A U.S. embassy to sic 'students' on, to distract the attention of Iranian anti-government protesters. If only the ayatollahs didn't shoot their bolt with that strategy 30 years ago. Here are a few tweets from Iranian protesters, courtesy of Andrew Sullivan's Atlantic blog (the photo above is from his blog as well):
- reports of large pro-Gov Baseej militia in front of UK embassy Tehran
- Khamenei indicate in last Friday prayers that Gov relationship with UK will become bad
- we expect that Gov will arrange for demo outside UK embassy to become serious - maybe cut diplomatic ties with UK
- Gov demos outside UK embassy in Tehran today shouting 'death to England' - 'death to BBC'
"Death to England"? "Death to the BBC"? What red-blooded Iranian Islamic revolutionary can get excited about that? Another Iranian Twitterer notes,
- Today is aniversary of raiding of USA embassy in Tehran 1979 - #Iranelection - today Gov planning anti UK demo outside UK embassy!!!!
Somehow, I doubt that stirring up the pot with the U.K. is going to help the Iranian establishment much. At this late date, using the U.K. to stir up revolutionary, anti-Western, or anti-imperialist sentiment sounds as archaic as cries of "Perfidious Albion" -- probably, even to Iranians, who seem especially sensitive about past perceived slights to their national honor. In any case, the U.K. has already started to evacuate the families of its diplomats. What happens if it evacuates its embassy too? What's Khamenei going to do, have his 'students' lay siege to the Canadian embassy? I doubt even the most zealous Islamic revolutionary would get excited about that. Khamenei and Ahmadinejad would be better off hoping that the Stratfor's George Friedman is right, and that the anti-government protesters represent only a vocal minority, with the current Iranian establishment enjoying broader popular support. Time will tell, I guess.