Monday, April 23, 2007

Iranian Clemency

It can be a heartwarming thing to hear tales of forgiveness and new beginnings. It can be. But not in this case: Iran Exonerates Six Who Killed in Islam’s Name

TEHRAN, April 18 — The Iranian Supreme Court has overturned the murder convictions of six members of a prestigious state militia who killed five people they considered “morally corrupt.”

The reversal, in an infamous five-year-old case from Kerman, in central Iran, has produced anger and controversy, with lawyers calling it corrupt and newspapers giving it prominence.

According to the Supreme Court’s earlier decision, the killers, who are members of the Basiji Force, volunteer vigilantes favored by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, considered their victims morally corrupt and, according to Islamic teachings and Iran’s Islamic penal code, their blood could therefore be shed.

Hot Air also reports that: Thousands of Iraqi Shiites training for war in Iranian camp

But the sun may be setting on Iran (and Ahmadinejad's) brief tenure as reigning self-anointed speaker for the under-appreciated, misunderstood semi-failed states; theocracies and socialist pariahs one and all: The Iranian Parliament vs. Ahmadinejad, Round Two

Worse for the demonizing Iranian Mullahs, the US urges Iran to join Iraq talks. Look at who is trying to promote a multilateral effort in the region? Fancy that. Lastly, to add insult to injury, an olive branch from the dreaded... <gasp> Jews! - Israeli Prime Minister Olmert Says Nuclear Standoff With Iran Can Still Be Ended Peacefully.

The west should have put the Iranians on the defensive about their bellicose posturing in this way a long time ago. Amid placating offers for consultation and somewhat conciliatory words, how will Iran respond?

No doubt, the mullahs will seek a way to sharpen the exchange and promote further instability. Iran thrives in the region while instability reigns; it provides more cover, and keeps its enemies busy. However, once Ahmadinejad is forced to the table - can he sit still and play nice?

It is unlikely that he will come to negotiate himself. However, it should be noted that the U.S. (and the dreaded Israelis) are opening a dialogue - albeit, not to be confused with diplomatic recognition. Regardless - the Iranians will parley - and if and when they fail, pull out, or sabotage talks - the world will excuse them.

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