In a sly move designed to put even more pressure on a vacillating German government, Iranâ€™s chief negotiator on nuclear policy, Ali Larijani, feigned sickness before the start of a two-day security conference being held in Munich this weekend in order to hoodwink Berlin out of half a dozen Berlinale â€œVIPâ€ tickets for his cousin Behboudâ€™s wifeâ€™s oncleâ€™s daughters.
Once the ticket handover had been confirmed by Iranian operatives working under the cover of the Sony Center‘s massive, umbrella-like roof, Larijani told reporters that he â€œwas feeling much better nowâ€ andÂ would be able to attend the conference after all and hold his big important speech on â€œSecurity in the Middle Eastâ€Â as originally planned. Whew, that was a close one. We certainly wouldnâ€™t have wanted to miss that.
The annual conference of 250 policy experts from 40 nations including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, would have been a rather drab affaire without the fun-loving, laugh-a-minute Larijani, who has â€œalways got something up his sleeve,â€ as one insider aptly noted.
Larijaniâ€™s speech will be monitored even more closely than usual as the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA, as part of the sanctions it has threatened and threatened and threatenedÂ to impose upon Iran, has now decided to freeze half the technical aid it has been providing Tehran with up until now.
Larijani brushed aside criticism that his countryâ€™s defiant stand is the real cause behind these sanctions, choosing instead to attribute â€œthe current difficultiesâ€ to his ongoing attemptÂ at trying toÂ hoodwink Hollywood out of half a dozen tickets for the upcoming Academy Award Ceremony – for his cousin Hadjiâ€™s sonâ€™s auntâ€™s third cousins.
These attempts have proven fruitless so far, but Larijani just kept smiling as heÂ rushed to catch his plane to Munich, pulling on his sleeves as he did so.
Come visit me at Observing Hermann…