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Two important news stories about Iran [surfaced] on the same day; the first was that Pakistani authorities had arrested 11 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] the moment they crossed onto Pakistani territory, and the second news item was the announcement that Yemeni security authorities had seized an Iranian ship carrying anti-tank shells, which Yemeni authorities believed was destined for Houthi rebels in the north. The five crew members on the Iranian ship were arrested.

As stated above, the two news items came out on the same day. Even if it was reported that the five Iranian officers had entered Pakistan by mistake, Iranian officials in the IRGC had previously threatened that Iran might pursue elements of the Jundullah organization (which claimed responsibility for the suicide operation that took place in Iran) on Pakistani territory. This raises questions about the alleged story that the IRGC had entered Pakistan by mistake!

What’s important about both news stories is that Iran is moving around in the region without being monitored or supervised. The two incidents in Pakistan and Yemen would not have been brought to light had it not been for the authorities of both countries. What if Iraqi authorities declared the degree of Iranian interference in Iraq? Or what if the Iraqi authorities disclosed documents and images revealing what the Quds Force did and is still doing [in Iraq], especially as some Iraqi officials have close ties with head of the Quds Force Qassem Suleimani and, in fact, meet with him both inside and outside of Iran and at the highest levels?

What if the Lebanese authorities revealed the magnitude of Iranian interference in their country, not only via the support of Hezbollah but through the pumping of money and weapons, and the mobilizing of leaderships and men and even through interference on the cultural level?

The problem with the Iranian regime is that it is yet to learn the harsh lesson, as for a long time, Iran has been interfering, directly and indirectly, in the region’s causes and internal affairs, and today Iran wants everyone to leave it and its affairs alone. Furthermore, they [the Iranians] are surprised at what is written about them in the media, despite that they ridicule the media and media figures to serve their own goals. The best example of this is when Tehran was alarmed by the news that was leaked about an energy meeting being held in Cairo attended by an Iranian official who spoke to an Israeli official about nuclear weapons. After all of that, Iran wants to pursue anybody who does anything on its territory, without realizing that its own illegitimate interference in other countries is what made others do the same.

The problem is that even though Iran’s actions represent a violation of international laws, it contradicts what it says in its criticism of US interference in Iraq or Afghanistan, or [what it says about] the uproar that Israel is causing in Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories, and even [what it says about] Israeli talk of striking Iranian nuclear plants. Iranian interference in the affairs of regional states, whether militarily or by supporting armed groups, contributes to supporting or in fact legitimizing chaos in our region.

Has the time come for Tehran to grasp the danger of what it is doing in our region?

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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