Storming the Embassy
Scoring Political Gains at the Expense of Iran’s Foreign Policy and National Interests
By Nader Uskowi
The Speaker of Majlis, the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani told reporters in Tehran today that the “presence” of students at the British embassy and residence in Tehran should not have provoked the British decision to close the embassies in both countries. Larijani added that the departure of the British diplomats from Iran was actually good for the country as they continued interfering in Iranian internal affairs and planned conspiracies against Iran [IRNA, 1 December].
Speaker Larijani did not explain that if the presence of the British mission in Iran was so detrimental to the national interest of the country, why did the Majlis or the government keep the embassy open. Iran’s foreign ministry could have ordered months and years ago the closure of the embassies in Tehran and London in an orderly manner. They didn’t need to wait for a mob to ransack the British embassy to begin to realize that the presence of the embassy in Tehran was not in the national interest of the country. And they did not need to wait for British Foreign Secretary William Hague to order the closure of the embassies.
The truth is that the storming and the looting of the British embassy, or as Larijani calls it the “presence” of the students on the embassy compound, is part of a dark and dangerous trend in the history of the Islamic Republic to score political gains internally at the expense of the country’s foreign policy and its national interests. The issue here is not that some angry individuals, or looters, or terrorists stormed the embassy. Such incidents could happen anywhere and has happened elsewhere. The photos taken on that day, however, show that the folks storming the embassy were organized; this must have been a planned action. The “students,” among other things, carried a large picture of the IRGC Quds Force commander, General Qasemi [Tabnak, 29 November]. Why? These people were not random looters or terrorists; they were most likely members of the basij force following the lead of a faction within the Islamic Republic.
Iran as a major country is emerging as a regional powerhouse. It needs not, and cannot afford tolerating a system where political factions can act with impunity against the national interests only to gain an upper hand in an upcoming election or strengthen their position to change a president. Speaker Larijani needs to ralize that the “presence” of the students at the embassy was not for the purpose of having an afternoon tea with the Britts. It was a presence that was counter to the national interests of the country, centered on the factional politics of today’s Iran.
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