'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Iranian Students Attack UK Embassy 

One of the students involved made this statement on al-Jazeera:

We are here to close the UK embassy forever as this place is like the US embassy a centre for spying and should be shut down.

Such as statement is overwhelmingly likely to be true, given that the US no longer has an official diplomatic presence in the country. Furthermore, there are interesting reports to the effect that students have seized documents of UK involvement in covert activities inside the country. For example, students are studying documents to determine if the UK was involved in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari.

It is tempting to consider the assault as an action instigated by the Iranian government, but the country's semi-official news agency has characterized the protesters as self-motivated. Plausible deniability, perhaps, but it is worth considering the alternative, that the students, motivated by increasingly aggressive efforts to economically punish Iran in an effort to force the country to abandon its nuclear research program, and, inspired by the confrontational protests in North Africa and the Middle East, most recently in Egypt, planned the assault on their own, independent of the government. The Egyptian assault upon the Israeli embassy in Cairo this summer serves as a model for what transpired today. Government security officers may have learned of it by monitoring social media, but allowed it to go forward, greenlighting it through passivity.

If so, the action is yet another example of how restive populations throughout the region are seizing the initiative, with young people in the forefront. Even the tried and true pronouncements of anti-imperialism by the Iranian regime carries within them the prospect of social unrest, as students insist upon carrying such pronouncements to their logical conclusion. Of course, there is an incessant din of diplomatic condemnations, but they will not drown out revelations of UK covert operations in Iran if the students find evidence of them. If they find UK complicity in the assassination of Shahriari or participation in other operations, such as involvement with Jundallah, an organization known for carrying out suicide bombings inside Iran, then the students will have done the world a great service.

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