Friday, January 12, 2007

Provoking Iran

US troops have raided the Iranian consulate in the Iraqi town of Irbil, arresting five members of the consular staff, and seizing documents and computers. This is both a deliberate provocation, and a serious violation of international law. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations provides that, among other things:

  • "Consular premises shall be inviolable" (art 31.1);
  • "The authorities of the receiving State shall not enter that part of the consular premises which is used exclusively for the purpose of the work of the consular post except with the consent of the head of the consular post or of his designee or of the head of the diplomatic mission of the sending State" (Art 31.2);
  • "The consular archives and documents shall be inviolable at all times and wherever they may be." (Art 33); and
  • "Consular officers shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority" (Art 41.1)

The seriousness of this cannot be understated - attacks on diplomatic and consular premises have traditionally been regarded as casus bellum. When mobs stormed the Danish embassies in Beirut and Damascus last year, the US screamed bloody murder over the violation. And when Iranian students stormed the US embassy during the Iranian Revolution, they called it a "declaration of war on diplomacy itself". Now they've pissed all over the very laws they have sheltered behind in the past (and will no doubt try and shelter behind in the future). But then, isn't that contemporary American foreign policy in a nutshell?


Just a technical question but did the building really have diplomatic status? if it doesn't your in danger of blowing a non story into a story. Since iran might term any building of iranians an iranian consulate.

If not then this is just another building raid. Wounds like a pretty technical question which would related to what authorities they had etc etc.

However if it was I agree this is worrying.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/12/2007 08:08:00 AM

The article says "Iranian and Iraqi officials said the building was an Iranian consulate", so it's not just Iranian hot air.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 1/12/2007 09:20:00 AM

And it says "However, Tehran said the attack violated all international conventions."

SO maybe there's some hot air.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 1/12/2007 09:23:00 AM

CMT: More importantly, the Kurds did too, and reportedly even tried to stop the US taking the diplomats away. They may not be internationally recognised, but they know what their responsibilities are.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/12/2007 11:41:00 AM

If you want something else to be worried about, go read this leftie moonbat islamo-femi-comsymp-nazi retired aircraft carrier commander...

Posted by Anonymous : 1/12/2007 12:07:00 PM

And just to quote the other side from the article ...

"The US military said it was still investigating, but that the building did not have diplomatic status.

"The troops raided the building at about 0300 (0001GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to local media.

"AFP news agency quoted Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman as saying he did not know the nationality of the six but said they were "suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces".

" 'I can confirm for you through our forces there that this is not a consulate or a government building,' he said. "

Posted by Anonymous : 1/12/2007 01:04:00 PM

'I can confirm for you through our forces there that this is not a consulate or a government building,' he said. "

Is this the same word 'confirm' as in 'confirm we have found chemical weapons'?

Posted by Anonymous : 1/12/2007 10:17:00 PM

Juna Cole's latest piece in Salon says this

"Then Thursday came a U.S. raid on an Iranian consulate in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Irbil. By the end of the day, rumors of war with Iran had spread to normally cautious corners of the Internet. The Washington Note wondered aloud if Bush had issued an executive order to commence military action against Iran and Syria. Was the raid a deliberate provocation and the preface to war?

An eyewitness report briefly posted in Arabic to the Web site of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan reported that two U.S. helicopters hovered near the building for a quarter of an hour early Thursday morning, then dropped off several soldiers. They approached the consulate and used megaphones to demand that those within surrender. They then tossed stun grenades inside before attacking it and detaining five persons within, three of whom were Iranians. The U.S. soldiers confiscated computers and records from the building. According to the Associated Press, U.S. troops also hurried to the Irbil airport in hopes of detaining persons suspected of trying to flee the country.

The Iranian mission's application to the Kurdistan Regional Government to be recognized as a consulate is still in process, but it would be sophistry to argue, as the U.S. has done, that its status as a diplomatic mission is questionable. American forces did, indeed, raid an Iranian government installation."

Posted by Anonymous : 1/13/2007 02:03:00 PM

Perhaps you don't recall the Iranian storming of the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979, followed by the illegal imprisonment of its occupants for 444 days? The Iranians are hardly in a moral position to protest this.


Posted by Anonymous : 1/14/2007 07:05:00 PM

Of course, following this latest outrage, the Americans no longer have any moral superiority in this matter...

Posted by Anonymous : 1/14/2007 09:42:00 PM

Iran is a pusillanimous nation. The Iranian people are nothing cowards and weaklings. Soon Iran will be wiped off of the map by the powerful forces of Europe and the USA. The Iranian president is a scared, weak, cowardly, dung-eating moron. The Iranian people will deeply regret the error of capturing soldiers from England. They will very soon see the error of their ways.
ايران دولة الأمة الجبناء. الشعب الايراني ليس الضعفاء والجبناء. قريبا ايران ان تمحى من الخريطه من قوى من اوروبا والولايات المتحدة. الرئيس الايراني هو خائف ، وضعف الجبناء ، والروث الاكل البليد. الشعب الايرانى سوف نأسف بشدة لهذا الخطأ من اسر جنود من انكلترا. وقريبا جدا سوف نرى خطأ هذا التوجه.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/28/2007 07:03:00 PM