Wednesday, September 03, 2003
One Opens, Another Closes - 3rd September 2003, 22.52

Whilst the British embassy in Iraq reopened on September 1st, the Iranian embassy has swiftly closed its doors following gunshots fired at the embassy. The buildup to this has been slow but predictable with the arrest of an accused terrorist, Hedi Soleimanpour, in Durham at the behest of the Argentinian government. The accused is alleged to have been involved with the Buenos Aires bomb in July 1994 that killed 85 people and destroyed a Jewish Centre. The scale of the bombing, Iran's notable involvement with atrocities like these over the years, and its record of anti-semitic antipathy to Israel do point in the direction of Tehran. Iran's initial reaction was a threat to expel the UK ambassador, but the pressure was increased tonight with gunshots fired against the United Kingdom embassy. This was further fuelled by the recall of the Iranian ambassador for consultations.

Whilst the accusation of Soleimanpour appears to be the initial catalyst for this outbreak of hostilities, one wonders how much has been caused by British actions in Basra. Have we been more successful at curbing Iranian influence than they would like and how far are they involved in attacks upon British troops? After all, the border between Iran and Iraq has become very porous, allowing the hardline Shi'a agents of the Republican Guards to infiltrate and attempt to dominate their Iraqi brethren. Yet, only 5,000 SCIRI affiliated demonstrators marched to mourn the death of Ayatollah Mohammed Baker Al-Hakim in Basra, a testament to their weakness rather than their strength in this city.

"There is no God but Allah. Death for Israel. Death for Baathis," the marchers chanted, also blaming the Americans for their leader's death. "The responsibility of Hakim's death lies with the British and American forces because they neglected security," the marchers shouted. The marchers carried red flags,
representing martyrdom and green flags for the color of Islam. Iraqi police took heavy security measures to prevent violence during the march.

Iran may be decide to up the ante with covert attacks upon our troops as a backlash against British unwillingness to allow them a free hand in southern Iraq.


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