An Iranian writer chose to put the matter directly on the table in an article entitled, ‘Iran vs. Saudi Arabia.’ There are existing differences. It is known and declared in key issues, without pushing matters beyond that, that the art is to coexist rather than impose one party’s policy upon another.
What caught my attention was that the Iranian described Saudi Arabia as religiously extreme whilst regional countries are complaining about the exportation of Iranian extremism. Even Tehran-friendly states such as Yemen and the Sudan complain about Iranian-extremist missionaries on their soils. His accusation brings to mind the famous declaration in which Iran criticized Afghanistan’s practices under the former Taliban regime, describing such practices as extremist, in a comment that drew sarcasm on an international scale at that time. The question raised here is; who accuses who of extremism?
Writer Abbas Bakhtiar chose to say that the Iranian woman can vote, work, and even drive a lorry if she chooses whilst the Saudi woman is deprived of all or most of that. Bakhtiar elaborated and enumerated the faults and failures of the Arabs. However, as he discussed and drew comparisons, he failed to mention the big difference between strictness related to everyday life of an individual such as clothes, food and accommodation and extremism that inflicts harm upon people; extremism that leads to wars as we today in Iraq and Lebanon, where Iran is pushing the situations towards both religious and political extremism.
Our region is loaded with problems and crises; however, the fact is that Iran largely responsible for exporting and encouraging them. It is Iran that has set the region on fire and has left this fire raging for over a quarter of a century until now and for what? Is it to spread its revolution that is suffering from deterioration within Iran itself and that has had to impose its ideas by force? The Iranian elections in which the writer took pride do exist but are of a unique kind. They are open only to those whose political eligibility to stand is endorsed by the election commission, that is, they are chosen only from within the political circle. Most names are removed because they are not considered favorable. So how can they be called free elections?
Regardless of how the Iranians run their internal affairs, anybody who is associated with Iran should be the last one to make accusations of extremism against others.
Every one of us should look within ourselves and rectify our own faults rather than cast stones at one another. The Arab nation, which the writer dubbed unsuccessful, is perhaps so, but it is also true that Iran is not much better. Let us have a look at its breakthroughs over the past few decades; regrettably, it has done nothing but re-paint Chinese and Russian missiles and give them religious names. Most successful Iranians are those who have fled the country and are living in large numbers in exile in France, California, Norway, Australia and other countries. Therefore, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.