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March 30, 2007

Iran TV: London Expert on Gulf UK Sailors Incident

Broadcast 30 March on Iranian state satellite TV (IRINN)

Part 1

Part 2

The subject of this London interview, Dr. Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, was quoted in an article on this topic today in the Los Angeles Times


Announcer Asgharian: The Western media controversy over the illegal trespass and entry of 15 English soldiers into Islamic Republic of Iran's territorial waters in the Arvand River area and their arrest has entered a new phase.

At this time our colleague Mr. Korani in London will study this issue in an interview with Mr. Mojtahedzadeh, senior international affairs expert. Greetings Mr. Korani!

Thank you Mr. Asgharian. I offer greetings to you and the dear viewers. As you said, it appears that the issue of the arrest of 15 English naval personnel in the territorial waters of the Islamic Republic of Iran has become an international political and propaganda uproar that goes beyond what is needed for a legal resolution of the issue. Beyond the efforts the British government is making and what we are able discuss in this area it appears that the British government is more interested in making political use of this issue than in finding a legal resolution.

In any case this issue can be examined and discussed from various perspectives. We have invited Dr. Mojtahedzadeh, a specialist in geopolitical issues who is fully aware of this issue, especially the issue of the Persian Gulf, and has done extensive research on it.

[White title at bottom reads "England's aggressive nature and the policy of fleeing forward"]

Hello and thank you for accepting our invitation Mr. Mojtahedzadeh! In the week since this incident occurred it appears that apart from the principle of the case, which is the arrest of a number of English soldiers who illegally entered Iranian waters, the issue has become very complicated in the context of the British government's propaganda and political commotion. What is your assessment of this situation?

Mojtahedzadeh: It was entirely predictable that such an incident would provide the necessary pretexts for Mr. Tony Blair personally--not so much the British government--to continue the military adventure against Iran, which began some time ago.

However recently the pressure of international public opinion against the war in Iraq has caused both Tony Blair and Mr. Bush to lose morale and control of the debate. In Britain Mr. Tony Blair has even been ridiculed by his own government and his political party!

This created a pretext for Mr. Tony Blair to rise up and put himself in charge again.

Korani: He covered his problems with a new issue!

Mojtahedzadeh: This tells us that we have to be careful not to permit conditions to arise that he will be able to abuse. In other words, we must not respond in kind. We must make the maximum effort to keep this issue from taking on political, international or retaliatory overtones or bringing in inadmissable and unwanted propaganda.

Suppose for example that the lady who was arrested writes a letter to a member of the British Parliament asking that America's army leave Iraq to resolve this issue. This would make the West infer that we are abusing the fact that a woman was one of the ones arrested. We must not permit this!

Korani: In any case comments by one of the 15 people who were arrested ...

Mojtahedzadeh: What I am sauing is that our government must be careful that it is the woman herself who is doing this and not make a political issue out of it.

Korani: Mr. Mojtahedzadeh, here a disagreement has really arisen over the determination of boundaries. The British government claims its forces were in Iraqi waters, but the evidence from the Islamic Republic's maritime border patrols present shows that they were in Iran's territorial waters. Under international law, is it the right of a nation whose waters have been entered to arrest the forces who have trespassed, or not?

Mojtahedzadeh: Without a doubt this is an issue where these international television studios are trying to portray what happened as a natural incident that is bound to happen in situations where the geographic situation is such as what we have seen; they want to say that we ought to restrain ourselves and not politicize what is really a technical issue, and focus instead on the technical side to resolve the problem.

Korani: Of course the other side is trying to politicize the issue!

Mojtahedzadeh: I said that, but we must not permit this exploitation to take place. In any case the issue here is that Mr. Tony Blair personally claimed on television that Iran came into Iraqi waters and arrested these people.

He is lying! I said it that clearly on English television!

Korani: You were interviewed last night on the popular program "News Night" and yesterday you were on the BBC.

Mojtahedzadeh: What Mr. Tony Bliar is saying is not right and it is not correct, because we have no border there at all! There is no border between Iran and Iraq in the area where this incident took place. The only border between Iran and Iraq that is near this area is the Shatt al-Arab border, which is a river that exists between Iran and Iraq, but this border ends at the end of this river. In the sea, Iraq has no border with us or with Kuwait.

Korani: These are really Iranian waters!

Mojtahedzadeh: This is a very complicated question here. It is very complicated technically. If we consider the boundary of the Shatt al-Arab Waterway we will have one kind of boundary there, and if we consider the old boundaries that Iraq claims we will have a different boundarty.

In other words, one part of the waters in this region is completely confused and complicated, and anything could happen here. Whatever happens is not necessarily political. It could be innocent and technical. It is possible that we made a mistake and it is possible that they made a mistake, but what I can say to you for sure with the knowledge I have of this region is that Britain made a mistake!

In my view it is a mistake and nothing was intended, because the chance of a mistake being made there is extraordinarily high! In other words the likelihood is 99 percent.

Korani: The British forces made a mistake.

Mojtahedzadeh: There are international regulations here. Those regulations tell us that if someone comes into our territory by mistake we must arrest them, talk with them and determine if they came intentionally or by mistake to solve the problem.

Korani: Mr. Mojtahedzadeh, this also happened in 2004, when 7 or 8 British sailors came into Iranian territory and in accordance with international regulations Iran arrested them. They were released after 3 or 4 days and the problem was solved with an apology from the British government and an admission that its forces had made a mistake.

Why is it that at that time the British government was willing to apologize and admit its mistake but this time they are complicating the issue and creating a media war like this?

Mojtahedzadeh: There is a profound political problem now between Iran and the West. The West, led by Bush and Blair, wants to impose a war on Iran. The world is not permitting them to do this and they are looking for a pretext. Three or 4 years ago such an atmosphere did not exist! Today this atmosphere exists.

This is why both sides must make the maximum effort to prevent the issue being politicized. The British government not only is not making this effort, but as I said on television it is exactly the opposite.

Yesterday morning the government of Iran announced that if Britain admits this mistake was made and that they came into Iranian waters, that would solve the problem and these individuals would be released.

Korani: That was a rational response.

Mojtahedzadeh: Indeed, truly. But how did Blair respond? He went to the UN and created this big uproar. Of course it ended up hurting him because the UN did not issue the statement he wanted and instead said a mistake was probably made and this problem could be corrected.

As you see, and you put it very well, these are very difficult conditions. Politically these conditions are very delicate. Both sides must pay careful attention! They must make an effort to prevent this issue from becoming the pretext that many other people want.

John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN, whose hatred for Iran is well known and who is known to be a warmonger and one of those neoconservatives who want war with Iran, has been asking on British television since yesterday why Britain doesn't retaliate or take harsher measures.

I reminded the British government yesterday on Scottish television that John Bolton is the last person the British government ought to be listening to. He came here especially to take advantage of the confusion.

Korani: Apart from the positions of the British government, the British media and a lot of the Western media are exacerbating this problem. What is their real goal? What's behind this?

Mojtahedzadeh: You should also realize that all of the British media also want to broadcast what I am saying. They themselves said what I am saying is logical. They said sir, this is an accident and an accident must be resolved technically. This commotion not only will not solve the problem, it will make it worse.

Korani: We really have to say that even the British media are exacerbating the commotion the British government has created, and some analysts are even saying that the British government ought not to be influenced by the media.

Mojtahedzadeh: This is what I'm saying too and I repeat that Bolton is constantly beating the war drums. As far as we are concerned, we must try not to give them any excuses.

Korani: Thank you very much Mr. Mojtahedzadeh and good luck! Dear viewers, we also thank you. In the future we will have more interviews and reports with personalities and political analysts who can judge this issue impartially and provide the latest information and a reaction to the British media.

Thank you Mr. Asgharian and goodbye.

Crossposted to Satellite News

Posted by John at March 30, 2007 11:11 PM

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