Iran be­haves the way it does be­cause US allows it to

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL - [Dr. Ma­jid Rafizadeh, an Ira­nian-Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist and Har­vard Univer­sity scholar, is pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Amer­i­can Coun­cil. Rafizadeh serves on the board of Har­vard In­ter­na­tional Re­view at Har­vard Univer­sity. He is also a mem­ber of t

IDR. MA­JID RAFIZADEH N the last few years, Iran’s ex­pand­ing in­flu ence in the re­gion, mil­i­tar­ily and ide­o­log­i­cally, has be­come un­de­ni­able. Alireza Zakani, a mem­ber of the Ira­nian par­lia­ment who is close to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, boasted that “three Arab cap­i­tals (Beirut, Da­m­as­cus, and Baghdad) have al­ready fallen into Iran’s hands and be­long to the Ira­nian Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion.” He also added that Sana’a, Ye­men’s cap­i­tal, is now the fourth.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei, jus­ti­fies Iran’s role in per­pet­u­at­ing the spe­cific nar­ra­tive that what is hap­pen­ing in other Arab na­tions is the strug­gle of “the op­pressed”, it is the “Is­lamic Awak­en­ing” where other na­tions are fol­low­ing the foot­steps of Iran’s Is­lamic rev­o­lu­tion of 1979. In a con­tro­ver­sial state­ment he de­clared, “Ye­men, Bahrain and Pales­tine are op­pressed, and we pro­tect op­pressed peo­ple as much as we can”. Khamenei con­tin­ues to de­pict him­self as the sav­ior of th­ese Mus­lims.

It goes with­out say­ing that Iran’s in­ter­fer­ence in the do­mes­tic af­fairs of other coun­tries has added fuel the con­flicts, in­creas­ing the death toll, sec­tar­i­ans fight­ing, and fur­ther mil­i­ta­riz­ing and rad­i­cal­iz­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

Notwith­stand­ing the com­plaints regarding Iran’s in­ter­ven­tion in other Arab coun­tries, the ques­tion is why Iran’s ex­pand­ing mil­i­tary is go­ing unchecked? The Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion is so fo­cused on pre­vent­ing the nu­clear agree­ment from fall­ing apart that it is not pri­or­i­tiz­ing Iran’s cur­rent for­eign and re­gional poli­cies

Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion: First of Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion is so fo­cused on pre­vent­ing the nu­clear agree­ment from fall­ing apart that it is not pri­or­i­tiz­ing Iran’s cur­rent for­eign and re­gional poli­cies. Even Iran’s hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions have taken the back seat in the White House’s Iran agenda. Se­condly, the ad­min­is­tra­tion for­got that Ira­nian lead­ers were the ones who were des­per­ate for the nu­clear deal, that they needed the sanc­tions re­lief since the hold-on­power of the rul­ing politi­cians was in dan­ger.

The White House had used the re­moval of sanc­tions as lever­age to pres­sure Iran to come to the ne­go­ti­at­ing table, but the trend changed af­ter­wards. Ira­nian politi­cians skill­fully took the up­per hand, mak­ing Washington hostage to the nu­clear agree­ment.

A year af­ter the nu­clear ne­go­ti­a­tions be­gan, no ro­bust po­si­tion was be­ing taken to­ward Iran’s ex­pand­ing and desta­bi­liz­ing role in Da­m­as­cus, Baghdad, Ye­men, and Bahrain. Iran’s provoca­tive mil­i­tary ac­tions such as fir­ing bal­lis­tic mis­siles or de­tain­ing Amer­i­can navy per­son­nel were all, the also dis­re­garded. In ad­di­tion, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Mid­dle East pol­icy ap­pears to fa­vor Iran’s pres­ence in other coun­tries in­clud­ing Syria and Iraq. For ex­am­ple, from the ad­min­is­tra­tion per­spec­tive, Tehran and Washington’s in­ter­ests are con­verg­ing in Iraq.

Iran is viewed as be­ing an im­por­tant player in main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo in Baghdad and pre­vent­ing the gov­ern­ment from be­ing over­thrown by Sunni op­po­si­tion. As a re­sult, Iran’s in­fil­tra­tion of the mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tuses in Iraq has gone unchecked.

In Syria, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion per­ceives Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps and Iran’s Quds force as serv­ing Washington’s in­ter­ests in pre­vent­ing the Is­lamic state from tak­ing power. This has over­shad­owed other re­al­i­ties that Iran is con­tribut­ing to rad­i­cal­iz­ing the con­flict, which has led to a death toll of ap­prox­i­mately 400,000 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to the UN spe­cial en­voy for Syria.

Iran con­tin­ues to send its IRGC, as well as pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port, and mil­i­tary as­sis­tance to Bashar al-As­sad. In Ye­men, Iran band­wag­ons on the Houthi’s suc­cess, in­creas­ing its arms as­sis­tance, and cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the con­flict in or­der to ratchet up its strate­gic and geopo­lit­i­cal lever­age, par­tic­u­larly near the bor­der of Saudi Ara­bia. Other pow­ers Euro­pean pow­ers have em­pha­sized us­ing Iran as an al­ter­na­tive to re­duce their en­ergy de­pen­dence on Rus­sia. Ac­cord­ing to Tas­nim news agency, the com­mer­cial di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Ira­nian Tanker Com­pany (NITC) pointed out re­cently that its fleet will re­turn to Euro­pean ports next month af­ter a five year ab­sence. Iran’s oil sale to Europe has al­ready reached half of pre­sanc­tion lev­els. In ad­di­tion, sim­i­lar to the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, Euro­pean pow­ers in­clud­ing Ger­many, France, and the UK, fa­vor the ar­gu­ment that de­fines Iran’s mil­i­tary role in other coun­tries as a coun­ter­bal­ance to ISIS, rather than fu­el­ing and rad­i­cal­iz­ing the re­gional con­flicts. —Cour­tesy: AA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.