Friday, 20 August 2010

Disappearing Iran

Looking at the newly published Lib Dem Conference Fringe Directory, I see a lot of fringe meetings about Israel/Palestine. And, since I'm involved in organising one of those meetings, I can hardly complain about that. So, yes, clearly, there's lots to say about that aspect of the Middle East, so on we go. But when you search the directory for "Iran", not a single reference comes up. Lots of meetings about Israel, not one about Iran. Now, I know that the Coalition Government, including the Lib Dem Ministers, absolutely gets the importance of Iran as an issue and I applaud that wholeheartedly. But Iran's non-appearance in the directory suggests that a lot of grassroots party members simply do not realise that the challenge posed by Iran's regional ambitions is one of the biggest policy issues facing the international community in the Middle East. And that is really quite shocking. This typically astringent piece by Christopher Hitchens sets out the reasons why Iran should not be ignored by anyone debating foreign policy at present.