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Occupy UK Embassy

The report that a group of Iranian “students” has entered the British Embassy and begun to vandalize the facility is more than disturbing.  In the early reports there is no word about the safety or whereabouts of embassy personnel.  Nor do we yet have any idea what the Iranian government will do in response to the occupation.

If the embassy personnel are safe and undisturbed and if the government moves to clear the protesters from the embassy grounds quickly, the incident will pass relatively quickly.  There may be some lingering disputes about compensation and liability, but the problem will be contained within the normal diplomatic process.

If on the other hand, the “students” are permitted to remain in the embassy, or, worse, if there are problems with the safety, security and free movement of UK embassy personnel, we could face a crisis worse than the crisis over the 1979 attack on the US embassy.  At that time the Iranian Revolution was still young and both the rulers in Tehran and the authorities in Washington had reason to seek compromise.

This time, the embassy attack comes as the chances for conflict are rising.  The Iranian government needs to step very carefully at this point; attacks on embassies are acts of war and crises once started can take on a direction and build a momentum of their own.

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  • Corlyss

    If we’d still been in Teheran, it would have been us. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me a whit to learn that the look-and-feel of the embassy take-over was intented to remind Americans of Carter’s, and Obama’s by inheritance, miserable performance for some 400+ days. Just a kiss blown from the IRG to the limp dishrag they helped elect.

  • Corlyss

    Surprised no mention was made of the fact that was all over Special Report, i.e., that the occupation was retaliation for the Brits sanctioning Iran’s central bank, thereby shutting off their access to British banks. Apparently the US has not done that, even though it would be a grevious wound to Iran’s financial body.

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