Who won kidnapping confrontation?

Adrian Hamilton of the liberal British Independent says the Iranians won this round. Robin Wright of the Washington Post says Tehran is likely to pay a long term price.

Both score keepers are wrong.

Hamilton says:

...

Having gained the propaganda victory of tweaking the lion's tail and then generously handing it back to the tormented beast, most Iranians, and even the radical President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will feel well satisfied with a fight they feel they have won on points. On the Middle Eastern streets, where it matters, they are probably right. The videos of the captives admitting their errors and the smiles and farewells of the final release will have gone down well.

...
In reality both sides looked bad in the PR campaign. Does anyone really think that the woman sailor wanted to wear that ridiculous scarf?

And this from Wright:

...

"They are so consumed with short-term issues -- how to undermine the West and how to gain leverage -- at the expense of long-term strategy. They have undermined themselves," said Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "They're playing the immediate moves of checkers and not the long-term strategy of a chess game. In the long term, it undermines their ability to attract foreign investment and have good relations" with the outside world.

...
So what is the price they have paid over the long term for seizing our embassy? While their conduct this time was not quite as egregious, it was still bad conduct for which the EU will exact no price. At the end of the day nothing has really changed. The bad guys are still in charge and they will continue to be trouble makers and killers. And, no one will really change their opinion about this evil regime.

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