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Iran: Foreign Insults Reveal Internal Crisis - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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One can find fabricated news about rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and other regional states, published by the Iranian news agencies, as well as talk about senior Saudi leadership – or other leaders in the region – planning to visit Tehran. However at the same time, you will also find these same news agencies publishing “insulting” and fabricated news items about Saudi Arabia and other regional countries; this is something that has confused many of those monitoring the situation, for how can this be explained?

One of those observing this situation asked me: isn’t this escalation by the Iranian media against Saudi Arabia strange? To which I replied that no, it isn’t! For this is not caused by Saudi Arabia, or the situation in Lebanon or Iraq, or anything else, but rather this is caused by Tehran itself; the problem is an internal Iranian one.

The evidence of this can be seen in the timing of Iran’s [media] attack against the leader of the Iraqiya bloc, Dr. Iyad Allawi. Many people have not paid attention to the Iranian claims that Allawi previously sent a message to Tehran presenting a package of proposals that he would implement should Iran agree to him becoming Iraqi Prime Minister, which is something comprehensively denied by the Iraqiya bloc. This attack [on Allawi] took place at the same time that Iran’s new acting Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was visiting Iraq, during which he issued a statement saying that Tehran looks forward to turning over a new page in its relations with Iraq! Some people have promoted Salehi as potentially being Iran’s Davutoglu [Turkish Foreign Minister] in terms of being able to resolve Tehran’s problems with its neighbors, and when he was first appointed acting Iranian Foreign Minister Salehi himself said that one of his priorities would be to improve, or even restore, Iran’s relations with Saudi Arabia.

So how can we explain the situation today, with a new Iranian foreign minister talking about restoring relations with Saudi Arabia, and this being his priority, whilst at the same time the country he is representing has launched an attack on Riyadh via media agencies affiliated to decision-makers in Tehran? How can we understand this escalation against Allawi, and the Iranian Fars News agency attacking him [in this manner], whilst at the same time the Iranian foreign minister is speaking about turning over a new page in Tehran’s relations with Iraq, particularly in light of the fact that we are talking about Iranian news agencies, rather than newspapers or television channels?

This means that the cause is not outside of Iran, but rather that this is an internal Iranian problem. This indicates that what is happening in Tehran today is not according to the orders of any single leadership, but rather that there is a major political conflict taking place there over power, authority, and who is in charge of what in Iran. This can also be seen in the news which has yet to be explained with regards to [Iranian president] Ahmadinejad dismissing a number of his advisers, and as is always the case in Iran, the analysis of the news is more important than the news itself.

All the information points to the fact that this crisis is taking place within Iran itself, and not abroad; this also means that Salehi is not capable of being Iran’s Davutoglu, for there is more than one leadership in Tehran, and so it would be very difficult for Salehi to rebuild or restore any of his country’s foreign relations. Therefore, let’s not worry about what is being leaked in Iran [about foreign countries], we should instead focus upon what is happening internally there, for when Iran intensifies its attack or insults against foreign parties, all that this means is that there is an internal crisis taking place there.

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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