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Intentional Apathy in the Gulf Region - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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When Hassan Rawhany, the Iranian nuclear file official, toured Yemen and the Gulf region, we heard very little from Gulf officials about the nuclear project that is causing worry around the globe. We have no idea what was said behind closed doors, and maybe Rawhany was informed that the Iranian nuclear project was threat to its own security, as well as posing a hazard to its neighbouring countries.

What is more worrying is the news of the establishment of nuclear reactor and equipment deals with Russia. There is increasing competition with India and Pakistan, in an attempt to create the first nuclear missile in East Gulf or West Asia.

As long as the reactors are being built and uranium fertilisation continues, Tehran’s affirmations of good intentions remain insufficient. Iran is not an “angel state”, as it continues to incubate the al-Qaeda sects that fled Afghanistan. This is all in addition to the fact that Iran’s petroleum needs are not a basis for creating nuclear reactors to generate energy.

Tehran has directed extensive amounts of money towards its nuclear projects, which could have else been directed towards the development of the country’s weak economy. Clearly Tehran has changed its public stance but the danger remains.

Iran used to claim that it had a right to produce nuclear weapons in order to counterbalance the Israeli nuclear arsenal. These claims have now changed, with Iran arguing that nuclear energy usage is for civil utilisation; this is of course quite difficult to believe in the absence of an international surveillance system.

Iran still occupies Arab land in the Gulf region; the most recent occupation being that of Abu Moussa”s Island in early 1990s, when the world was preoccupied with Iraq”s invasion to Kuwait. No one in the region is satisfied with the Israel’s store of weapons of mass destruction, but no one can claim that the solution could be providing Iran with a countering arsenal.

The message should be clearly obvious to Tehran; the region wants Iran safe of American threats but also they do not want their lands burnt or threatened by the Iranian nuclear missiles. Gulf countries could play a pacifying role with Washington and Iran. They could work to evacuate the Gulf Region of nuclear weapons, as a first step to clearing the whole Middle East, including Israel, of nuclear weapon.

The Saudi Crown Prince reformed the Saudi-Iranian relationship through some positive steps starting with the Islamic summit in Pakistan, which helped Iran break free of its Arabic and Islamic isolation.

This took place during the last days of Rafsanjani before his handover to Mohamed Khatami. And here we are again; history is repeating itself.

With the American and European reconciliation, and the return of Rajsanjani, Iran is in a critical corner. It seems that for Iran, there is no escape from regional cooperation, which will reassure its neighbors before America.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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