Saturday, October 08, 2005

Daily Telegraph rips into Jack Straw for his Iran policy

This commentary in UK's Daily Telegraph just goes off on UK's Foreign Minister Jack Straw-- aka Jack Tehrani as he's called in the US State Department for his unflailing loyalty to mullahs--berating him for turning a blind eye on Iran's sabotage operations in Iraq and suggests "Britain and its European allies should face up to the reality of dealing with modern Iran and accept that their policy of appeasement towards the mullahs now lies in shreds." This couldn't be said any better. Take a look:

For the past two years it has been a Foreign Office mantra that not a word should be uttered that could in any way be construed as criticising the Iranian government. Having voiced his last-minute opposition to the invasion of Iraq, Mr Straw had taken it upon himself to find a "negotiated solution" to the West's stand-off with Teheran over its clandestine nuclear programme as an alternative to military confrontation.

...The policy of kowtowing to the Iranians goes back a long way. It started in the late 1980s when Sir Geoffrey Howe, the then foreign secretary, attempted to establish a constructive dialogue with the mullahs in what proved a futile attempt to persuade Teheran to free British hostages in Lebanon. As part of this policy, the British government took the shameful decision to drop its claim that the Iranians had masterminded the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people in December 1988, even though British intelligence uncovered significant evidence of Iranian involvement.

Mr Straw's pacifist tendencies were music to the mullahs' ears, so much so that they expressed their gratitude by breaking the seals at the Isfahan nuclear processing plant and resumed their uranium enrichment programme. This action alone should have convinced the European negotiators to activate their long-standing threat to report Iran to the Security Council for its persistent failure to cooperate with the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog body.

When Ahmadinejad addressed the UN general assembly last month, far from offering a compromise on the nuclear issue, he laid into the US and its allies, including Britain, accusing them of sponsoring terrorism. Mr Straw's response? To reassure the Iranians that the crisis between Iran and the West would "not be resolved by military means, let's be clear about that". And even when the IAEA finally agreed to refer Iran to the security council, the timing and manner of reporting Iran was deliberately left open "to allow room for more negotiation", as one IAEA official explained.

...Certainly, the longer the West prevaricates over Iran, the more inclined the Iranians are to think they can get their way by resorting to the tactics of the bully. The Iranians clearly do not share Mr Straw's aversion to military action: the moment we try to call them to account, they kill and maim our soldiers in southern Iraq.

With the help of last week's unscripted remarks by that diplomat, Britain and its European allies should face up to the reality of dealing with modern Iran and accept that their policy of appeasement towards the mullahs now lies in shreds.