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Is Larijani Serious? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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He must be kidding, or perhaps just confirming the fiction’s reality. I am talking about the statement attributed to the moderate politician and Speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani in which he said that the aim behind the arrest of a Hezbollah cell in Egypt is aimed at influencing the elections in Lebanon. How could the story of the arrest of a Lebanese national involved in establishing a clandestine and armed cell in Cairo affect Lebanese votes when voters have already decided how they will vote? The Shiites will vote for Shiite candidates, the Sunnis will vote for Sunnite candidates, the Christians living in Sunni areas, and their allies, will vote for Christian candidates, while the Christians living in Shiite areas will also vote for Christian candidates, the Druze will mostly vote for Druze candidates, and so on. How can the Egyptians influence the parliamentary elections [in Lebanon]? On the contrary, if this crisis has any impact – however improbable – it will be to ensure that each Lebanese voters votes according to his sect. Lebanon has settled upon being divided following the assassination of Rafik Al Hariri and other figures of his [political] trend. This division has deepened following Hezbollah’s occupation of Western Beirut which sparked a Sunni – Shiite war.

Perhaps if uncovering a Hezbollah cell in Egypt has any public impact it would first be felt in Iran. If elections and expression in Iran are truly free then external entanglements will be an electoral issue. However the majority of Iranians do not listen to or read about what is being said abroad about their regime due to the strict censorship [in Iran]. What happened in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Lebanon, and other places should have created an Iranian popular trend opposing the regime’s extremist trend, but this did not and will not happen under the present circumstances [in Iran].

Indeed this did happen once before, and the Iranian people were sparked to anger to the point that the Lebanese ambassador was forced to retract his acceptance of financial aid from the Tehran municipality following the Hezbollah – Israel war. The Tehran residences flared up, and condemned the actions of their Mayor who had pledged municipality money [to Lebanon] that was supposed to go towards municipal services for the community, and which the Tehran residents had paid for themselves.

It is the right of every Iranian citizen to ask why they should pay for the activities that are taking place in the mountains of Yemen, the plains of Lebanon, and the neighborhoods of Cairo. If the citizens knew all this then their position would certainly be different, which is what happened with regards to the Mayor of Tehran. These citizens will no longer be satisfied to be cash-cows to finance Hezbollah’s activities, or Ahmadinejad’s government.

There is a lot of evidence pointing to the tripartite relationship between Hezbollah, the Tehran regime and the cell [in Egypt]. Apart from the admission of Hezbollah’s Secretary-General himself [of this connection], there is also the fact that previously in public and in front of news agencies, youth were recruited in Iran to assassinate the Egyptian president. This was timed to coincide with the cell’s activities.

The picture is now clear. Tehran would publicly call for the assassination of the Egyptian president, Hezbollah would officially urge that the Egyptian regime be overthrown and call for the [Egyptian] military to carry out a coup d’état. At the same time it would send a clandestine cell lead by a Hezbollah military officer to Cairo. How could all of this just be media speculation?

What is even stranger is this talk about influencing the Lebanese elections. Is it rational to uncover a dangerous military cell operating inside your country against you, and then be denounced when you speak of this so as not to affect the Lebanese elections?

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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