Iran to prosecute British embassy workers

The Iranian mullahs have tried to paint the uprising of the last three weeks as the effect of foreign influences on an otherwise happy populace, and now they will put on a show trial to help reinforce that narrative.  The regime announced that it will prosecute eight employees of the British embassy for … something, although right now it’s not clear what.  Oh, and they’ve already confessed to the charges that on which the regime hasn’t decided, whatever they may be:


A top Iranian cleric said Friday that some of the detained Iranian staffers of the British Embassy in Tehran will be put on trial, and he accused Britain of a role in instigating widespread protests that erupted over the country’s disputed presidential election.

The announcement by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati came a day after the European Union demanded Iran release the staffers, who were detained on June 27. Britain is pressing EU countries to pull their ambassadors out of Tehran in protest.

Jannati, a powerful hard-liner who is close to Iran’s supreme leader, told worshippers during a Friday prayer sermon in Tehran that the detained staffers “made confessions.”

“In these events, their embassy had a presence,” he said, referring to the post-election turmoil. “Some people were arrested. Well, inevitably, they will be put on trial.”

He did not say how many staffers will be tried or on what charges. Earlier Iranian officials said all but one of the eight embassy personnel arrested on June 27 had been released, but European Union officials said they believed more than one was still being held.

The EU, meanwhile, has been stunned by the speed in which their trading partner has turned on them in the crisis.  Since the US has no diplomatic presence in Iran, the mullahs had to find another scapegoat for its blameshifting, although they still managed to prominently mention the CIA.  Now that Britain, France, and Germany have all been called evil by the regime, the three nations at the core of the European Union wonder what to do next:


As the war of words between Iran and the West escalates, the European Union is struggling to come up with a way to respond to Tehran’s verbal attacks.

In a particularly fierce broadside Wednesday, Iranian General Hassan Firouzabadi, who is the country’s chief of staff, left no doubts about who Iran’s enemies in the West were. In remarks quoted by the semi-official news agency Fars, he singled out Britain, France and Germany, saying they were hostile to Iran and had offended the Islamic nation. Firouzabadi accused the countries of “interference” in Iran’s post-election unrest. …

According to media reports, the EU is now discussing the possibility of withdrawing all its 27 ambassadors from Tehran. Senior officials from member states were planning to discuss the issue at a meeting in Stockholm Thursday.

“We have to show solidarity and present a united front in the EU,” said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country took over the EU’s six-month rotating presidency on Wednesday. However one EU diplomat who preferred not to be named told the news agency Reuters that some countries, including Germany and Italy, were skeptical as to whether pulling out the ambassadors would make sense.

Perhaps they should look at it another way: does it make sense to continue doing business with a mullahcracy that has clearly lost its legitimacy with the Iranian people?  That’s a better long-term question for the EU.  The US has already made the mistake of attempting to prop up Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by publicly repeating our desire to negotiate with them, only to have the regime use Obama as a punching bag.


That question has import for the opposition in Iran.  One of the triggers of dissatisfaction among Iranians even prior to the election was the international isolation created by the radical mullahs in power.  A withdrawal by the EU, even a moderate one, would increase that isolation and create more impetus for dissent.

The trial of embassy workers should be a decision point for the free world.  Will they continue to lend legitimacy to a clique ruling Iran by force, or will they isolate the mullahs and force their hand?

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