Asharq Al Awsat recently published an article that discussed the comments made by one of the most prominent advisers of the Supreme Guide of the Iranian Republic, Ali Khamenei, whereby he stated that Bahrain is an Iranian province that was separated from Iran under the Shah. Such comments were preceded by another official statement from an informed source that claimed that the three UAE islands that are occupied by Iran are “100%” Iranian and this fact is irrevocable. The truth is that we must not be surprised, amazed or bewildered by these comments as they simply serve the widespread Iranian project in the region. Iranian activity, which is clearly reflected in areas such as Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, takes another form that is replete with resilient language at times and terrifying “slips of the tongue” at other times. Nevertheless, the wider picture, which is the dominance of a Persian project that is tainted by sectarianism, remains integrated and consistent.
It seems that the aim behind the explicit as well as implicit increasing Iranian presence in the Arabian Gulf region is the transformation of the term “Persian Gulf” from a geographical term to a real and tangible geo-political reality. There is much evidence to support this argument. Iranian intervention in the latest elections in Bahrain was blatant and unabashed and so was the case, yet to a lesser extent, in Kuwait. It is no secret that a number of Iranian studies and research stress the importance of controlling the Gulf seas “comprehensively”, not only the Strait of Hormuz.
The principle of exporting the revolution, which was active in the 1980s, has been revived today but from a different perspective. Perhaps the example of Hezbollah in Lebanon and what it has done and continues to do serves in consolidating the new look of exporting the revolution through local dignitaries who adopt religious discourses that provoke emotion and tears and surfaces with its pure money in hand; the same money that has come to finance sedition, division and dissent.
With all this tension being released by Iran and delivered to Arab countries, I hope that individuals will no longer be surprised or question the secret behind the tension and concern of Arab countries in general and the Gulf states in particular towards the intentions of Iranian policy. For example, Saudi-Iran relations, when at their worst during the reign of the Shah, were always restrained by a firm rule of non-interference in internal affairs of the two countries and respecting the diplomatic relations between the two states. Such fact was explained by Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, in his important thesis on diplomatic relations between the two countries. However, what was once forbidden has now become possible and what was once inappropriate has become a duty in political discourse. The political plan itself is aimed at the Gulf States from Iran.
Before, we used to talk about “identified Iranian ambitions” within the Gulf States and such talk was usually surrounded by ambiguity and fear and did not go into detail. But now with the public declaration of what is taking place in the heart of Iranian policy, it has become a right for states to take all precautions since the cost would be too high otherwise at the expense of security, stability and development.
Iran is a country that prefers to present its revolution and its “glories” as slogans to distract its people and the whole region. The truth is that Iran is in a serious crisis; whilst it is one of the most important oil-producing countries; it regulates the process of fuelling cars with gasoline and imports it from abroad. Its youth suffer horrific levels of unemployment and from the alarming spread of drugs. Instead of tackling serious internal problems, Iran senselessly decides to blow the whistle and declare that the entire Arab Gulf has become an open ground since it believes it has been robbed of its territories and what it considers strategic borders. The least that could be said about this kind of thinking is that it resembles a fire of sedition that everyone can do without.