Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Iran un-phased

Tony Blair has warned Iran that Britain will move to a "different phase" if our sailors release is not forthcoming.

That'll do it, I'm sure. Actually, I'm not sure because I expect the Iranians, like me, are wondering what exactly that "different phase" will be. So far it's been a case of Britain and Iran arguing over what exactly happened and where. As far as negotiations are concerned, this is a very early "direct negotiation phase". Next will come the "EU phase" with, perhaps, EU foreign minister, Javier Solano adding his voice to the call for the captives "early" release.

After the "EU phase" will come the "UN phase". This is where it starts to get complicated as, before the UN actually does anything, Britain will have to make representations calling for a resolution. The resolution will have to be debated and the wording agreed before the UN Security Council vote on it. Then, when it's vetoed by France, Russia and China we'll go through more horse-trading until they can find a wording to agree on - something along the lines of "please release the British sailors or we'll be very, very cross and will talk to you very sternly. No offence."

Eventually the resolution may be passed and then Iran will have to respond - not!

After the "UN phase" we'll be back to the "direct negotiation phase". This is where our foreign secretary - who may not be Margaret Beckett, by then - will insist in the strongest possible diplomatic terms that our men and women are released tout- suite - or we'll be moving to a new phase.

This will be followed by the "behind the scenes phase" where the government will assure us that they haven't been forgotten about and that officials are working around the clock "behind the scenes" to secure their release.

Next comes the "combined phase" where the British government, EU and UN will tell us how they are all working together to obtain the freedom of the British service men and woman. This will be quickly followed by the "no stone unturned phase" and then the "every conceivable means phase".

At some point, our leaders may start to realise that "soft power" needs to be backed up with "hard action" - but I don't believe, as the Telegraph appears to be hinting at, that that is going to be any time soon.

1 comment:

DV said...

Exactly Stan.