Iran vs. Argentina Asia Times

by Nathan Hamm on 8/26/2003

Iran vs. Argentina
Asia Times has more info
on the Soleymanpour arrest in Britain. The three most important
nuggets:
The Argentine executive branch is kind of wussy (but, in its defense,
Iran buys a lot of food from them and they need money really bad).

Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister Carlos Ruckhauf, for
his part, summoned Iranian charge d’affaires Mohammed Ali Tabataba’i,
explaining that the Argentine government was not involved in the arrest
request, a case, he said, that was being investigated by a judge and
not the government. “We hope that Iran understands that,” he told the
Iranian diplomat.

Former Argentine President Menem (a Syrian for what it’s worth) may
have been on the take from Iran to abandon charges related to the
bombing, and we should applaud President Nestor Kirshner for reopening
the case.
The case may have important implications for the clerics:

Mas’oud Behnood, a veteran Iranian journalist who lives in
London, says the new crisis in Iran’s relations with Britain and
Argentine also has ramifications inside the clerical leadership, adding
more strains on the ongoing feud between the ruling conservatives and
the reformers.
In fact, while the press controlled by the conservatives, such as the
daily Keyhan, one of the mouthpieces of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, calls
on the authorities to be harder with London by expelling the British
ambassador from Tehran, the pro-reform newspapers on the other hand
insist that the arrest of Soleymanpour shows that the policy of the
hardliners in seeking detente with the outside world coupled with
crackdowns inside the country has failed.

There is also speculation that Soleymanpour, who had an opportunity to
flee to Iran after the arrest order was issued, stuck around because he
has decided to defect and apply for asylum in Europe due to the
deteriorating situation in his home country. Maybe the Iranians are
furious because they really want him back. If he is connected to
Lebanese Hezbollah as I mentioned previously, he could know
many-a-thing that we would be interested in.


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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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