A new year, and another of Jeremy Corbyn’s favourite overseas regimes is wracked by popular discontent. Last it was Venezuela; this time Iran.
This morning’s papers have picked up that the Labour leader has yet to comment directly on the current uprising against the Islamic Republic – with the Times even providing a bullet-pointed breakdown of his long-standing support for the theocratic regime.
Highlights include being paid £20,000 to present shows on Press TV, its now-banned propaganda station, and vice-chairmanship of an all-party parliamentary group which aims “to foster good relations with the parliament and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
At first glance, the mullahs may seem odd objects of Corbyn’s affection. Say what you like about the horrors of Cuba or Venezuela, at least those regimes are putatively socialist. Iran is a theocracy, and a war-mongering one at that.
But much like George Galloway, who infamously cosied up to Saddam Hussein’s Baathist Iraq, Corbyn’s opposition to the West (and, of course, to Israel) seems to have led him to support any opposing power he can find.
The problem facing the Tories is whether they can actually do anything with this latest evidence of the Opposition leader’s abysmal foreign policy views.
As mentioned above, right-wring commentators have not been lax in challenging Corbyn about his previous support for the Chavez regime as the suffering of the Venezuelan people grows ever-more absurdly acute and Nicolás Maduro’s crackdown more brutal. But it can’t be said that this has done him any great deal of damage.
Thus whilst the current unrest may have the potential to wreak big changes in the Middle East, as Iain Martin argues, it’s difficult to see it having much of an impact on the mullahs’ supporters in Britain, absent some game-changer which breaks events in Tehran out of the foreign pages and into popular consciousness.
That makes it all the more important that the Conservatives prevent the current Labour leadership from assuming command of Britain’s actual foreign policy.