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Britain as new Great Satan = Iran wants detente? 23, June 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran, UK.
Tags: , , , ,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denounced Britain as a meddling, evil power to the extent that maybe – just maybe – we might have taken over America as the Great Satan. Whilst I would be thrilled for the UK to beat America at anything, I wonder what this means more strategically.

First, I suppose that it is more difficult to castigate America as evil now that Obama is being so manifestly open to dialogue and generally genial.

Second, obviously, the powers that be in Iran need some foreign power to blame. It makes historical sense that the UK would be next in the kicking line.

Third, does this, therefore, mean that Iran has some kind of longer-term detente stratagy with America? I honestly think that it might do. I can’t see them performing elections again or giving in in other substantive ways, though who’s to say what can happen in such a volatile situation? This leads me to suggest that the conservative few in Tehran are thinking a few moves ahead. Once this election fiasco has calmed down then, ceteris paribus, America might well seek to tentatively get back on track with their detente with Iran. This, therefore, seems to me to be Iran’s first gesture towards taking part in this detente as a way to appease the vocal liberal swathe of their population.


1. David - 24, June 2009

No – Britain has ALWAYS been enemy number one in Iran, above America and Israel. This is just a pavlovian reaction from the Iranian regime.

An interesting article –


“Many Iranians ascribe to the British a combination of Machiavellian cunning, Metternichian realism and mystical omniscience. Far from being America’s servant, Britain is often credited with duping the Americans and getting them to do its bidding. (Recent evidence includes the division of labour in
occupied Iraq, where Britain assigned itself the relatively quiet south, leaving America to deal with the much tougher Sunni heartland.)”

2. “Tehran’s targeting of UK may indicate willingness to engage US” « Iran in the World - 25, June 2009

[…] the US should the election controversy subside and the US remain willing to engage diplomatically (Gulf Blog). Scott Peterson cites an unnamed analyst who argues that while President Ahmadinejad is […]

3. Britain as old Great Satan « The Gulf blog - 25, June 2009

[…] Empire, Great Satan, Iran, Iran elections, Obama trackback Just a quick thought on my earlier article on Britain as the New Great Satan. I’ve spoken to a few people about this and had some […]

4. Anthony Burns - 8, July 2009

Given that the nuclear development policy affords Iran little ground for compromise or meaningful relations with the UK or US, no doubt it makes a grim sense to forget about civil relations (which have only ever been superficial in any case) and instead go for the propaganda value of denouncing and humiliating the former oppressive power as a nation of Satanic machiavellian moustache-twirlers … or something along those general lines. Iran is far from being a pariah in the world, and the friendship (or at least surface civility) of the US and / or the UK is not as valuable a thing as it once was in international circles.

Practical considerations aside, there is also no doubt much genuine loathing of the British within the Iranian establishment as well as the general populace, and for considerable historical reasons. At any rate, speaking as a British person / villain, Iran is off my list of friendly places to visit for the foreseeable future.

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