After four hours of debate, the UN Security Council has fearlessly issued a press release;
“Members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the capture by the Revolutionary Guard, and the continuing detention by the Government of Iran, of 15 United Kingdom naval personnel, and appealed to the Government of Iran to allow consular access, in terms of the relevant international laws. Members of the Security Council support calls, including by the Secretary-General in his 29 March meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister, for an early resolution of this problem, including the release of the 15 United Kingdom personnel.”
An Iranian diplomat described this as “unhelpful”. Well, he’s not wrong.
But nor is it particularly helpful to claim that they were captured not at location X in Iraqi waters but at location Y in Iranian waters, and then when it’s pointed out that location Y is also in Iraqi waters, to say ‘sorry, we meant point Z’.
And it’s really unhelpful to pretend that a UK servicewoman would write this without being coerced into transcribing it verbatim:
“Representative of the House of Commons, I am writing to inform you of my situation. I am a British serviceperson currently being held in Iran. …
“Unfortunately during the course of our mission we entered into Iranian waters. Even through our wrongdoing, they have still treated us well and humanely, which I am and always will be eternally grateful.
“I ask the representatives of the House of Commons, after the Government have promised that this type of incident would not happen again, why have they let this occur, and why has the Government not been questioned over this?
“Isn't it time for us to start withdrawing our forces from Iraq and let them determine their own future?”
Well, I’m convinced.
Surely the Stop the War Coalition has some pre-printed ‘UK troops out of Iran’ placards that would come in handy right now?
Actually, speaking of the SWC, they’ve issued their own unhelpful rant:
“Their detention is a consequence of the illegal occupation of Iraq. Whether they were in Iraqi or Iranian waters is immaterial. They should not be there at all and we demand the withdrawal of all UK forces from Iraqi territory. … The answer is de-escalation of tension and commitment to peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for Iranian sovereignty.”
To reiterate: (1) The capture was a “consequence” of Western policy and not a freely chosen action by Iran. (2) While the US and the UK are to be damned for their “illegal” actions, the location of the capture and therefore its illegality is “immaterial”. (3) The solution to Iran’s holding of UK personnel against their will, following a capture that violated Iraqi sovereignty, is “respect for Iranian sovereignty”.
It’s people like this that give appeasement a bad name.