Melanie Philips writes about the unfolding story here.
"We just don’t seem able to grasp the true nature and scale of the Iranian threat. Indeed, there is a distinct air of irrationality about a Britain which tells opinion pollsters that it believes President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. What terrible moral confusion.
We have consistently shown we are not prepared to defend ourselves. In 2004, the British servicemen who were kidnapped by Iran were spirited to Tehran and paraded blindfold on television, which broadcast their apprehensive apologies for a ‘big mistake’.
It was an act of war against us. We let them get away with it."
On one level, Britain's membership of the EU is not related to this story, but at another I wonder whether it has helped to bring the political class in this country to a position where it seems so weak and devoid of resolve.
"We have consistently shown we are not prepared to defend ourselves", Philips writes in relation to the kidnapping issue.
But in the councils of the EU our economic and political interests have been given a pretty remorseless kicking for the past 35 years. Indeed, whilst we brought it on ourselves, others learnt from our early weakeness and have exploited it for all it's worth.
Have we acted as such a doormat at home that when challenged abroad we also roll over and let the stronger side walk all over us?
"Once back here I got to thinking - 'how do I get out of this?' Perhaps the really haunting spectre is that I would have to turn my back on the lake, and the prospect of the sword." Alan Clark, Diaries - 19th May 1999