Prompted by the expulsion of two British diplomats from Tehran, Her Majesty’s government today announced it is retaliating by expelling two Iranian diplomats. Wow. Watch European Chancelleries spring into action as they match their strong and courageous rhetoric against Iran’s crackdown of its civilian population with an avalanche of sanctions. Alright, maybe not.
The fact is, the UK should not have waited for the Iranians to kick its diplomats. And all 27 members of the European Union should have coordinated at least a first, symbolic step against repression in Iran by recalling their ambassadors for consultation. But even that was too much to ask. Instead, we are waiting for Iran to concoct dark conspiracies and respond by expelling hapless middle ranking Western diplomats.
As always, our moral outrage at the images that come from a distant corner of the world is shallow and short-lived. Whether the Iranians demonstrating in the streets come out on top is a different story — they’ll have only themselves to thank if they succeed. For the cradle of democracy and human rights is too busy planning for summer or too pusillanimous to come to their rescue.