Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Hosseini has to be the front-runner for this year’s award for keeping a straight face while dishing out high-octane hypocrisy.
Iranian diplomats have been accused of meddling in Iraq, funneling money and weapons to Shiite militias that then attack their Sunni neighbors and U.S. troops, and this has irritated some people, including us. Over the weekend, gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms and carrying Iraqi military IDs kidnapped the second secretary of the Iranian Embassy in downtown Baghdad.
Hosseini denounced this “violation of international law” and declaimed:
“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers it a responsibility of U.S. forces in Iraq to protect members of the diplomatic community, including Iranian diplomats, and will hold them responsible for obtaining the release of the abducted Iranian diplomat.”
Gee, lawless elements take a diplomat hostage. Where has that happened before?
Last month, U.S troops raided an Iranian government office in the Kurdish town of Ibril and took into custody five Iranians, who claimed to be consular officials, on suspicion of aiding the insurgents. Two other diplomats were detained a month earlier.
“This is a provocative action by the United States and is against all international laws and regulations,” said Hosseini, showing a respect for international law and regulation.
And there was more. The Americans, he said, “should immediately release the five Iranians and pay compensation for the damage they caused to our office in Ibril.”
Immediate release? Compensation?
Iran is a very young country, and 1979 may seem a long time ago, but surely Hosseini knows enough modern Iranian history to be aware that the government whose mouthpiece he is took 52 Americans, most of them accredited diplomats, hostage that year and held them for 444 days. It was the grossest, most flagrant abuse of international law, treaty and regulation regarding the inviolacy of diplomats and embassies in modern times. Iran has yet to apologize let alone pay compensation for the hostages and its confiscation of the embassy.
We can only hope that sometime when he is mouthing these pieties he cracks up.