Emails & Letters
The view from Geneva
There are few world leaders that are not expressing concern over the possibility of an Iran on the march but The Middle East editor, Pat Lancaster, seems surprisingly cool at the prospect. I wonder if Ms Lancaster knows something none of the rest of us do?
I lived and worked in the Gulf region for many years before relocating to Europe and can only say that developments in the Islamic Republic have been striking fear into the hearts of their near neighbours for more than three decades in one way or another. Former colleagues and friends still employed within the Gulf Cooperation Council countries tell me categorically that feelings have never run higher than they do at present. Does Ms Lancaster believe these states should simply roll over and submit themselves to rule from Tehran?
A.K. Penrose Geneva, Switzerland
Pat Lancaster replies: I am not a supporter of the ruling regime in Iran, nor have I ever been. I think the country’s human rights record is appalling and I have never been afraid to speak out against the terror and torture perpetrated by the regime. I am, however, against the recent gung ho behaviour of certain states who appear to be willing to bypass negotiations and get stuck straight into conflict. In recent years we have seen all too well the effects of war across the globe. In the case of Iraq, we must live with the fact that there was no good reason for the murder and mayhem – there were no weapons of mass destruction. I urge only caution. Any attack on Iran would have an immediate impact on the countries of the GCC region, which is possibly why they continue to work with quiet, diligent diplomacy. It is those beyond the periphery of the threat who are making the most noise.
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4 The Middle East March 2012