The true face of Iran
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s surprise announcement on Wednesday that the British military personnel detained for entering Iranian waters were to be freed was met by a round of applause by correspondents attending the press conference.
The move was another example of the civilized attitude of the Iranian people, which is acknowledged by friends and foes alike and has its roots in ancient Iran. The president called the decision to free the sailors and marines “a gift from the Iranian people to the British people.”
Iranian armed forces arrested the 15 British marines and sailors on March 23 after they illegally entered Iran’s territorial waters in the northern Persian Gulf.
The release of the British sailors through quiet diplomacy provides a "compelling lesson on how to deal with the wider international standoff between the U.S. and Iran," according to Professor Abbas Edalat.
The professor at London's prestigious Imperial College said the unexpectedly early resolution following their arrest in the Persian Gulf was the "direct result of Iran's goodwill and a U-turn by the British government."
"After initially using language of threat and seeking to add an unnecessary international dimension to the dispute, it eventually opted for direct negotiations with Iran based on mutual respect," he said in an article for the Guardian newspaper on Friday.
Ahmadinejad’s brief conversation with the sailors and marines was a demonstration of his “doctrine of kindness toward all human beings” in action.
But after they got home, perhaps due to pressure, the British troops were ungrateful, despite the fact that they were treated well in Iran and eventually freed.
The president also asked the Tony Blair government to refrain from punishing the troops for admitting they illegally entered Iran’s waters in the Persian Gulf.
The true face of Iran
As a result of this move, which won international praise, the ill-intentioned efforts of certain biased Western officials and media outlets to demonize the Iranian president came to naught.
Yet, these Western officials and media outlets have refused to give Iran credit for the humanitarian act and even launched a totally absurd propaganda campaign against the Islamic Republic after four British soldiers were killed in southern Iraq, with some officials saying Iran put psychological pressure on the detained troops and Prime Minister Tony Blair, instead of thanking Iran, again repeating his claim that Iran is supporting elements that are attacking U.S.-UK coalition forces in Iraq.
Unfortunately, the true face of Iran is still being hidden from the world, with media outlets disseminating biased and unrealistic stories about Iran, distorting Tehran’s call for a lasting peace with justice to resolve the decades-long Middle East conflict and insisting that it is unyielding in its demand that its inalienable nuclear rights be recognized.
But one day the world will see the true image of Iran.