Prime Minister Tony Blair is to be blamed for Britain`s deteriorating relations with Iran, which were sealed at a private meeting with Israel`s Ariel Sharon in July, according to a senior British journalist, IRNA reported from London.
Assistant Guardian editor Simon Tisdall said Thursday the reason for Iran suddenly withdrawing its Ambassador to London Morteza Sarmadi and the high feelings in Tehran does not arise solely from the arrest of former Iranian Ambassador Hadi Soleimanpour in the UK. "The answer is to be found in Tony Blair`s latest, clumsy foray into the delicate and complex world of international diplomacy," Tisdal said.
Tisdall, who is also the Foreign Affairs Leader Writer for the daily, traced a change in British policy to the immediate aftermath of the Iraq war, when the US started to rattle its sabres against Iran.
Back on June 12, the prime minister then let it be known in unattributed remarks conveyed to the Times newspaper that he was "launching a drive to put international pressure on Iran" over its nuclear program.
The British journalist also suggested that the British premier also upped the ante a few days later by echoing Washington`s sympathy for student demonstrations in Tehran and later in linking EU-Iran trade to US and Britain`s nuclear concerns.
"Blair is single-handed and one might say, unilaterally pre-emptive transformation of British policy on Iran seems to have been sealed during a private Downing Street dinner with Israel`s Ariel Sharon in July," he suggested.
Tisdall said that after the meeting, Israeli diplomats had expressed great satisfaction that the British Prime Minister "changed his mind" and now fully shared Israel`s concerns about Iran.
"If all this sounds familiar, it is. As over Iraq, Blair and his Downing Street machine have a habit of taking charge of the big foreign policy issues and arguably, comprehensively fouling them up," he said in a damning article published in the Guardian Tuesday. The assistant editor said that the primary impetus for the Prime Minister`s volte face comes from his "familiar desire to stick close to Bush`s Washington, coupled with his own instinctive, untutored ideas about setting the world to rights."
He argued that the decision to destroy relations with Iran did not come from the Foreign Office or Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, saying that it does "not accord with the national interests." His warning was that it sets Britain on another dangerous collision course by rendering into the dust what had been a "carefully calibrated, long-nurtured policy."
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