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Iran: So This is the Will to Lead - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A popular maxim in Saudi Arabia, known by those involved in agriculture, says: “These dates still growing, how will they be when they mature”, or in other words, what will happen to these dates when they ripen? This saying applies to the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has sent a letter to US President George W. Bush.

The letter does not discuss uranium enrichment or the situation in Iraq or bilateral relations. The Iranian president went further and theorized about how to reform the world and solve outstanding problems. Therefore, we are in a situation where two leaders are acting as rivals.

If these are the first signs of Tehran announcing it were enriching uranium, what if the Iranians owned nuclear weapons and became a nuclear power? Ahamdinejad’s letter is evidence of what rational people warn against. Iran is not enriching uranium for peaceful aims; it is seeking to be the leader and controller of the region.

Iran is an occupier in Iraq and is interfering in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. It occupies three Emirati islands and is involved in Bahrain. A number of al Qaeda leaders are its guests. Iran is the third occupying force in the region. Is this evidence of its power and does it deserve to sit on the negotiation table with the great powers as their rival?

I believe the opposite to be true. The spread of Iranian influence is its weakness because, simply put, this means an increase in the number of opponents, who can be divided into two groups: the first awaits the chance to hit Tehran and the other is trying to influence Tehran as it is quickly veers toward danger. The former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami said, “Even some well-known fundamentalists are not happy with the status quo.” To prove his statements, other fundamentalists in the region, and there are many of them, see this as a historical chance to break Tehran’s back.

The other reading of Ahmadinejad’s message will be exclusive to the region, not only the Gulf, but also Egypt. Tehran has made public its desire to lead. Iran seeks to control the region and the Middle East and become its policeman. This will lead to the breakdown of the peace process and the sabotaging of the Iraqi dream. We will witness a new arms race and will see governments being swallowed by organizations. It is sufficient to see who is standing by Tehran today to know what tomorrow will bring.

Are others willing to allow Iran to lead them in the new political era? Iran is not Malaysia or Indonesia. If Iran succeeds in its nuclear project, this will give the wrong message to other extremists. Iran’s latest message confirmed the fears of those who see its actions as an aspiration for leadership. This is why I believe we are lucky not because our forethought but due to Ahamdinejad’s recklessness!

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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