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From Burning the Embassy to Arresting Sailors - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Although most of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s prattle is not worth thinking about, this time he has hit the nail on the head. Commenting on Iran taking 10 US marines into custody, he asked whether Iran would dare to do the same if the naval crafts were Russian.

It is very clear that the Iranian leadership deliberately detained, humiliated and denounced them before their release, confident that it was an adventure with mild consequences. This is because it is not uncommon for ships to enter territorial waters in error and then get directed out of them.

Not only were those on the two boats arrested, they were also photographed and their images were circulated quickly and widely by Iranian official propaganda systems. The images showed the ten sailors surrendering and raising their hands above their heads. They were exploited and interrogated by the Iranian media and forced to say that they entered Iranian waters accidentally and that they were sorry for their actions.

It is difficult to believe that the Iranian leadership did not know about the incident until afterwards and that they then intervened to release the sailors. The anger at Iran launching a missile close to an American aircraft carrier three weeks ago is echoing in Congress and the American media. It is natural that Iranian naval decisions such as detaining vessels or arresting American soldiers are subject to top political decision makers due to the seriousness of tension in the waters of the Gulf. It is important to look at the series of acts committed by Iran in a short period of time, and it is predicted that this bad behaviour will not change. Despite Iran being a few days away from having economic sanctions lifted and handing over $50 billion as part of the nuclear deal, Iran has surprised the world by testing a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead which is considered a breach of the agreement by the United Nations. The burning of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad is another serious international offence. Its navy also fired a missile close to the US aircraft carrier in international waters three weeks ago and then arrested US sailors. All of this confirms that the nature of the Iranian regime will never change even if the president seems sincere when he expresses his government’s desire to open up.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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