The BBC reports
Dr Ali Pahlavan, the executive editor of Iran News - the only independent paper in Tehran - told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the "ultra conservative" Revolutionary Guard believed that Britain and the US needed to be challenged.
"This could be part of the strategy to challenge British and American supremacy in this part of the world - which is troubling, because this could lead to confrontation and this could be a trigger and could lead to escalation".
Here's a link to an interesting JWR/Political Mavens article by Dr Walid Phares. Phares sees the kidnap as planned as part of what he calls `chess playing' by Iran i.e. an integral component in its strategy to deal with the last few months of effective power by Tony Blair and George Bush.
This contrasts strongly with the BBC journalist's take that it was essentially an impromptu act by the Revolutionary Guard:The capture of British Navy servicemen by Iranian forces is not simply an incident over sea sovereignty in the Persian Gulf. It is a calculated move on behalf of Teheran’s Jihadi chess players to provoke a “projected” counter move by London and its American allies. It is all happening in a regional context, carefully engineered by the Mullahs' strategic planners.
Here is how: The Iranian regime’s master plan is to wait out the remainder of Tony Blair’s mandate (few more months) and the remaining “real time” of President Bush (till about the end of 2007). For the thinking process in Tehran, based on their Western consultants, believe that Washington and London have reached the end of the rope and will only have till 2008 to do something major to destabilize Ahmedinijad regime. As explained by a notorious propagandist on al Jazeera today the move is precisely to respond to the Anglo-American attempt to “stir trouble” inside Iran.
Our correspondent said in part this could be because the personnel were taken by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and the Iranian government as a whole may not yet have developed a unified position on how to proceed.Why am I more inclined to believe the Iranian commentator?