The British government has demanded an appearance of the Iranian ambassador in London after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei referred to them as “evil”. The British, who have diplomatic and trade relations with Iran, took offense to the speech, and demanded an apology. Instead, they chewed out a junior-level staffer:
Britain’s Foreign Office said Friday it had told an Iranian diplomat it was concerned by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s criticism of Britain, which he called evil.
During Friday prayers at Tehran University, Khamenei accused the United States, Britain and what he called Iran’s other enemies of fomenting unrest. He singled out Britain for specific criticism.
“I will tell you the outstanding diplomats of some Western countries who talk to us with diplomatic courtesy up to now during the past few days have taken their masquerade away from their faces and they are showing their true image,” he said according to a translation provided by the BBC. “They are displaying their enmity against the Islamic state, and the most evil of them is the British government.” …
The Foreign Office summoned the Iranian ambassador for talks, but said that, in the end, a more junior diplomat — the charge d’affaires, Safar Ali Eslamian Koupaei — attended a meeting with political director Mark Lyall Grant.
The Foreign Office said it was told the charge d’affaires was attending in the absence of the ambassador.
“We made clear to the Iranian charge that the supreme leader’s comments were unacceptable and had no basis in fact,” a Foreign Office spokesman said on condition of anonymity in line with policy.
Perhaps buoyed by Khamenei’s statement that the British were more evil than the Great Satan, Obama insisted that he would not react to Khamenei’s speech or express any support for the demonstrators in Iran:
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Friday warning to protestors to stop their demonstrations in the streets — a speech where he warned opposition leaders they would be “responsible for bloodshed and chaos” — will not change President Obama’s policy of avoiding expressing strong partisan support for the demonstrators, senior administration officials said Friday.
The president is pursuing a “foreign policy that advances our interests rather than a foreign policy that makes us feel good about what we’re saying,” a senior official said, just hours after the House of Representatives passed a resolution by overwhelming margins expressing support for “all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and rule of law,” affirming “the importance of democratic and fair elections,” and condemning “ongoing violence” by demonstrators.
Er, right. The big problem in Iran, according to the White House, is the “ongoing violence” by the demonstrators. Update: Jake Tapper apologizes for the typo in this paragraph — it should have been “against demonstrators,” not “by demonstrators.” It was also describing the Congressional resolution, as noted in the paragraph, which was my mistake.
Mike Pence took a big shot at Obama’s lack of response:
“When Ronald Reagan went before the Brandenburg Gate, he did not say ‘Mr. Gorbachev, that wall is none of our business,’” said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.
France, Germany, and now Britain — all trading partners with Iran — have managed to stand on the side of demonstrators attempting to peacefully end their oppression. Where is America, the beacon of liberty, at this moment? Attempting to build credibility with the oppressors. Shameful.
Update: See typo note above, with apologies from Jake Tapper over the confusion. Still, this is nothing more than a shrug.