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Why Ahmadinejad canceled UN appearance?

Posted By Ahmed Abdullah

The recent arrest of 15 British sailors in contested Persian Gulf waters by Iran and its persistence not to release them might indeed fuel the already heated tension in the region, as well as the international standoff over Iranís nuclear program.

Analysts say that Iranís strong rejection of calls to free the British sailors, which is its legitimate right, is telling the world in an indirect way that the Islamic Republic is not willing and will never be forced to submit to foreign pressure to give in any of its legitimate rights, whether detaining the British sailors who entered its water illegally, or giving up its right, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue peaceful nuclear technology.

Even former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, admitted that itís Iranís legal right to arrest those 15 sailors.

"In international law the Iranian government was not out of order in detaining foreign military personnel in waters to which they have a legitimate claim," Murray said. 

"For the Royal Navy, to be interdicting shipping within the twelve mile limit of territorial seas in a region they know full well is subject to maritime boundary dispute, is unnecessarily provocative."

Some political analysts drew a link between the Iranian leaderís decision to cancel his appearance before the UN Security Council and the arrest of the Brits, which took place a day before the Council members convened to decide on whether to impose further sanctions on Tehran.

Nejadís decision could be due to excessive caution on the part of the Iranian President, according to Israel's Haaretz, especially if we bore in mind the capture of Ali Askari, the former head of the Al-Quds Brigade, the elite unit of the Revolutionary Guard in Turkey. Askari is believed to have been kidnapped by Western agents, or at least thatís the explanation the Iranians provided the media with.

Some experts suggest that Iranís arrest of those sailors was preplanned following the capture of Iranian intelligent agents by the U.S. occupation forces in Iraq a few weeks ago. Their theory is that retaliating the kidnapping of Iranian agents through the abduction of American troops would have dragged Iran into much troubles especially at such time of high tension, so Iran viewed the British as 'soft' target, and a good way of telling the world that any attack on its soil by Americans or Israelis would prompt severe response from the Iranian side.

But the more logical explanation provided for the incident involving the British sailors is that itís more than a simple ďmisunderstandingĒ. Hopes that the dispute will be solved without resulting in any deterioration in the already troubled ties between the Islamic Republic and the West, or UK in particular, have vanished, specially after UK, joined by a chorus of European states and the U.S. voted for the recently announced UN resolution imposing further sanctions on Iran, which might have been predicted by the Iranian leader after the arrest of the Brits and thus he found that his appearance before the Security Council would be fruitless.

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