IRANIANS WITH NO ENDGAME
That Iran’s illegal propaganda circus with captured British military personnel continues is an indication of the factional state of Iran’s leadership. Returning to the same provocative well once again is a sign that Ahmadinejad’s hardline Pasdaran faction behind the well-planned seizure have not garned the expected payoff that they most likely predicted would occur. So they are playing for time, hoping for a deus ex machina to whip the Iranian people into a nationalistic frenzy.
A second sign is the rather pathetic effort by the regime to employ a rent-a-riot “popular demonstration” against the British embassy. Aside from the laughably small number of “protestors”( probably Ansar Hezbollah or Basij goons), which indicates that the top clerics are keeping a very tight leash, as they could deploy thousands of paramilitary thugs in mufti, if they chose, there is a strong whiff of nostalgia here for the symbols of the 1979 Revolution. What appeal this political gesture will have to the vast number of Iranians too young to recall the seizure of the American embassy, I cannot say but to me it seems like something that would excite only the most partisan elements of Ahmadinejad’s base.
Ahmadinejad is painting Teheran into an increasingly isolated corner. Hopefully, the Bush administration will tailor their moves to maximize and profit from Iran’s diplomatic self-immolation rather than distract from it.