"Management is doing a thing right," said the late Peter Drucker, but "leadership is doing the right thing." Yesterday, the Foreign Secretary William Hague did the right thing by announcing to a sober House of Commons that the Iranian Embassy in London would be closed in response to that regime's sponsorship of the ransacking of the British Embassy in Tehran on Tuesday.
The government also did the right thing last week when it stepped out bravely in front of the US and EU by applying sanctions to a central artery of the Iranian regime - the central bank which is vital to the transactions of the Iranian oil industry. That action caused the regime hardliners to organise their supporters to burn the British flag, tear down pictures of the Queen and chant "death to England."
The British government should be congratulated for facing reality when it comes to Iran and responding with moral clarity. For the awful truth is that although the international community has offered incentive after incentive nothing has yet stopped Iran's headlong pursuit of a nuclear bomb. Russia has offered to enrich uranium for an Iranian civil programme, the EU has offered "broad co-operation in the technological and economic field as well as in the political and security field," and President Obama famously offered his outstretched hand, asking only for an unclenched fist in return. What did he get? Iran has ignored six UNSC resolutions, engaged in a pattern of concealment and duplicity and threatened its neighbours. And last month the IAEA Report confirmed that Iran is moving towards weaponising its nuclear programme.
By closing the Iranian Embassy, William Hague has sent a clear message that Britain will not be intimidated from doing what is needed to stop the Iranian bomb. For we should make no mistake - the purpose of Tuesday's organised riot in Tehran was to make an example of Britain for daring to impose sanctions on Iran's central bank. The regime hoped to intimidate any countries - especially countries with more extensive commercial dealings with Iran than Britain, such as Germany - from following the UK lead.
Hague's moral clarity deserves support from every part of the political spectrum. For Iran's nuclear programme represents a serious threat to the interests of the West and its Arab allies in the Gulf. Not only does it threaten to trigger a nuclear arms race in the most unstable region in the world but it will also empower the regime to oppose the Middle East Peace Process and to sponsor extremism throughout the region.
By facing reality so bravely and by acting so resolutely in the face of intimidation William Hague has proved the truth of John F. Kennedy's dictum that "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." Certainly he speaks to this former Labour parliamentarian.