Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran: Genuine change or Taqqiya | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iran’s Mullahs have excelled, most of them donning military uniforms, in launching attacks against Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Indeed, it seems everyone except for the local chief of police there has launched threats against the two Gulf States! Yet subsequently, Iran’s Foreign Minister has come out with “soft” statements aimed at Riyadh and Manama.

According to what was reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Ali Akbar Salehi said: “we have no problem with Saudi Arabia in particular, and we recognize that it is an important country in the region and influential at the international level”. He added that “after the recent events in the region, there was a difference in the interpretation and analysis. I think that it is [now] possible to dispel this misunderstanding”. Salehi also announced that his country “respects the national sovereignty and independence of Bahrain, and wants peace, stability and security for the country”. He added that Iran considered it “positive that the King of Bahrain has decided to initiate dialogue with the people. We hope that this dialogue enables [the Bahrainis] to find a solution to the crisis”. Furthermore, Salehi also announced his country’s readiness to negotiate with America!

Of course, the first question that comes to mind is: What has happened? How can Salehi say what he said about Saudi Arabia, especially considering that a Saudi source spoke to our newspaper a few days ago, clarifying the Saudi official interpretation of Iran’s stance, saying that his country has not directed any invitations to Tehran! In relation to Bahrain, Iran continues to distort the facts about what is happening in Manama. Indeed, one radical Iranian Imam, who is close to the decision making circles there, recently called on Bahrain to establish an Islamic republic. This is in addition to Iran’s attack on Washington in defense of Hezbollah, after the Special Tribunal for Lebanon demanded the Iranian-affiliated party hand over four of its leaders, on charges relating to the assassination of the late Rafik Hariri. Likewise, Salehi’s talk about relations with Washington comes at a time when America is threatening the Shiite militias in Iraq, who are affiliated with Iran and have committed crimes against the Sunnis there. So are we now facing a genuine Iranian change, or is this a new form of political Taqqiya [Shia Islamic concept whereby an individual is permitted to conceal their true intentions or beliefs when under threat or persecution]?

It is difficult, of course, to believe Iran’s intentions. When Tehran deals with the Saudis or the Gulf, we must remember the famous proverb: “It doesn’t sadden me that you are lying to me, I am sad because I no longer trust you”. However, whatever Iran’s intentions are, it is important to pay attention to an essential point, and Salehi’s remarks may be the most significant indicator of this, namely that Iran today has begun to sense the danger of what is happening in Syria. Tehran may have reached the conclusion that the al-Assad regime will not last, and that a change is coming and this means the collapse of Iranian diplomacy, as I have said repeatedly. This in turn means that Tehran will have to face its internal crisis, something that is nearly 30 years overdue. It seems inevitable, and all indicators suggest there is fire under the ashes in Tehran.

It is true that Iran is playing politics, but the game is closer to chess. Today Iran’s castle, i.e. the al-Assad regime, is about to fall, and because of this it seems Tehran is practicing Taqqiya, if we want to think positively.

Is anyone paying attention to this, on Arab and international levels, and are they aware of the value of the opportunity for the entire region? This is the question!