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Why Did Iran Capitulate?

Iran thinks it has achieved a great propaganda coup by 'pardoning' the sailors and giving Tony Blair an Easter gift by returning them to Britain. In the twisted way such things are perceived today, releasing the hostages (calling them 'prisoners' makes a mockery of the situation) has in fact made Iran look reasonable and wonderful to the credulous among us.

Don't believe for a minute that Iran released the hostages from any magnanimous intent. In fact, Iran capitulated by releasing the sailors, and it demonstrates weakness on their part and not strength.

It seems a bit odd, and quite out of character for a regime that held Americans for 444 days to suddenly feel all warm and forgiving when it comes to hostages. Iran fears an attack against its atomic enrichment and research sites, and holding hostages would presumably be something of an insurance policy against such an attack. As the embarrassing inaction and limp response from the British wore on, it should have occurred to the Iranian mullahs that it was possible to drag the crisis out indefinitely, raising the stature of Iran among the Muslim crazies throughout the world, cause confidence to wilt in America's most important ally, and instill fear of growing Persian power among their neighbors in the gulf.

So why did Iran give in?

The only reason that makes any sense is that George W. Bush issued an ultimatum. When you are routinely painted as a bloodthirsty warmonger with nukes who lives for killing Muslims (never mind that he has liberated more Muslims than any Muslim ever has) your ultimatums have a certain credibility. So instead of holding the hostages indefinitely, the Iranians decided to wring what little benefit they could from the situation and opted for a propaganda coup. For once, the Iranians did the wise thing instead of acting upon their usual primitive impulses.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 5 April 2007 01:07 PM


I think at some future date the Iranians are going to pull out the various media articles on this that seem legitimize the Iranian claim to the Shatt al-Arab waterway and say "look, even the American/British/Western media says it belongs to us."

Posted by: Will Franklin at April 5, 2007 06:39 PM

So many red herrings.

First, Iran didn't capitulate.

Second, Bush Junior may have issued an ultimatum to Iran but the entire leadership of Iran probably would have convulsed with giggles.

Posted by: Jadegold at April 5, 2007 06:59 PM

Well, Iran did in fact capitulate.

The sailors were sent home from Tehran, now weren't they. And the Iranians got nothing in return except a little propaganda boost.

And yeah, I am sure Saddam Hussein was 'convulsing in giggles' too before the invasion of Iraq. I don't know why you would think the threat of Bush invading a middle east country would cause convulsive giggles in the Mullahs - after all, he has successfully invaded two such nations already. Perhaps such things cause giggles in the left wing cocoon, but not in the real world.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at April 5, 2007 09:19 PM

The sailors were sent home from Tehran, now weren't they. And the Iranians got nothing in return except a little propaganda boost.


You admit the Iranians got a propaganda boost. What did the Brits get? You can say they got their people back--but isn't that something they already had?

don't know why you would think the threat of Bush invading a middle east country would cause convulsive giggles in the Mullahs - after all, he has successfully invaded two such nations already.

Iraq's a success? Who knew? We're also in the process of losing Afghanistan. And you propose--on top of two quagmires--taking on a much tougher nut in Iran? Yep, the Mullahs are giggling.

Posted by: Jadegold at April 6, 2007 09:24 AM

Ah jadegold, "quagmires." You have revealed yourself, then: An oversimplifying advocate rather than a discusser of issues. I won't feel obligated to respond to you, then.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at April 7, 2007 02:29 PM

Iran did gain a couple things.
1) They got the price of oil to bump up - tho it's curious that the hostage -taking isn't cited as a reason for the bump.
2)They exposed the UK as a paper lion.

Iran certainly showed weaknesss, they are weak, and their economy is very fragile.
A cruise missle could close their gasoline refinery.
A few more could end their electricity production- thus ending their uranium refining.

How much economic upheaval can the mullocracy sustain?

Posted by: Terry_Jim at April 9, 2007 10:35 PM