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Larijani…Intelligence or Predicament! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Statements attributed to Iranian Speaker of Parliament, Ali Larijani, in which he defends the Huthis, and criticizes Saudi Arabia for exercising its legitimate right of defending its territory indicate one of two things; intelligence, or predicament.

Tehran is desperately attempting to portray Saudi Arabia as being aggressive towards Yemen, while in fact it is the Iranian-backed Huthis who have ignited the unrest in Yemen, and their violation of Saudi Arabian territory has forced Riyadh to defend itself. Tehran is trying to be clever by attempting to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, but this is something that is as obvious to the Yemenis as it is to everybody else. The proof of this can be seen in Yemen’s support for the Saudi position, and Sanaa’s rejection of the remarks made by Iranian Foreign Minister [Manouchehr Mottaki] on the events that took place in Yemen last week. In fact, Yemen went so far as to even refuse to meet with Mottaki.

Iran finds itself facing a dilemma because Saudi Arabia enjoys considerable Arab, Islamic, and international support for its right to defend itself. This is something that shocked Iran, and exposed Iran’s allies [in the region]. The extent of the support for Saudi Arabia’s position stunned the Iranians and their allies, and we can recall how the Iranian media and Tehran’s agents in the region attempted to utilize the fact that Washington did not immediately issue a statement supporting Saudi Arabia’s right to self-defense during the first days of the Saudi – Huthi conflict. They attempted to present this as a problem for Riyadh, but now that Washington – like most other countries – has confirmed its support for Saudi Arabia’s right to defend itself, the Iranians are trying to say that the US are aiding Saudi Arabia with what they are doing [with regards to military operations against the Huthis].

Iran’s dilemma, and its blatant attempt to be clever, and Larijani’s feigned surprise that Saudi Arabia is allowing its military force to fight the Huthis at this time, meaning the sacred month [in Islam], are attempts to mislead [the Arab and Islamic public]. This is proof of the dilemma that the Huthis, and also Iran, find themselves facing. As usual Tehran is attempting to exploit religion, but religiously speaking the Quranic verse [that deals with this issue] is clear, and states that “They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: “Fighting therein is a grave (offence).” [Surat Al-Baqara; Verse 217]. However Riyadh did not start this conflict, nor is Riyadh known for its aggression, therefore Tehran is attempting to mislead Arab and Islamic public opinion by warning Saudi Arabia not to interfere in Yemen. Iran is the one that occupies Arab land, and the best evidence of this can be seen in Tehran’s occupation of the three UAE islands. Iran is the one interfering in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and the Palestinian issue. We can also recall that the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guards entered Pakistani territory searching for the [Sunni] Jundallah group that had carried out suicide bombings against its leadership. The Revolutionary Guards claimed they had entered Pakistani territory by mistake, although Iranian officials publicly stated that they would pursue those who had carried out terrorist operations into Pakistani territory.

So how can Iran justify entering Pakistani territory for the sake of [pursuing] suspects in a terrorist attack, but [attempt to] incite against Saudi Arabia that is only defending its territory against rebels who are armed with a variety of weaponry and who have been fighting a war in Yemen that has lasted for more than 5 years?

Therefore the Iranians today are trying to be clever because they find themselves facing a dilemma, and because they have been exposed to the Arab and Islamic public, particularly following the threats they made against Saudi Arabia with regards to the Hajj season. Therefore Tehran talking about the holy month today is an attempt to redress what it can.

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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