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Iran…Deception in Qom - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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After the Iranian regime revealed that it was building new nuclear facilities in Iran, the international community entered a new, more complex chapter in dealing with the Tehran regime. The Iranian technique of dissimulation [Taqqiya] reached unprecedented levels when Tehran embarked upon deceiving the international community and building a new nuclear facility on a military base in Qom. Of course, this is of clear significance, as it shows the extent to which Tehran exploits religion.

The features of this new chapter between Iran and the West were plain to see on Thursday from the reactions of the Americans, the British and the French in particular. After Iran informed the French and US intelligence apparatuses of the new nuclear facilities it was building, the Iranian regime took the initiative and sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency to tell the body about this new facility. This caused the leaders of the US, France and Britain to take a break from the programme of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh to strongly condemn Iran’s actions to the extent that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that “the level of deception and betrayal [of Iran] will shock and anger the whole international community.” He added that certain countries are left with no choice “but to draw a line in the sand.” French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated that “Iran is taking the international community down a dangerous path,” adding, “We were already in a very severe confidence crisis [with Iran]. Everything – everything must be put on the table now.”

This development means that it is now difficult to believe the Iranian regime, or trust its intentions whether on the international or regional level. The lack of credibility of the Iranian regime means that the Israelis now have a better chance at influencing America or Western states. From day one Israel has been saying that negotiating with Tehran is nothing but a waste of time and this is what some Western leaders said in their speeches on Friday. As a result, we are facing dangerous escalation of the Iranian nuclear file and this means anything could happen, including a military strike.

The danger, and what’s important here regarding Iranian deception this time, is that the new nuclear facility is located in Qom, and as mentioned before, this will have serious implications, as this means that the Iranian regime wants to exploit the [religious] status of that city amongst members of the Shia sect. If any military strike is carried out against Iranian nuclear facilities by Israel or anybody else for that matter then that would add a religious dimension to the attack.

From here we are able to understand the extent to which Iran is exercising sectarian mobilization in our region, the Arab world and the Islamic world as a whole, as it seeks to play on the religious dimension and political Shiafication. This means that Tehran is trying to exploit [religious] sentiment and use it for its personal battle to control the region. This is not only on the basis of a religious logic but also because of a political motive that it is exploiting to harm Arab and Islamic countries.

The new Iranian nuclear facility is further evidence that it is difficult to trust the Iranian regime. Moreover, it is yet another reminder to regional states of the danger of the Iranian project in its entirety and the need for caution with regards to the aspirations and actions of Iran in the 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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