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A Response that Evokes Ahmadinejad - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Iranian embassy in London volunteered a response to my article entitled ‘Iran and the Fearful Arabs’ (12 May 2008) in a letter sent by the first secretary of the embassy. His rhetoric could only be described as reminiscent of Ahmadinejad’s in its condescension and accusatory tone.

The first secretary accused me of treason and demanded that I study history, upon the consideration that I am “young and inexperienced”, he said in the letter which was published in our paper yesterday.

The language of diplomacy was absent from the aforementioned letter and the rhetoric was no different from that of Ahmadinejad and his supporters in the region who accuse anyone who opposes them with treason and do not hesitate to silence tongues. This is why the first thing that the pro-Iranian Hezbollah did after staging a coup on Beirut was to muzzle the media outlets.

The secretary demands that I should read history and I ask him to absorb it. There is a huge difference between reading history and apprehending it. If Ahmadinejad’s regime had an understanding of history then it would have realized that Saddam Hussein’s regime was a key player in the region, just as other regimes are; in fact, even Al-Qaeda was a major international player at one point in time. It is not important to be considered a player; it’s the role that a given party plays that is of importance!

Moreover, grasping history means that people in glass houses should not throw stones. Iran has various different religions, sects and ethnicities; if Ahmadinejad’s regime truly understood history then it would have known that manipulating slogans and exploiting sects and religions can only result in burning the party responsible for it in the end.

The Iranian embassy reminded me of the role of the Iranian civilization – not the Iranian Islamic civilization – and this is where I would like to say that there is no dispute over Iranian civilization or with the Iranian people, especially the reformist trend and the honest and just intellectual symbols. The dispute and threat that I caution the Arabs about exists in the practices of the incumbent regime.

The Iranian civilization did not rear Imad Mughniyah and Hassan Nasrallah; rather, the regime that created Ahmadinejad is what presented them to us. The Iranian civilization has given us shining examples of Persian intellectuals, scholars and poets that have contributed prominently, both culturally and Islamically, to our history!

Moreover, we have no phobias about Iran but we aspire for stability and the evasion of slipping into civil wars – Iraq and Lebanon are the best examples of this. Both states are multiethnic, however they have fallen victim to Iran and the coup staged on Beirut today was carried out by the pro-Iran Hezbollah.

As for the secretary’s words about Israel and the US; they are to no avail – has Iran waged one war for the sake of Palestine? Tehran exploits the cause, among other issues, as a pretext to execute its expansionist goals, nothing more. Even when Iran’s ally Syria was attacked by Israel, Ahmadinejad’s response was that his country had nothing to do with it.

If Ahmadinejad’s regime had sold illusions to some and bought others through promises and money, then those who have a good understanding of history are compelled to urge Arab states to become aware of the threat of sedition that Ahmadinejad is driving the region towards.

As history has warned us of the recklessness and arrogance of Saddam and of Sunni extremism; then it must negate and expose what Ahmadinejad’s regime is doing to our nations. We know the Arab world best and are more concerned about it than Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad.

To the Iranian embassy I say: We welcome the Iranian civilization that can apprehend history and respect geography, but the Arabs must be very wary of Ahmadinejad’s Iran.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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