Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Iran : Special Analysis More Than A Game ....


Let's start with two points: 1) the regime almost certainly had an important connection with Tuesday's demonstration and attack on the British Embassy; 2) it supported that display of force not from strength, but from weakness.

For months, Iranian officials and media have been reacting to Western pressure with tough talk --- every day, we feature proclamations of the latest weapons system, cyber-offensive, and mobilisation of the Basij militia and the Iranian people.

Britain has a special place in that rhetoric: the historical villain of the oppression of Iran, London is attacked not only for its wing-man role to the US but also for the weaknesses of its economy, politics, and society. While America gets more than its share of criticism, of course, Britain is the bull's-eye target for pressure --- Iranian officials perceive that it cannot fight back with the force of a US punch, and there is the hope, probably forlorn, that the UK and Europe can be put at some distance from Washington if pressure is applied.

In recent weeks, and especially since the publication of the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran's nuclear programme, the regime campaign has escalated. The Islamic Republic is already in a serious --- possibly precarious --- economic position, and the last two weeks have brought a ratcheting-up of sanctions by the US, Britain, France, and Germany, with the prospect of European Union restrictions on imports of oil from more