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Tehran…A Photo Op - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The images that we saw yesterday coming out of Tehran of what was described as the conference of “National and Islamic Solidarity for the Future of Palestine” represented nothing but a photo op to serve Iran’s goals of propaganda in the region, and a review of Iran’s tools to confront the US against the backdrop of the Iranian nuclear file, or the Israelis, in light of the current escalation in the region. This conference was prepared for within two weeks and was opened by the Iranian Supreme Guide Ali Khamanei.

Iran has not done anything for the Palestinian cause except exploit it for propaganda. It has also consolidated the division between the Palestinians and the proof is in the last Gaza war during which Iran advised its “Jihadist” citizens not to take part in the battle on the pretext that Iran has no borders with Gaza. That’s not all; at the time Hezbollah did nothing but take on the role of a loudspeaker, nothing more, nothing less, and when it wanted action it took action on Egyptian territory! Financially, despite the sufferings of the Gazan people, we never once heard about the Iranians making a generous donation to the people of Gaza, especially considering that the destruction that the Israeli attack caused is still evident today and the people still continue to suffer in an appalling way. Therefore, Tehran exploits the Palestinian cause as if it is a launch pad; as soon as it has achieved its goals, it will disregard it.

As expected, Iran is using Hamas and other factions too in order to accomplish its goals, as long as those factions do not have any objections to being transformed into tools at Tehran’s disposal. All we need to do is look at the image of Khaled Mishal and Ramadan Shallah as they sat next to the Supreme Guide without their shoes on [looking] submissive and vulnerable, and this is normal; before that we saw people who had removed their ties in the same scene!

When we say that the conference is [a form of] propaganda and a photo op, there is something important we must take notice of, as part of name of the conference is “national solidarity” i.e. Iranian solidarity with the [Palestinian] cause. But on the same day as the conference itself, an important statement was issued by the leader of the Iranian opposition movement Mir Hossein Mousavi in which he stated that the legitimacy of the rule of religious institutions in Iran is waning because of “repressive measures” and explained that “a dictatorial cult is ruling Iran.”

Mousavi describes Ahmadinejad’s government as “a cult that has no respect for the interests of the Iranian nation.” He added that the government is “not qualified” to rule and that “the nation that faces an adventurous, warmongering foreign policy and destructive economic policy…wants change.”

So how can a state like Iran, which has been divided within itself in such an unprecedented way since the days of the Shah, serve foreign causes such as the Palestinian cause? Shouldn’t Iranian leaders first take the initiative to create national solidarity for itself initially and convince its people of the validity of its program and the correctness of its administration, and then seek to create solidarity with the Palestinian cause within Iran?

Therefore, we say that the Tehran conference was nothing but an attempt by the Iranian government to move forward quickly, as it is suffering from real internal problems. The conference was merely a photo op and its goal was one of political propaganda, nothing more or less.

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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