Saturday, October 29, 2005

Did someone say "wiped off the map"?

Well, at least it looks like the Iranian Foreign Ministry is trying to soften the blow after their President's call for Isreal's er, non-existence.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to its U.N. charter commitments. It has never used force against a second country or threatened the use of force," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday...

While not specifically refuting the president, the Foreign Ministry said Tehran had no intention of launching an assault on the Jewish state and would back whatever course the Palestinians chose to resolve the Middle East conflict.

Perhaps it was determined that President Ahmadinejad’s original remarks were ill-considered, given how forcefully they undermine the Iranian position on their nuclear ambitions - that they are only for peaceful purposes. After all, it seems to defy logic that raising the tension in the region - so incredibly volatile right now - could work in Iran’s favour.

We have to wonder what Iran is after, and where they’re going with this super-heated rhetoric and subsequent step back. Does this point to divisions within the government between hawks and doves? Are there some who see this as a chance to make a big move, geo-politically? Blair’s alarm is not entirely out of place. But he’s in a difficult position because he has blown his country’s moral capital with the Iraqi fiasco, and he’s got an historical stake in Israel - an ally the UK cannot abandon.

How else is the rest of the world supposed to take this, but seriously? May cooler heads prevail on all sides.

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Update [Oct. 30, 4:00 p.m.]: Peter Beaumont from the Observer provides some excellent analysis on the matter. Check it out.

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