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Iran … “I cry out in the Gulf” - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Washington , Moscow , Berlin , London and Paris have all said Iran is moving in the wrong direction! Observers were left in no doubt that their reaction to Iran ’s announcement it had enriched uranium was colored with confusion and portrayed their fear. Their responses do not quench the insatiable thirst for an analysis of the future. But, at least, they spoke.

What about the countries of the Persian Gulf that are also involved?

The Bushehr nuclear reactor lies on the shores of the Gulf, and it is closer to Manama or Doha than to the Iranian capital which lies in the interior. This means Tehran is almost safe, much more so than the capitals of the Persian Gulf , in case a mishap or an attack. A nuclear Iran is not evidence the country has become a power in the industrial sense.

From the moment President Ahmadinejad announced his country had the capacity to enrich uranium, we have yet to hear a comment from Gulf countries, be it individual or collective. We have yet to hear their opinions or attitudes towards the move and its dangers. We have yet to see any indication that an urgent summit on any level will be held.

Shall we say that Gulf countries are puzzled and at a loss? So be it! We saw confusion take hold in the international community but it has reacted. Or do Gulf countries want to separate their position from the US position on Iran ? Herein lies the danger. The question to be asked is: does the US border Iran or do we? Is oil a US desire only, or is it our bread and water?

Iran ’s problem is that it is dangerous even without a nuclear bomb! It is present in Lebanon and in Iraq and its fingers are in Bahrain ; it occupies three Emirati islands; it maintains a presence in Damascus and is close to Hamas. It also hosts a number of al Qaeda leaders. The politician cannot afford to ignore Iran . It cannot be depended on by those seeking stability. Unfortunately, Tehran is an expert in the escalation game. Iran always plays at mixing the cards. Its talk is opposite to its deeds.

Tehran opened its airspace for the US in the war in Afghanistan and practiced positive silence in the Iraqi war, while it was moving on the group from the first day of the invasion of Baghdad . It was amongst the first to insult the occupier, and amongst the first who called for non-interference in the affairs of others. Yet, it was amongst the first to open an embassy and consulates in Iraq , in order to draw a new reality that imposes a complicated structure on the Iraqi mosaic. Recently, there has been talk the Iranians will sit on a table with the Americans and negotiate about Iraq . This is Iran . Add to the current mix a nuclear Tehran .

Iran ’s actions are interconnected with the Gulf today and in the future. All this is taking place amidst an unexplainable silence from Gulf countries. It is as if I were the late great Iraqi poet Bader Shaker al Sayab, standing by the shores of the Gulf and saying , “I cry out to the Gulf… Oh Gulf”!

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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