Suits You Ahmadinejad – Why Iran Frees British Sailors
But free they are. And the 15 Royal Navy personal are not coming home empty handed. “I went to Iran and all I got was this lousy suit,” says the Sun’s front page.
There is a picture of the freed wearing the entire range of Moss Bros’s Tehran outlet. The Sun says these suits are “dodgy”.
Allied-Axis Of Evil Games
But put a caption of a different sort beneath the picture and you have a shot of the UK’s yachting team return home after a triumphant performance in the inaugural Allied-Axis Of Evil Games.
It’s good cheer and a yo-ho-ho all round as one British sailor shakes the hand of no less a figure than Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.
“Have you enjoyed your mandatory vacation?” asks the President, smiling broadly. Ahmadinejad, wearing a light beige suit of a cut and style not dissimilar to the British team’s, is ever the joker.
And he likes to talk. And talk. In what the Times calls a “bizarre” scenes of “political and sartorial theatre”, Ahmadinejad speaks.
A Good Egg
Says he: “On the occasion of the birthday of the great Prophet and for the occasion of the passing of Christ, I say the Islamic Republic government and the Iranian people forgave those 15.” Hurrah! “This pardon is a gift for the British people.”
We’d rather have had a huge Easter Egg, perhaps with a toy nuclear warhead secreted within. But 15 sailors and 15 new suits of clothes will do us fine. The shoes would have been nice – the sailors seem to be wearing their own black boots – but one step at a time.
Operator Mechanic Nathan Summer is delighted. “We appreciate it,” he says in typically modest terms. “Your people have been really kind to us, and we appreciate it very much. We are grateful for your forgiveness.”
Says Ahmadinejad: “Take this parcel and when you meet your Prime Minister press the button marked ‘Greetings From Iran’.”
No, not really. Says Mr Ahmadinejad, supplier of suits to the military and other fancy goods: “You are welcome.”
And well done operator summer for not grandstanding, for not patting Mr Ahmadinejad on the top of his head, ruffling his hair or grabbing him in a warm headlock.
“ALL THAT MATTERS IS HOME,” says Andy McNab, the former SAS hero turned Sun columnist.
For sure. But the Times’ Bronwen Maddox wonders why? She notes the absence of a formal deal. And notes the overarching question: “What did Iran actually want?”We may never know. It may have been a show of machismo that went too far.But Maddox thinks we have learned three things about Iran:
1. Iran does not want to “picks a fight with the West”
2. The Iranian regime is “deeply confused and conflicted”
3. Ahmadinejad likes to look tough and magnanimous
Conclusion: Iran wanted “respect and a recognition of its power”.
But the analysis can wait. “FREEDOM!” cries the Mail’s front page. “Huge relief as our sailors head home.”
And it has questions: “Were they in Iranian waters? What deals were done? And has this been a diplomatic triumph for Blair or a humiliation for Britain?”
And can you get the money back on those suits?