Coalition of the Gobbling vs Iran IX

More info has come to light on the whereabouts of the Brit sailors. Looks like their GPS may contain the incriminating evidence of transgression into Iranian waters.

Last Wednesday, the British produced Global Positioning System coordinates to support their claim, even though the coordinates were from a helicopter that London says hovered over the Indian ship that the sailors had inspected, and not the GPS coordinates of the sailors themselves.

Iran was quick to produce its own evidence. The GPS unit of one of the British sailors, confiscated by the Iranian authorities, showed that the British were not only in Iranian waters at the time of the incident, but that they had crossed over into Iranian waters on five earlier occasions as well, according to Tehran.

Despite the United Stupids’ recent show of force with posturing naval exercises in the Gulf, Iran is remaining intransigent, and despite the bellicose bleatings of Doodoo, Bliar is taking the diplomatic route. Perhaps the United Stupids should get the hint that matters might move faster if they returned the Iranian consulate members they abducted in Iraq in January this year.

What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

On December 24, US troops arrested several Iranian officials in Iraq – of whom at least two were diplomats. A few weeks later, an office the Iranians say was a consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan was raided. Another five Iranians were detained there. They are still held by the US, and Tehran has had no access to them.

In addition, Ali Reza Asgari, a senior Iranian official who served in the cabinet of former president Mohammad Khatami, went missing in Turkey in February. His family and authorities in Tehran say he was kidnapped by the Israelis. The US says he defected.

Whether the arrested Iranians were diplomats or not and whether Asgari defected or was kidnapped, in two short months the detentions of the Iranians, the imposition of financial sanctions on Iran, and the passing of two United Nations Security Council Resolutions have seemingly provided the US with the leverage it was seeking. Washington is suddenly feeling confident and is hinting a vague willingness to talk to Tehran from its perceived position of strength.

It could be that the United Stupids are so irritated about Iran’s increased trading of oil in non USD currencies despite expanded sanctions, that releasing *their* hostages or even allowing the Iranians any form of contact with them is the last thing on their minds.

Iran’s efforts to switch from U.S. dollar to other currencies in crude oil deals appear to be progressing.

An official with Iran’s oil ministry says 60% of payments are now made in non-dollar currencies.

The U.S. has been trying to prevent overseas banks doing dollar deals with Iran, a move which Washington leaders think could undermine the Iranian economy.

However, Tehran has proved those efforts ineffective by introducing a currency shift in crude deals.

Iran has succeeded in ensuring that almost all European and some Asian clients have agreed to pay in currencies other than U.S. dollars, a senior oil official said on Thursday.

UPDATE 5/4: In releasing the 15 Brits, Ahmadinejad seizes the opportunity to appear magnanimous. 10 cookies to Iran – Amaddy has stage-managed a spectacular media event which has capably drawn attention away from Iran’s enrichment program.

On the occasion of the birthday of the great prophet (Muhammad) … and for the occasion of the passing of Christ, I say the Islamic Republic government and the Iranian people – with all powers and legal right to put the soldiers on trial – forgave those 15.

One has to wonder what strings the Brits pulled behind the scenes – did they make an offer too good to refuse? Bliar accepts the release of the sailors graciously.

Will the United Stupids now release their Iranian hostages? If they don’t, we can expect more ominous grunts from Iran.

6 Replies to “Coalition of the Gobbling vs Iran IX”

  1. Asgari’s disappearance takes on 007 proportions with allegations of conspiracy:

    In a report broadcast on Monday reviewing Asgari’s disappearance in Istanbul, the Turkish-language news station said there is a history of such operations targeting Iranians in Turkey, and said it was highly probable the official had been abducted.

    Alireza Asgari, 45, retired from office two years ago. He was on a business trip to Syria and then Turkey for his olive oil business when he checked in at the Hotel Ceyran in Istanbul on 7 December.

    He disappeared two days later.

    Last week, a senior Iranian official accused the CIA, Mossad, and the British MI6 of a joint plot to kidnap Asgari in order to fabricate unfounded charges against Tehran.

    A Middle East expert told CNN Turk, “Choosing Istanbul in Turkey to carry out the abduction of this former Iranian official was planned to create a matter of dispute between Iran and Turkey.”

    The former head of Turkey’s intelligence service (MIT) also believed it was almost impossible the service had been unaware of the abduction; otherwise, the incident could be interpreted as MIT’s vulnerability.

    Iran says such operations are carried out in an attempt to destabilize the country’s military hierarchy.

    Apart from Asgari, Colonel Amir-Mohammed Shirazi, and Brigadier General Mohammed Soltani may also have been kidnapped.

    Meanwhile, an Israeli source has told the Sunday Times of London, “This is no longer a coincidence, but rather an orchestrated operation to shake the higher echelons of (Iran’s) Revolutionary Guard.”

    The paper also quoted a U.S. official as saying the abductions were “essential for our understanding of Iranian activity in Iraq”.

    Iranian sources, The Sunday Times said, say the U.S. has drawn up a list of other targets to be grabbed.

  2. From the Khaleej Times, which exemplifies the dispute over the date of the abduction/defection and the perps involved, in this case, Mossad:

    On 7 February, an Iranian official, Brigadier General Ali Reza Asgari, a former deputy defence minister, vanished in Istanbul. He was on more than one intelligence watch-list since he was known to have helped organise the Hezbollah in the 1980s and 1990s. An Israeli daily, Yedioth Aharonoth, broke the silence around the mystery by reporting that Mossad, Israel ‘s much-admired intelligence agency, had organised Asgari’s defection. Other reports suggest that Mossad, always in control of his case, may have misled Asgari into believing that he was a mole for a European country rather than for Israel. No one has any idea of where he is now, but when Franz Jung, Germany’s foreign minister, was asked during a visit to Turkey whether Asgari was in Germany, he declined to give any answer.

  3. More on Asgari’s supposed defection:

    An essential question is what Asgari took with him. The London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat claimed on March 9 that Asgari had left Turkey on a new passport, under an assumed name, in cooperation with “Western parties.” (English summary here) He allegedly carried off “military and intelligence maps and documents on the Iranian military establishment, and on relations between the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Mehdi Army, and the Badr Organization.”

    No less significant is whether Asgari managed to get his family out? The Sunday Times claimed that “[a]t least 10 close members of his family had to flee the country” with Asgari, including sons, daughters and daughters in law. If true, this would suggest he had considerable time to plan his departure, or at least was given great leeway, despite Vavak’s purported suspicion. However, developments in Tehran on March 13 contradicted this. Asgari’s wife, daughters, sons, and brother–or at least people claiming to be them–held a press conference denying he could have defected. Mrs. Asgari asked the Iranian authorities to find her husband, and claimed that he had actually disappeared in December, not in February.

  4. Thanks to groundzero for his sharp eye for this story from Arabnews today.

    WHATEVER spin the British may be putting on the release of their 15 naval personnel, 13 days after their detention by Revolutionary Guard vessels in the Gulf, the whole incident has become a triumph for the Iranians. The individual introduction of each sailor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shortly before their release was an outstanding final theatrical coup.

    It seems clear, however, that the Iranians have been interested in far more than photo opportunities for their president. They appear to have been working on two fronts. The first has been tactical. Six Iranian officials were seized in Iraq, five of them by US forces who denied Iranian claims that the officials were diplomats and insisted instead that they were intelligence officers fomenting further violence by Shiite militias. The sixth Iranian, apparently a middle-ranking diplomat, was kidnapped in Baghdad in February. This Tuesday, that diplomat, Jalal Sharafi was freed and walked into the embassy. The suspicion is surely that Sharafi was actually an intelligence officer operating under diplomatic cover. His kidnap was probably organized by the Americans and his release thus looks very much like part of a swap for the 15 Britons. Americans in both Baghdad and Washington have been vigorous in their denials that any such deal was made. The focus will now turn to the other five Iranians whose release the Iraq government says it is attempting to bring about. Of greater importance, however, are the strategic gains won by Tehran. Before yesterday’s dramatic events, senior Iranian figures indicated that they had reached an arrangement with the British on the policing of the still-disputed Iraqi waters. This may well include regular British liaison with Iranian coastal patrols. Tehran may thus have been granted a formal role in the coalition’s Iraq operations. At the same time, of far greater interest to Iran is their relationship with the multiparty Iraqi government.

    Iran has been glad to add to Washington’s deep troubles in Iraq. But Tehran shares with the rest of the region the fear of the political break-up of Iraq. The growing power of the two main Shiite militias has been threatening Iraq’s continued unity. Iran undoubtedly wants to rein them in. The problem was that such a move would be claimed a victory by Bush. It can be expected therefore that the release of the remaining five Iranians will be conducted on a bilateral basis — between Baghdad and Tehran. The message to Washington will be that Iran will be a good neighbor to Iraq but maintain its demand that the Americans get out.

    With the Iraqi government and US operations apparently reducing the activity of Shiite militias, the challenge now is to confront Al-Qaeda and the remaining Baathist insurgents. If some of the latter groups conclude deals to cease their attacks and the Iraqi government can at last show real progress on the security front, the US will be robbed of a key excuse to stay on “until the job is done.”

    Iran has won a significant victory this week. Bush must accept and build upon it rather than vow revenge.

  5. Oddly enough, I’ve never heard Doodoo or Bliar justify their actions toward Iran on the basis that it oppresses women and murders gays.

    But there you go … and I thought it was all about the oil and the usual Great Game.

  6. Interesting how credulous of official claims the left becomes, when those officials are from theocratic states that oppress women and murder gays.

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