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An important Iranian statement - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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An aide to the Iranian Minister of Security, Hojatoleslam Khazaei, spoke two days ago offering important words about the reasons for his country’s support for the tyrant of Damascus, Iran’s position on Iraq, what he called the “miracle” of the political regime in his country surviving and not collapsing since the Khomeini revolution until today, and likewise what he called the Shiite center of the Middle East.

The importance of Khazaei’s remarks lies in the fact that they offer a direct and unequivocal insight into Iran’s interests in the region, which are based on expansion, consolidation and influence according to sectarian logic, rather than cooperation, neighborly conduct and respect for the sovereignty of Arab states. The Iranian minister believes that one of the main causes for Tehran’s support for al-Assad today is that the al-Assad regime stood by Iran in what he called the “holy war”, i.e. the Iran-Iraq war. Furthermore, according to Khazaei, al-Assad’s country resisted the Americans in Iraq, prevented them from extending their influence in Bilad al-Rafideen [Mesopotamia] and thwarted their democratic project there, because it represented a threat to the interests of Iran and al-Assad.

According to the Iranian Mehr News Agency, Khazaei said that the Americans “intended to control the Middle East; the most sensitive geopolitical region in the world, which contains 70 percent of the world’s energy sources, and the center of the Shiite doctrine. Their intention was for a new Middle East, and Iraq was just an excuse. They stated that they had come to establish the tower of democracy in Iraq to cast its shadow over Iran and Syria”. This means that Iran sees al-Assad as one of the most important tools to extend its influence in the region, nothing more and nothing less.

Thus Khazaei has very clearly provided an insight into Iranian security, Iran’s vision for the region, its reasons for supporting the al-Assad regime and the nature of Tehran’s relations with Iraq. All this is contrary to what has previously been echoed by the Iranian lobby in our region. We are essentially dealing with a policy of influence and sectarianism to serve the Khomeini revolution, for Iran does not consider our nations, specifically Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, as anything more than Shiite centers, and does not respect their sovereignty, nor does it recognize the right to diversity and co-existence. What matters for Iran’s mullahs is to consolidate the influence of Khomeini’s project using sectarian tools, and to demolish democracy, which Iran considers to be an American tower, in order to implement that project!

It is fascinating today that most of those talking about democracy in our region are Iran’s allies, whether in Iraq or Lebanon, some Gulf States, and even some countries of the Arab Spring, especially those who are talking about the need for greater openness with Tehran!

Khazaei’s comments represent one of the most important Iranian statements because they show Iran’s intentions towards our region and our nations at this sensitive time, just as they also expose the naivety of some of those still deceived by Iranian promises, despite all that Iran is doing in our region. Hence Khazaei was right when he said that the survival, rather than collapse, of the political regime in his country up until now is a miracle. The regime has survived because Iran has made several gains by investing in sectarian allies – unfortunately – in our region, just as it has also benefitted from American naivety and Arab impotence, especially with regards to the Syrian issue. Accelerating the fall of al-Assad would restore Iran to its natural size, and make its officials face the internal reality in earnest for the first time since the Khomeini revolution, instead of Tehran continuing to operate outside its borders at the expense of our future and capabilities.

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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