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Enemy of Iranian state

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Daily Telegraph – Telegraph View: The expulsion of Britain’s ambassador to Iran has provided a vivid insight into the mindset of the Islamic regime.

The Daily Telegraph

Telegraph View: The expulsion of Britain’s ambassador to Iran has provided a vivid insight into the mindset of the Islamic regime.

By Telegraph View

By urging the expulsion of Britain’s ambassador, Iran’s parliament has provided a vivid insight into the mindset of the Islamic Republic’s leadership. Their first thought as they retreat further into isolation and economic malaise is to credit Britain with prime responsibility for all their problems.

For over a century, British statecraft was indeed the dominant factor in Iranian politics, causing the downfall of leaders who were thought to threaten London’s interests. But the era when a string of Royal Navy bases guaranteed that the Gulf was a British lake ended several generations ago. However, the old men who misrule Iran still claim to detect a British hand behind every significant event.

The latest trigger for their suspicion appears to have been the Treasury’s (overdue) decision to exclude Iran from transactions with the UK financial system. Meanwhile, another round of UN sanctions is approaching as Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons capability become increasingly obvious.

While the regime may well ignore the parliamentary vote, it clearly believes that Britain will be the guiding force behind this diplomatic drive. When millions marched in Tehran to protest against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory in the rigged elections of 2009, that too was blamed on the British. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the obdurate “Supreme Leader”, claimed on that occasion that Britain was the regime’s “greatest enemy”.

Perhaps we should rejoice in the status that all this accords us. Perception can amount to reality in international affairs, so the fact that Iran vastly overestimates our national power should cause us to be more assertive. And if Tehran’s ossified, brutal leaders regard us as their foremost opponent, that is an honour indeed.

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