David Miliband Comments on Legacy of Foreign Intervention in Iran


milibank british flag twn.jpgI really, really hope that after the Brits go through their upcoming Tory phase that they are smart enough to make British Foreign Secretary David Miliband their ‘next next prime minister’.
On Miliband’s blog today, he comments on Iran and asks whether “we” should all be doing something more to support those in Iran’s streets who are protesting election fraud.
Miliband writes:

People ask whether or not we are doing enough to back Mousavi supporters. Fair question – Senator John Kerry also addressed this issue in a typically eloquent piece today.
The fact is that those on the streets have not asked for us to be their spokesmen. We need to stand for our deeply held commitment that it is for the Iranian people to decide on their government, and we will continue to call for peaceful respect for media and protestors. The fact is that many Iranians have severe doubts about the outcome announced on Friday. They deserve to have their doubts addressed.
These are fine lines but we know the cost of crossing them. The memory of foreign intervention throughout their history is deep within all Iranians. A proud people wants to decide its own future. We should defend that.

Perfect statement. We need to be respectful of the Iranian society’s struggle over its own national soul.
I also want to post a short clip from an exchange that David Miliband had on Channel 4 in London with correspondent Jon Snow yesterday:

Jon Snow: Well I, this is surely a very difficult point because what, what’s happening in the blogosphere is that people are pleading with the outside world to support them, to, they want to hear you support them for example, that is, in fact, something you can’t do.
David Miliband: No I can, I can very clearly say that we want to see the will of the Iranian people respected. What I, the trap I won’t fall in to, and President Obama’s been clear about this, our Prime Minister has been clear about this, we will not fall in to the trap of allowing anyone to say that Britain or the United States is trying to choose the Government of Iran, that we’re siding with one side or another, one individual or another.
The memory of 1953, the demonisation of Britain and the end of the Mosaddeq Government in 1953 …
Jon Snow: The justified demonisation.
David Miliband: … justified in many ways, the demon, not demonisation but certainly profound mistakes were made in 1953. That is used in Iran to blame any opposition on the US and the UK significantly. Even today many of the demonstrators are being attacked, sometimes in the blogosphere, sometimes officially, as being puppets of foreign powers, as being, having their strings pulled by foreign powers. We are not going to fall in to that trap. We’re going to say very clearly first it’s for the Iranian people to choose their own Government, the will of the people needs to come out.
Secondly we will say very clearly that we deplore the violence and especially the loss of life but we will not end up in a position where anyone can accuse the US or the UK or any Western power of trying to choose the Iranian Government, that’s not our job.

As usual, Miliband gets both the nuances and big issues right.
— Steve Clemons


2 comments on “David Miliband Comments on Legacy of Foreign Intervention in Iran

  1. Ales says:

    Mr. Miliband role in Russia-Georgia conflict was less than stern, though.
    He will continue to faithfully follow USA.


  2. JohnH says:

    A wise man once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”
    Everyone involved in foreign affairs should be required to repeat this every morning when they go to work. It might help counter their addiction to meddling in other peoples’ affairs.
    BTW did Kerry ask the CIA and NED to stand down in Iran? No, of course not, he wants only to give the impression that the US is not meddling.


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