UPI Outside View Commentator
PARIS, April 6 (UPI) -- While everyone breathed a sigh of relief over the release of 15 British sailors held captive by the Iranian regime for nearly two weeks, the theatrics played out on television screens during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's news conference in Tehran Wednesday were despicable to say the least.
With all the fuss gone now, a simple question lingers: What was Tehran trying to achieve? The abduction-at-gunpoint was obviously an attempt to counteract the dire impact of a second U.N. Security Council sanction resolution at home, but more importantly intended to boost the morale of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' top brass, which had been shell shocked after being singled out in the U.N. document.
After initial threats of putting the sailors on trial, demanding an admission from the British that the sailors had trespassed Iranian waters, insisting on an apology and hurling stones and firecrackers at the British embassy in Tehran, Ahmadinejad and company realized that the whole thing had become a liability. With international pressure building, they realized they had overplayed their hand and had no choice but to resort to an escapade of a medal ceremony and an invocation of the Prophet of Islam's birthday and Easter during the thug-turned-president 45-minute rambling to hide one essential truth: The mullahs of Iran are weak and fragile, and to keep their grip on power they are gabbing at straws just like a drowning man would.
For anyone watching the news conference, the whole episode, and in particular Ahmadinejad's ugly showmanship, was quite repulsive. Here you had a henchman dubbed as terminator at home, boasting of mercy and forgiveness and seeking to take the moral high ground.