Liberal as in Liberty and Freedom. Iranian as in Cyrus and Ferdowsi.
Gift of the Impudent Thief
I intentionally did not make any comments during the recent hostage-taking crisis of British marines by Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRG) of Iran. It was clear to me that the whole incident was staged by elements in the Iranian government. There were some clues, such as the initial "mistake" in the Iranian claimed position
of the captured marines that was in Iraqi waters. But the people who could ultimately shed some light on the incident were captive and there was no hope that they would speak freely in captivitiy. Their "interviews" could not be trusted in the hands of a regime who has constantly forced even its most benign prisoners to confess to unimaginable crimes on TV since the begining of its existence. It was a well-calculated move by Iran, one that avoided a full clash with the US while sending a message that they could be a significant annoyance if they want to. I was particularly bothered by the continued state of inaction by the British and other European countries prior to the incident and their apparent puzzlement at the result of their irrational optimism toward unworthy actors in Iran's politics, the so-called "reformists."
But the ultimate insult came when after exploiting the staged situation for all its propaganda worth, Mr. Ahmadinejad announced that the marines are being released "as a gift" to the British people. It seems in the Islamic Republic's logic giving a gift is no different from returning stolen goods. This particularly persisting impudence is the essence of the Islamic Republic's existence.
Now that the marines are free and back home they can and are giving
us a glimpse of their experience in captivity. As it appears, and I think the course of events is well explained by their statements, the marines refrained from a military engagement because they recognized the IRG was heavily equiped. Had they chosen differently they could have jeopardized not just their own lives but those of the people of Iran in the aftermath. Iran's foreign ministry spokesman claims these are "staged" statements. But what would the marines lose? Would they face an uncertain period of time apart from their families and loved ones? Would the costs of telling the truth be so high for them that not even one would confirm his or her statements made in Iran? Does the Iranian spokesman really expect the sane people of the free world to believe him instead of 15 free men and women?