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Iran…Sweet Talk! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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As soon as news broke that the US was deploying an anti-missile weapons system off the coast of Iran and in a number of Arab Gulf States, some Arabs came out saying that this step represents a provocation and straining to Iran, and the entire region, and it calls to attention the fact that the option of war remains open.

What is strange is that those who repeat this analysis forget – or perhaps they are trying to turn everything inside out – that on 28 September 2009 Iran carried out the “Payember-e Azam IV War Games”, during which the Iranians test-fired the Qadr-1 missile, which is an amended version of the Shahab-3 missile and which has a range of 1800 km. The Iranians also test-fired the Sajil missile, which is a two-stage solid fuel system missile with a range of 2000 km, and which has exceptional capabilities, according to officials in Tehran, and the Iranian Fars News Agency which reported that “for the first time the Revolutionary Guards have tested a two-stage missile that utilizes a solid fuel system during military maneuvers.” On the same day, Commander of the Revolutionary Guard Air Forces General Hossein Salami announced that “all the targets in the region, regardless of their location, will be within the range of these missiles.”

Whilst on 29 August 2009, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammed Ali Jafari, said that his forces would step up their presence in the Gulf of Aden due to defense needs, confirming that “Iran’s missiles are very accurate and can hit targets anywhere.” All of the above, of course, is nothing more than the tip of the iceberg and there are other Iranian statements made publicly in which the Revolutionary Guards threaten to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost 40 percent of international oil trade passes through.

The question is; who is disturbing the atmosphere in the region, increasing fears, and reminding the people of the Arab Gulf and the region that the option of war remains open?

Of course the answer is quite simply Iran. The Gulf finds itself held hostage by Iran, which is compromising the security and stability of the region in order to reach its nuclear objective, and this would mean that the Arab Gulf as a whole will remain at the mercy of Revolutionary Iran. Therefore those concerned about tension with Iran, or tensions in the region, forget that the region has been experiencing ongoing tension since the Iranian Revolution which was clear and direct with regards to its threat to the security of the Arab Gulf after Tehran began to export its revolution – in all its forms – throughout the region. Therefore it is difficult to accept today that the deployment of the US anti-missile system in order to protect the Gulf States represents an act of provocation to Iran, whose leadership itself – as we said previously – threatened that the entire region is in within range of its missiles.

Should the Gulf States stand idly by and do nothing?

Of course not, therefore it is good that Iran is experiencing this tension, and perhaps the wise in Iran will learn a lesson from this, and appreciate things as they are, before it is too late and their country and the entire region becomes engaged in pointless war and destruction. Iran must know this, and must be informed of this, for anything else is merely sweet talk.

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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