Posted by Adam @ 12:06 pm on April 24th 2007

Peter Hitchens, back from Iran

Peter Hitchens, who is an idiosyncratic Tory, has recently returned from Iran, and has written this story about his time there, which I imagine has been linked in many places by now (I have seen it linked by Iain Dale and also by Andrew Stuttaford at the Corner; had I two heads, I would have two hats to tip).

The article is long but, a rare occurence, not as long as I’d have preferred it to be. Like many people, I have had friends and aquaintances from Iran, and friends who have visited Iran, and other second- or third-hand sources of information about the ‘real Iran’, but I haven’t been there and am unlikely to; I do, thus, very much like to read accounts of what Iran is actually like. Of course, the reasons I have given above as to why this article so interests me also disqualify me from passing any sort of expert judgement on the impressions that Hitchens recounts, or on the representativeness of the anecdotes he relates. It gels with what I have heard from other sources, is the best that I can say.

There are many interesting elements of the story, but I have picked this one to quote, because it expresses a concern I myself have about one of the most serious effects of the botched post-war operations in Iraq:

As one veteran of the Iran-Iraq War had said: ‘If you had come here before the Iraq invasion, lots of us would have said, ‘Please, come and invade us, come and save us.’ America was the most popular country in Iran then. But we have seen what liberation has brought to Iraq and Afghanistan, and if you came now we would certainly fight, not like the Iraqis, but from the very start.’

As I mulled over yesterday, such benefits as are planned to be delivered down the barrel of a gun needs be considered from the perspective of the recipients, rather than those planning to deliver them. An Iran relatively united against us would be a high price to pay for taking any sort of overt military action against Iran.

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