Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Latest from Iran (28 June): A Failing Foreign Policy?

0550 GMT: It has not been a good week for the Islamic Republic's foreign policy. The efforts of the Foreign Ministry to get leverage in the nuclear talks, appealing to European states in an attempt both to distance them from the US and to delay oil sanctions scheduled for 1 July, were undercut by 1st Vice President Rahimi's headline-grabbing announcement that Jews control the international drug trade. The victory of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi in the Egyptian Presidential contest, which should have been an occasion to promote the Supreme Leader's vision of the "Islamic Awakening", became tragi-comedy --- Revolutionary Guards and Presidential outlets fought over the authenticity of Fars' claimed interview with Morsi. P resident Ahmadinejad's Latin American tour brought disappointment, as his Brazilian counterpart refused to see him, and ridicule from conservative sites such as Alef.

The bureaucratic conflict over foreign policy is far from new --- in 2010, there was warfare within the establishment as President Ahmadinejad appointed special envoys and fired Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. However, this week's developments, given the high stakes, have brought a flurry of denunciations from former Iranian diplomats.

  • Ali-Akbar Farazi, former ambassador to Romania: The Foreign Ministry has been purged of experts.
  • Javad Mansouri, former ambassador to China: The Foreign Ministry no longer takes any decisions and the Presidency has taken control.
  • Shams al-Din Khareqani, former ambassador to Germany: There is instability within the diplomatic corps of the Foreign Ministry.
  • Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian, former ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan: Inexperienced personnel are being used at the Foreign Ministry.

There was one bit of good diplomatic on Wednesday, with Foreign Minister Ali Abkar Salehi announcing that Iran and Britain were restoring a level of diplomatic relations, after the British Embassy was effectively closed last November when it was stormed by a pro-regime crowd and the British Government expelled the Islamic Republic's diplomats. Salehi, who met British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Afghanistan earlier this month, said Oman will handle Iranian interests in London while Sweden will represent British interests in Tehran.

Still, the bigger developments on the international front bring into question not only the state of Iran's foreign policy but also of its political establishment. As the Supreme Leader declared on Wednesday:

The cabinet, the legislature and the judiciary are all at the unified front of defending Islam, the Iranian nation, and independence and identity of the country in the face of the struggle of the arrogant powers. By avoiding peripheral and hostile issues, they should help each other.

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

Posted via email from lissping