Now, let me recover my good humour and do a small round-up of recent news. First off the Sunday Telegraph, which I do not read but to which I was directed by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. The title of the article is clear enough: "Buoyant Tehran warns of further kidnappings". No, really? How frightfully unexpected.
Amidst all the sabre-rattling (there is no explanation as to whom they intend to kidnap and of what nationality), the British civil service comes through:
However, a British Government official familiar with the negotiations said that while the abductions had provided Ahmadinejad with a platform from which to humiliate the West, such behaviour would have undermined Iran's ambitions for its nuclear programme. Countries which might otherwise have supported Iran would now be questioning whether a regime that took hostages could be trusted with sensitive nuclear technology.Oh good. We are so delighted.
Mind you, it is not quite what the news is on Al-Jazeera, which says:
Iran has begun producing nuclear fuel on "an industrial scale", the president announced during a speech to mark the first anniversary of the country's enrichment of uranium.Well, I guess Ahmadinejad may be lying or exaggerating. That is not impossible. Nor is it impossible that all other statements on the subject are lies and exaggerations as well:
Ahmadinejad's speech confirmed an announcement by the head of the country's atomic energy organisation, who alo said that Iran had started mass-producing the centrifuges needed for the enrichment of uranium.At the very least, however, the British civil servants who have made this country what it is, should be a little careful with their boastful pronouncements.
"Today, with the start of mass-producing centrifuges and the start of uranium enrichment on an industrial phase, another step was taken for the flourishing of the Islamic republic," Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said.
Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, told reporters that 3,000 centrifuges were being used to enrich uranium at the facility.
Another item from Al-Jazeera, confirms what we have already suspected. Daniele Mastrogiacomo's Afghan translator has been murdered by his kidnappers because President Karzai has put a stop to any further exchanges with Taliban prisoners.
No news yet on the two French aid workers, their three Afghani staff or the five Afghani health officials.
Meanwhile, Iran has released more videos of the "frightened fifteen", which purport to show that they were having a very jolly time, indeed. Of course, it is never possible to tell what goes on behind the camera, the pictures do sound staged and it is a natural instinct to make the best of any situation, but, surely, here is another reason why there should be a Board of Inquiry held: the sailors and marines say that those earlier videos were propaganda produced through psychological pressure but the Iranian government says nothing of the kind but the press conference is propaganda. Let the truth be established in such a way that the world can see it.
Meanwhile, all we know is that the BBC has decided not to commission a play about Johnson Beharry VC and his heroism because, it seems, that it might just be a tad too positive and might antagonize members of the audience who oppose the war in Iraq. My guess is that it is not those nice middle-class audience in Islington or wherever that they are afraid of but one cannot be sure, of course. May one point out that in a country that is finding it difficult to define its national identity, where there are serious problems with some members of various ethnic minority communities a play about one such young man fighting courageously, doing his duty and much beyond it, and receiving the highest honour available, might just be a useful tool. Especially, if it is then followed by a programme about the Empire and Commonwealth soldiers of all Britain's twentieth century wars.