conservative but Cameron is wrong on this. Give support and talk as Obama did of justice but dont say freedom it implies we support regime change which makes it harder for them to actually achieve it. Not appeasment use your head not your heart.

Red Rag said...

I sometimes wonder whether you actually believe what you are told to write by Cameron HQ, or do you just write it on auto?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Iain, but this post of yours about Iran shows why you are not an elected politician.

David Cameron would be wise to keep his fingerprints off the Iran crisis. The uprising should be truly inspired by the Iranian people.

Cameron should be more thoughtful and stop trying to pander to his donating 'Friends of Israel'.

Barack Obama does not want to be responsible for the death of thousands of people because of some poorly chosen words. This is not about America or the UK, it's about Iran and the Iranian people.

Did you not learn anything from the mistakes made in the illegal war against Iraq?

Obama is handling a rapidly evolving and very complex situation. He has put the USA clearly on the side of the reformers, clearly on the side of fair and free elections and he clearly condemned the violence.

Obama has done it in an intelligent way. The UK and the USA should not let the government of Iran change the narrative to one of being, meddling Americans, meddling British, American and British western imperialism > because historically that sort of narrative might allow the Iranian government to change the subject within Iran and in the rest of the Islamic world.

So, Iain Dale, please think before you speak.

As for Reagan and Thatcher > isn't it time you moved into the 21st century? The world has changed. That was then and this is now.

Iain Dale said...

Canvas, could you be more pompous if you tried?

Anonymous said...

Is that the best retort you can come up with? How about some debate or deep thinking?

Red Rag said...

Canvas - Iain Dale and deep thinking....are you kidding?

Iain Dale said...

I have learned Canvas that debating with you is like debating with a jelly. So forgive me if I have something else to do this evening...

Plenty said...

Forgive me if I cause controversy here, but should Western countries really thrust their views on others. I know it sounds harsh but when I went to Romania in 2008, a lot of feedback I had from people was that they actually preferred to live under communism because they thought that the so called free democracy they now had was actually more corrupt than under Nicolae Ceausescu. I'm not saying I agree with it, but it is a legitimate argument?

Anonymous said...

Iain, you're just running scared because you've been punked. If you had really carefully thought through this feeble post of yours then you would stand your ground. Another Dale knee jerk reaction...

Iain Dale said...

Yeah, whatever.

Red Rag said...

Mr Dale, your lack of historical knowledge of Iran and how the country itself would see any endorsement from any person in authority from this country and how this would effect the person who is endorsed is quite embarrassing. Maybe if you wern't blinded by your bias towards Cameron and everything he utters your eyes would be open to the truth.Your lack of understanding of the subject is only bettered by Mr Cameron himself.Is this a taster of what your leader would do if PM?

Scattershotter said...

"The UK and the USA should not let the government of Iran change the narrative to one of being, meddling Americans, meddling British, American and British western imperialism."

But but but, they've already done this. Only two days ago Khamenei called Britain the most evil of its enemies, despite Brown and Miliband playing it ultra-safe.

Now, for my part, I do believe we're better off staying out of this one. But let's not pretend like the Iranian government won't blame us for their problems whatever our government chooses to do.

Lester Taylor said...

Old Holborn the bombing of those children cannot be justified one way or another......but I have to say I am starting step back from all of this and try and look at the world with fresh eyes. And the conclusion I am reaching is not one I am comfortable with......I am not a conspiracy theorist as such but for goodness sake there is an undercurrent of evil running right through the world's political and business structures. What that evil is I have no idea...we have all heard the names given to various organizations and fraternities who could be behind the divide and conquer type conspiraloons rantings..but is there something tangible lurking behind these ideas?.

Perhaps I am going a little mad in my old age I do you get the feeling that the heads these so called opposite political factions in the world of politics and business sit down at the end of the day have dinner and then decide on the next stage of how to play out this illusion of world events to meet their own ends.

Yes it all sounds a bit David Icke but I'm sorry if I am skeptical about the horrific events we see like that of the bombing of BOTH Israel and Palestinian all seems so staged.

Most people would think this to absurd because we take the bits of news that we choose to believe then discard the rest as propaganda.....but who is to say I am right they are wrong...the whole thing seems set up to tie you in knots.

OK tin hat on and I'm off back to the nut house... just getting sick of this side are right that side are wrong bull**** and leaving the human aspect out of it.

Lester Taylor said...

By the way when I said the Bombings seem staged I mean that the bombings are real enough but the war itself.

Anonymous said...

@ NeoLiberal > Yes, you're right - spot on. All the more reason for the United States and the UK to not give the Iranian leaders cause to accuse us of meddling.

The worst thing that the USA and the UK could do for these reformers and protesters is allow the government there to claim this is a US and British led opposition.

We shouldn't do that to them. The protesters are seeking a better future for themselves and their country - let them get on with it.

Cameron should calm his apparent hawkish tendencies. It's very worrying. As for Iain's response - well that doesn't surprise me at all. He is clueless when it comes to foreign affairs.

Brett said...

Andrew Sullivan says it well:

Moreover, the rise of Ahmedinijad is all to do with Bush's Axis of Evil comments and Cheney's warmongering towards Iran which radicalised their internal politics once more.

How on Earth can you think it is sensible in any way to rattle sabres at the moment?

How is that going to help the uprising, but validate it as being a Western plot?

It's certainly not the right of the US to make pronouncements on the validity of the election, given they don't have a diplomatic mission and no access to election polling.

The only thing that one can say is on the broad basis of human rights.

I pray they see moderate leadership in the short future, and that more people aren't killed.

But playing partisan politics with the issue, as you seem to be doing, is indefensible.

The Grim Reaper said...

canvas said "Iain, you're just running scared because you've been punked. If you had really carefully thought through this feeble post of yours then you would stand your ground. Another Dale knee jerk reaction..."

Fear not, Canvas. You know you've made a name for yourself on the political blogosphere when Iain Dale is upset with you. It's like a kind of rite of passage.

Weygand said...

Very little good can be said of this morally repugnant administration - the UK, never mind Iran - but at least, on this occasion, it has foregone cheap, empty rhetoric which would only have been counter-productive.

Would you rather have had even more severe repression - perhaps more deaths - excused under the banner of dealing with foreign intervention?

Neither the UK government nor the Americans could prevent the overthrow of the Shah nor could they now intervene successfully in Iran.

Unless you fancy going over there and putting yourself in harm's way, I would suggest you hold back the gung-ho stuff, as it is an insult to those who have no choice in the matter.

I think you need a holiday.

Douglas Oliver said...

America and especially Britain have a bad name in Iran (see 1953), commenting explicitly on Iran's internal affairs is only going to assist the argument of the hardline incumbent, who claims the need to resist external interference.

Duncan Cookson said...

It's easier to say something in opposition. Cameron's probably made the judgement that his pronouncement will get little coverage and have even less impact now but he'll be able to reference it later to tout his leadership on foreign policy issues if necessary.

There have been reports in the UK and US media that intelligence services think it's possible that Ahmadinejad won the election fairly and that the result was actually worse for him than a 'western opinion poll' taken before the election. So it's not certain that Obama and Brown would be speaking for the majority. Any intervention would increase the severity of the crackdown and reduce the legitimacy of Mousavi. The Iranian government, and probably most of the people too, know that the US is involved in covert operations inside Iran so there's nothing to be gained diplomatically or for the people of Iran by making any announcements.

So far this is a domestic law and order crackdown. There are tragedies of course but then some of the protestors are engaged in some pretty serious violence. This isn't a brutal murderous attack on a peaceful protest. It's sweet though that American and British conservatives are speaking up for Iranian urban liberals :)

I think Obama and Brown have played this right. I also think you can't be against an Islamic state on principle if you're for a Jewish one.

Anonymous said...

Well said Iain, the left fails again when faced with a simple moral choice as shown by those idiot lefties replying above.

Oh and Obama is a fucking idiot.

Jimmy said...

The point about Cameron is that he has no actual responsibilities and only has to consider domestic popularity. It would have been a grossly irresponsible comment if anyone in Iran either knew or cared who he was.

Jimmy said...

btw don't we know what Reagan did with Iran?

Should we sell them guns too?

Dimoto said...

Desperate Dan - you are so right.
I will vote Tory at the next election firmly holding my nose. It's pretty obvious that they will stick to their infantile Blimpish foreign policy nostrums, and will probably favour a "surveillance society" just as much as Labour.
It will be well into the next century before the Tories realise that the world has changed from 1930.
Iain Dale, for God's sake give up the idea of being an MP, we don't need yet more lobby fodder.

Yak40 said...

What does the EU say ? After all, it's them that matter now, soon the UK's opinion will be truly irrelevant, once the Lisbon coup is over and the traitor Mandelson's dirty work is done.

Jason said...

Jimmy - "Should we sell them guns too?"

Well said - I am all for seeing some change in the govt in this country here, but such rank hypocrisy and blind veneration rankles.

Who can forget Iran-Contra?

How many innocents were killed in Central America with Reagan's black ops in that region?

Funded with arms sales to Khomeini no less !! because the instruments of democracy in the USA would not approve funding the neocon's murderous agenda.

Yak40 said...

nor the Americans could prevent the overthrow of the Shah

Maybe, but Carter didn't have to welcome it with open arms, even to the extent of refusing temporary admission to a dying man.

Now we have Carter Part Deux, on track to be even worse.

Hope !
Change !


Anyone see Obambi buy ice creams after giving Iran his mild telling off, saying the 'world is watching'.
We the world is watching and caught him out neglecting his duties.
No wonder Obambi is slumping in the polls, with the latest having him in negative territory.

Think how unpopular he would be were so much of the media not so busy sucking his .....

Anonymous said...

Globalisation, Ian.

embrace the consumer.

Thatchers rallying call was capitalism.

See how they cuddle up to the Chinese. Get them hooked on tobbaco and nicotine then they have the customers.

Forget about the massacre in tianimen Sq.

Then Lie about it.

The BBC and MSM dead tree press in the UK still tell big porky propaganda lies for the establishment.

The Maddie McCann killing being the prime example.
We all know it's a "big lie" ala "Goebbels" but it's still carried on.

recall that Tomlinson death at the hands of the cops.

jean Charles de'Mendez, whitewahsh and lies.

dr Kelly ?

Pat Finucaine ?

Anonymous said...

You've just demonstrated how little you understand about history and geopolitics.

Anonymous said...

In the weasel world of EU politics (the post-democratic age) it would be unseemly for a European country to take dictatorships to task. There is no greater dictatorship than Brussels.

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah plays into their hands blah blah blah interference blah blah blah-

The Iranian government has already accused the West of interfering, so what does it matter anymore? The only reason Omoron has kept his mouth shut is because he doesn’t want to derail his precious negotiations with the Iranian thugs, even if a few dozen Iranians like Neda have to die needlessly.

Anonymous said...

Labour Matters, June 21, 2009 7:41 PM.

Zakaria is a lunatic, anti-Western idiot. Same with Andi (heart over the i) Sullivan. But then I'd expect backing from them from a lunatic, anti-Western political party.

I love all these Leftards showing supreme intellectual deficiency. Of course, they'd love Ahmamadman staying in charge because they have a fetish for men who "stand up to the West" (which is why all of them love Chavez) and would love nothing more than watching Tel Aviv go up in nuclear smoke with a nuke quietly placed in a shipping container. Mousavi would be much more preferable in terms of nuclear negotiations even if the existing political structure remained, but then I wouldn't expect Labourgs to be that nuanced.

Dan said...

Well what did they do with Iran, let's see seel Iran weapons in Iran contra and seel ammunition and intelligence to Iran's enemies in Iran Iraq war!

In terms of the solidarity example yes they were pretty vocal in their support after Martial Law had been imposed and Solidarity was pretty much crushed but in the early days they were much more cautious, i.e. this is only DAY 7. In the early days of a strike in Gdansk when no one knew who Wallensa was they were not full throated in support as an invasion by Moscow would not be helpful, and full throated support in 1956 got lots of Hungarians dead when they beleived our support actually meant something!

In 1991 Bush senior allowed himself to get carried awway with full throated support for democracy in Iraq and then stood by as Saddam slaughtered the Shia in the South in sight of British and American guns and then turned north and slaughtered the Kurds until PM Major shamed the Americans into a limited level of intervention.

Identifying the protesters in Iran as stooges of the UK would do them no help. As others have said it is an item of faith in Iran that UK is behind everything that goes wrong there and the US is a poodle of the UK! UK from 1800-1953 ran the country in one way or another either via puppet rulers or full occupation, from 1953-1979 the US ran things but in a more subtle way and it was not obvious at first that the real result of 1953 was US taking control of a UK ecconomic colony.

The right response is that of caution.

Anonymous said...

Obviously what is needed here is more NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANCE and Western weakness and arse-fingering. Nevermind that a fundamentalist Iran is what the left want because it gives them a convenient target to point to and bawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww about Western interference and DA JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZ and NEYOKONS while the Chinese buy up everything not nailed down.

Barack Hussein Murphy Soetoro-Obama, as I said in my Cairo speech said...

Prezzydentin' be hard, yo.

Nigel said...

The man who helped lay the foundations for what happened in Eastern Europe in the 80s disagrees with you too:
...Brzezinski brought up the Solidarity movement in Poland, and Tiananmen Square as analogies, but also mentioned that Iran's election crisis is different from those earlier crises.
Zbig also interestingly brought up the infamous neocons: "And there are those who are supporting the regime, who in many respects are like our neocons -- very similar to our neocons."
Zbig believes that Obama so far has been handling the crisis correctly, and again mentioned the neocons: "he has struck absolutely the right note... He's identifying himself morally, historically with what is happening in Iran. But he's not engaging himself politically. He's not interfering, because that... could be exploited by the neocons in Iran to crush the revolution, to wipe it out."
Referring to those who are criticizing Obama for not being tougher, "One of the paradoxes here domestically is that many of the people who call for the most energetic involvement by Obama in the process, they simply would prefer to have an American-Iranian showdown.
"Whereas, in fact, if there is a change of regime in Iran, there's a greater chance of accommodation."

Tim said...

"Something must be done" is the foolish cry of those who understand little about the world and particularly complex places such as Iran.

The wholly irrational obsession with Iran on sites such as this one and LikudHome is driven by Israel's sentries in the UK, nothing else. Ordinary Britons are not writing to their MPs calling for the bombing of Iran.

Iain Dale said...

"The wholly irrational obsession with Iran on sites such as this one".

Exactly how many posts have I written on the subject of Iran? Er, one. This one. Some obsession.

Alan Hood said...

There is a distinct chance that the vote was correct. As Adam mentioned the only independant poll taken just before the election showed Ahmadinajad with a big lead. As far as I am aware there is no evidence of any fix.

Obama is right in how he is handling this because any evidence of the West meddling in Iran's affairs would play straight into the mullah's hands because of our history there.

The West can criticise how the government are delaing with the protestors but to say as Cameron said that we are on the same side as them is plainly wrong. If there was strong eveidence of a fix that would be different.

Anonymous said...

Nigel, Brzezinski had the great idea to fund and arm the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan in 1979 as well as being part of the same administration that lost Iran as well as put Mugarbage in charge. Also, did Brzezinski really call the Iranian leadership "neocon"? Wow, what a twit, an idiot, an intellectual lightweight. Like Paul Krudman, I wouldn't take what he says too seriously.

Tim, we write about Iran because their government is acting like twats, just like I do when Labour acts like twats, not because I am an evil neyokon joooooooooooooooo Israeli agent or whatever it is you have an obsession with.

Anonymous said...

Alan Hood's diatribe at June 22, 2009 9:56 AM:

Hey, check it out, Anonymous at 7.05, 7.16 and 8.20 was right.

happiness said...

Wolvreen is 100% correct. Any support given by the West will be used as propaganda to show that Obama & Co. are the driving force, not the people themselves. All it will take to tip the medieval mullahs into an orgy of killing is for the West to start proselytising. Go live in another culture sometime; your eyes will be opened as to what the Western governments should and should not do. Even the demonstrators do not seem to be screaming for western support, do they?

Anonymous said...

"All it will take to tip the medieval mullahs into an orgy of killing is for the West to start proselytising."

Like they aren't already? The whole Colonel Klink "I DO NUTTING! NUTTING!" routine doesn't stand up to the events on the ground;

"Even the demonstrators do not seem to be screaming for western support, do they?"

Nor do this. All those protests wouldn't be in English if they weren't sending a message to the West, were they?

Germany, France and Britain have stepped up to the plate. Even while Iran flails about the UK being "most evil," the protestors haven't turned their attentions to the embassy (yet). This hyperventilating by people like jojoko are little more than leftist bleating, wanting Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs to succeed. All the protestors ask for is moral support. Cameron delivered, why can't Omoron?

Anonymous said...

Protest signs, I should say. Similar to how many signs in Tiananmen were in English and Mandarin. Tiananmen 1989 = Tehran 2009. Oh, how little people learn.

neil craig said...

Iain's entire argument depends on the assumption that the election count was fraudulent, to the tune of 12 million votes & thar Ah'madinnerjacket didn't win. There is no evidence whatsoever for this & indeed previous poll evidence suggests the opposite.

Democracy is what the people voted for not what Washington & the BBC would like the people to have voted for.

It is true that Reagan did intervene in Nicaragua to train & fund terrorists because the people had voted in a left wing government. I do not consider that to have been admirable.

Elby the Beserk said...

Odd question. We know what Reagan did - do you really not remember the Iran Contra affair?


Anonymous said...

"There is no evidence whatsoever"

In 50 cities, there are more votes than they are actual voters.

"because the people had voted in a left wing government. I do not consider that to have been admirable."

I do. I would not allow a country in my sphere of influence to go left, just as the USSR refused Czechoslovakia to liberalise. Welcome to the realities of international power politics. We didn't have the opportunity to create minor changes in a fundamentally rotten system because of geopolitics and the red nuclear threat, but we do now for Iran, for the first time since Carter fucked up in 1979.

Again, leftards like neil craig would rather leave Ahmadinejad as President rather than take the chance of having someone not as batshit insane there. Anonymous at 7.16 and 8.20 is, of course, correct.

Anonymous said...

The Iran Contra Affair occured while two batshit countries (Iran and Iraq) were fighting it out and batshit revolutionaries were crawling around Central America acting like twats, and the Reagan administration took advantage of the situation for its own gain. Is this the left's entire argument? "Hurr durr iran contra lol"? It's not 1985 anymore. Get over it.

bill said...

canvas said
Cameron should calm his apparent hawkish tendencies. It's very worrying. As for Iain's response - well that doesn't surprise me at all. He is clueless when it comes to foreign affairs.

June 21, 2009 10:53 PM

Whereas you are just a clueless twat about everything.

Nigel said...

Anonymous 10.01

>>did Brzezinski really call the Iranian leadership "neocon"? Wow, what a twit<<

Try reading the whole interview. The comparison makes sense to me. A manichean worldview is one of the defining characteristics of the 'neocons':
"...And there are those who are supporting the regime, who in many respects are like our neocons -- very similar to our neocons.
They're Manichean. They look at the world as divided into good and evil, and many of them see America as the personification of evil..."

>>intellectual lightweight. Like Paul Krudman...<<

And you of course are an intellectual heavyweight.
Who prefers a cloak of anonymity.
Otherwise you'd have been awarded the Nobel ?

Anonymous said...

Nigel, Manichean is an Iranian Gnostic religion and the main tenet of it is for light to be gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light from which it came, not in the (rather crude and simplistic) explanation of good triumphing over evil, a concept found in many religions and the political theory of idealism. I guess dem neocons and their worldview are just like dem jooooooooooooz/mooslems/hindoos etc, using your logic.

And Krudman called for the creation of a property bubble in 2002 after the collapse of the Nasdaq bubble, which is part of the reason why we're in the mess we're in. General Nobel winners are very clever in their particular subset of their field (e.g. economics, physics) but lack knowledge or common sense in everything else. Case in point: US Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Nigel said...

>>the only remotely valid poll...<<

Leaving aside your somewhat tendentious description of it, one of the key data points in that poll was the very large percentage of those polled who refused to express a preference. One can guess why.

For one informed analysis of what went on, you could try this:

Anon @12.50

Desperate Dan said...

Sometimes Iain writes things just to be provocative and start a debate. I have no idea whether this is one of those occasions but those people who are a bit slow on the uptake might bear that in mind.

happiness said...

No, it's not a bloodbath yet but get the western powers supporting one side or another and there will be on a scale about 100 times greater than is happening at the moment. What impact do you think soundbite statements will have to the good? Do the hawks want to push it to the level of civil war hoping the west will then come in and save the protestors? The shah's regime wasn't saved, the Hungarians and Czechs were ground down for decades. Face it, the west is bankrupt fiscally and powerwise. Also, no one knows what sort of support is being given behind the scenes. Public support from the hated western governments for the protestors will assure an early end for their protest and for them. As I said before, go live in a culture completely different from the west. I did for many years in 4 continents and 5 countries. If the west publicly supports the protestors, the Iranian government will say that is the proof that the west is behind the unrest and are planning another invasion as they did in Iraq. And once Iran starts its REAL crackdown will the west come to the aid of the protestors? Ha! They'll be refusing the refugees visas on the grounds they might be a terrorist.

Anonymous said...

Why the fuck does Iran need the West as a scapegoat to create a bloodbath? Most of the official opposition is under arrest, most youth are already pro-Western enough, Mullah control is already tight enough and if Ahmadinejad got as much of the vote as Nigel says they did, they won't need "the West" to drop a train on them. Fuck me, try and think of things in ways other than "hurrr itz all oar fult."

"As I said before, go live in a culture completely different from the west. I did for many years in 4 continents and 5 countries."

Good for you. Why didn't you stay there?

Anonymous said...

Desperate Dan says:
"Sometimes Iain writes things just to be provocative and start a debate. I have no idea whether this is one of those occasions "

LoL ! This is NOT one of those occasions since Iain Dale can't and won't debate this Iran issue > that's because Iain now realises he was always on the wrong side of this argument. He lost the argument a long time ago.

This Iran post that Iain wrote is SO ridiculous that the only other person who could top it is perhaps that dumb ass Sarah Palin.

Mind you, I still love Iain to bits ...despite his absurd views of foreign affairs. Bless.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe Barry 0, canvas, who welcomed the "robust debate" around the time the rioting started and then, just as he was to claim credit for Mousavi's win, scurried under his desk to pick up the pieces of his Iranian strategy and kept his mouth shut until Super Genius Joke Biden thought up a winning solution which was telling the protestors "seeking justice with peaceful ways" while the Basij were firing on rooftops and killing women.

Imagine Barry 0 shaking Ahmadinejad's hand during the future ineffectual and pointless nuclear negotiations when the bloody crackdown has faded from public memory. What a disgusting little cunt. Fuck him and fuck his shitcunt supporters. I hope they all choke.

Duncan Cookson said...


I saw that propaganda video too and of course it's kind of ridiculous but the central point they're making is a correct one. The US is actively engaged in pro democracy movements around the world, hence all these colour revolutions. Not a bad thing you might think, but it seems to me that these efforts are as much about interfering in elections to get their man or woman elected as overthrowing dictatorships. Our Brand is Crisis is a documentary that illustrates this kind of thing pretty well. I also think there is a danger that they might 'peak to early', bringing civil problems and risks to the lives of those involved. Democracy has to come about through consent and takes time.

Parp said...

Anon @ 3.12pm

What did you expect? Canvas just wore out the left wing pro-Omoron pro-Ahmadinnerjacket pro-direct negotiations claptrap thoroughly, totally debunked at 7.16, 8.20, 10.01, 10.40, 10.42, 11.19, 11.21 and 12.50. I wouldn't worry about it.

neil craig said...

Anon 11.19 I can't agree with you either about it being right of the USSR to invade Czechoslovakia in 1968. Indeed even from a utilitarian point of view I think they were wrong - if, instead, the Soviet government had decided to learn a bit from the Prague reformists the USSR might still be there.

However I acknowledge your even handedness in making the comparison. Most "right wingers" think that the right to bully other nations was given by G
od to NATO.

Anonymous said...

I think our politicians should steer well clear of this spat between different islamic factions.

In any case, western intervention in Iran has had unpredictable and unsatisfactory results in the past.

When the UK and the US got rid of Mossadeq in 1953, they set in motion the train of events that led to the 1979 revolution.

Do we really want to repeat that?

Dimoto said...

Iain, you shouldn't be so quick to jump on Tim at 9.26 on the 22nd.
Or do you really want your blog to be taken over by the foul-mouthed, Israeli, rent-a-rant crowd ?

Maggymania said...

"Think back to the early 1980s. Did Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan stand on one side when Solidarity was in its infancy? Did they think that uttering words of support might be damaging? No, not a bit of it. They recognised the importance of sending a clear signal that those who were fighting oppression and dictatorship were in their thoughts."

Too right, they armed Saddam to the teeth.That's the way to fight oppression in Iran, right Iain?

Anonymous said...

The bloodshed continues and Omoron won't even rescind the invitations for Iranian diplomats to attend US Independence celebrations at the Swiss embassy. I would be disgusted, but I expect this from him.

Can't wait for his response to the NK missile launch in two weeks either.

Anonymous said...

So finally, after over a week, Omoron has lent his support to the protestors and given condemnation to the Iranian thugs with the same harshness of rhetoric as the rest of Europe and, surprise surprise, there was no acceleration of the crackdown. How can there be, when it's already as bloody as possible without totally alienating the rest of the world and making Russia and China look bad.

So how does it feel, canvas and the rest of her ilk, to be COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY FUCKING WRONG?

Anonymous said...

anon 7:27: you need to get a grip. you are contradicting yourself. you are talking complete drivel.

Anonymous said...

LOL typical Ahmaidiot loving moron. Doesn't address the argument, just gets totally butthurt while they scramble to readjust their delusion in the face of the facts.

Get over yourself.