The recent attack on the UK embassy in Tehran was met with mixed interpretations: while several experts view it as planned by the Iranian government; others find it not more than a protest by a bunch of angry youths.
The attack was not a spontaneous act by a group of indignant youth, said Ali Nourizadah, head of the London-based Arab Iranian Studies Center.
“This attack was planned by the Iranian authorities,” he told Al Arabiya’s Panorama Tuesday.
Nourizadah explained that the youths who took part in the attack were very few, yet were very well-trained and apparently carrying out a pre-prepared plan.
“The attack is very similar to the one on the American embassy in 1979 following the Islamic Revolution.”
The difference, he added, is that the last attack betrays a division in Iranian authorities especially between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“These divisions are ongoing and there is no way they will be resolved.”
Nourizadah said he expects the UK’s response to the attack to be firm and deterrent.
“I expect several Iranian associations in Britain to be closed and other European countries may follow suit.”
Iranian journalist Amir Moussavi begs to differ, for he sees the attack as an expected response to the latest tension between Iran and the UK.
“There have been several standoffs between Iran and UK, especially as far as the Iranian nuclear program is concerned, and the UK is currently preparing a draft demanding more Security Council resolutions against Iran,” he told Panorama Tuesday.
Moussavi argued that the authorities were against the attack and that this was demonstrated in the official response to the incident.
“The Foreign Ministry issued a statement slamming the attack and fierce clashes took place between the angry youths who stormed the embassy and security forces.”
Moussavi disagreed with Nourizadah about the similarity between this attack and the 1979 one and stressed that they were totally different.
As for Iran’s reaction to the latest unrest, Moussavi said he expects Iran to go ahead with its decision to expel the British ambassador.
“The relation between the two countries has now entered a new phase that is the culmination of years of British escalation against Iran.”
Between this argument and that, Ian Black, Middle East editor at the Guardian adopts a middle stance for he believes that the attack was not directly organized by the state, but was rather incited by it.
The attack, he argued, is a message from Iran to the UK government about the British stance on Iran’s nuclear program.
Black finds it unlikely that the UK will respond by closing down the Iranian embassy in London.
The UK, he explained, is keen on leaving embassies on its soil open. Yet, he added, relations between the two countries are expected to go from bad to worse.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)