2 December 2011
Stuart Littlewood highlights the hypocrisy of the British government, which is orchestrating an international campaign to isolate Iran for violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and for Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programme while simultaneously protecting Israeli war criminals and turning a blind eye on Israel’s nuclear arsenal.
The gung-ho leadership of the British government is itching for a fight with Iran, it seems. Of course, it won't be spilling any blood or guts of its own. It’ll watch from a safe distance and make Churchillian speeches.
The temperature is rising nicely. After the storming of the British embassy in Tehran, Foreign Secretary William Hague declared: "These events are a grave violation of the Vienna Convention... This is a breach of international responsibilities of which any nation should be ashamed."
He added: "We have been foremost among those nations arguing for peaceful legitimate pressure to be intensified on Iran in the light of the IAEA’s [International Atomic Energy Agency’s] 'deep and increasing concern' about the Iranian nuclear programme, including its 'possible military dimensions'.”
Remember the 12 years of vicious British-American sanctions against Iraq and the devastating effect on public health and the whole social fabric, with half a million excess deaths among children, and that was before our dumb-ass leaders went in and bombed the country to hell and back, all on a foul lie.
I welcome the decision taken by the EU today to put in place an unprecedented package of sanctions on Iran. This demonstrates the strength and unity of our concern about the Iranian government’s nuclear programme. Iran’s ongoing refusal to engage constructively on this issue leaves us no option but to implement these sanctions.
Whether the attack on the British embassy was a spontaneous expression of popular protest or an act of vandalism orchestrated by the authorities, it was in retaliation for these unwarranted (as Iran sees it) impositions.
What gets up many people’s nose, especially the Iranians’, is Hague’s failure to say anything about Israel’s “ongoing refusal to engage constructively” on the issue of its nuclear weapons programme.
The Iranian parliament had earlier voted overwhelmingly for a bill to downgrade Tehran´s relations with London by expelling Britain's newly-arrived ambassador. London had not maintained a full diplomatic presence and was operating at chargé d'affaires level for several months after the previous ambassador left. Now Hague has withdrawn all staff and told the Iranian chargé in London that the Iranian embassy must close and all Iranian diplomatic staff must leave within 48 hours.
Holding a grudge
During the Iran-Iraq war Britain deserted Iran and supported Saddam. In 2001 Jack Straw was the first British foreign secretary to visit Tehran in 22 years. Poor judgment and lack of diplomatic diligence, plus a shameful willingness to fall into line with America (and therefore Israel) in foreign policy matters, has brought us to the present sorry situation.
Even the Zionists’ 63-year record of land thieving, piracy, ethnic cleansing, indiscriminate slaughter, mass abductions and imprisonment, torture, everyday terror and utter contempt for international law and human rights, wasn’t enough to diminish the eagerness of our Foreign Office to play bitch to Tel Aviv's thugs.
He went on to insult the public’s intelligence by saying: “The UK is committed to upholding international justice and all of our international obligations. Our core principle remains that those guilty of war crimes must be brought to justice.”
UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Professor Richard Falk observed that if a country like Britain, with its proud constitutional tradition, applies international criminal law only to those its leaders don’t like at the time – for example, Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic – “you discredit, in a fundamental way, the rule of law which really does depend on equals being treated equally. If that is not done then double standards become very manifest; it also has the effect of saying that geopolitics and foreign policy always trump the law.”
Falk went further: "The idea of Nuremberg after World War II was that crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes are also offences against the whole of international society...” Those who sat in judgment must uphold the rule of law in relation to their own behaviour.
"Universal jurisdiction is part of the struggle against impunity for the Israeli military and the country's political leaders,” said Falk. “That impunity has been possible both because Israel itself doesn't impose accountability on those who perpetrate violations of international criminal law and because the US, and to some extent European countries, have given a geopolitical insulation to Israel in relation to its responsibilities as a sovereign state."
As everyone knows, the beauty of the private arrest warrant is that it can be issued speedily. The bringing of a private prosecution for a criminal offence is an ancient right in common law and, in the words of Lord Wilberforce, "a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of the authority".
Lord Diplock, another respected Lord of Appeal, called it “a useful safeguard against capricious, corrupt or biased failure or refusal of those authorities to prosecute offenders against the criminal law".
But Hague and his pals are contemptuous. They’ve politicized the legal process and created a safe haven for their favourite war criminals. And Israel’s defiance of international law and the menace its nuclear weaponry pose to the region and beyond are not subjects for discussion let alone a matter for sanctions.
But Iran – that’s different. Iran is fair game. And if there’s no legitimate excuse we’ll make one up, just like we did with Iraq. Our neo-cons have the skills.
Today Hague upped the provocation still further by pushing the EU for even more sanctions against Iran. At a meeting of EU foreign ministers Hague said: "I hope we will agree today additional measures that will be an intensification of the economic pressure on Iran ... peaceful legitimate economic pressure particularly to increase the isolation of the Iranian financial sector."
His German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle, said the aim of sanctions "is to dry up Iran's financial sources".
They are also pressing for oil sanctions and a freeze on the assets of Iran’s Central Bank. And the bloc's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has urged the EU's 27 states "to ratchet up sanctions”, saying it was time "to make it clear to Iran that we are very serious".
As I write, the BBC reports that Iran's shipping and air cargo companies will be banned from operating in EU territory, and new visa bans and asset freezes will target Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. A satisfied Hague when interviewed said he got everything he was asking for.
In other words, Iran is being put under relentless siege with all that that implies. Millions could die because a handful of brainwashed politicians here and in the EU and US hold a childish grudge. And why Hague is leading the charge when Iran is no threat to Britain isn’t explained.
I don’t believe the British people wish to be associated with the tactics of bullies who don’t even have the balls to go shoot the breeze with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for fear of ruffling the feathers of the pro-Israel lobby at home.
How much better to build trade and influence the Iranians that way.