Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Iran Has Been Full Of Them

Even though those following Iranian developments have become used to reading strange ‎and usual news about Iran during the past three years, still some events do come as a ‎surprise. Among these is the news that the new secretary of Iran’s Supreme National ‎Security Council told Solana, the EU foreign policy tsar in their first message, that he ‎was not bound by the words of his predecessor, Ali Larijani.

Another one is about the a ‎photograph that shows Mr Ahmadinejad smiling under the banner of the “Arabian State ‎of the Gulf Cooperation Council” in Doha. The members of the Gulf Cooperation ‎Council (GCC) have always refrained from adding the adjective Arabian to the name of ‎this association, because of the differences that have existed between Iran and the Arab ‎states to the south about the name of the Persian Gulf. Iran has relied on historic ‎documents which have called the waterway Persian Gulf, while the Arabs domestically at ‎least call it the Arabian Gulf. So the name was in a way a compromise. But even this ‎small alteration is sufficient to provide our southern neighbors with an important ‎document and evidence for their purposes, and which could lead to colossal negative ‎consequences for Iran, even though the government’s propaganda machinery has claimed ‎a victory for preventing them from using the term Arabian in its name.‎

One should note that when the new administration came to power the new chief nuclear ‎negotiator Ali Larijani is not recorded to have ever said that he did not accept the views ‎of his predecessors, despite all his criticism of the way his predecessors had pursued the ‎nuclear issue. Imagine what would happen to the world and relations among countries if ‎new governments rejected outright what their predecessors had said or undertaken. The ‎Islamic Republic too has recognized the agreements and arrangements made by the ‎monarchy and the government’s position on Bahrain is a clear example, despite the ‎remarks by a cleric in the early days of the Republic who made territorial claims on the ‎island, whose independence was recognized by Iran in the seventies following its ‎referendum. Similarly Saddam Hussein could not get the agreement of the Islamic ‎Republic in its drive to abrogate the 1975 agreement that put a new land and river ‎demarcation between the countries. Similarly Iran’s debts and foreign investments were ‎recognized by foreign governments through the principle of state succession. In light of ‎this, one wonders how to interpret Mr. Saeed Jalili’s recent remarks.‎

Mr. Ahmadinejad seems to have an agenda with a daily gush of propaganda surprises, ‎regardless of their impact on the country’s national security. He seems to believe that ‎these shockers can be translated into national pride! His approach is similar to the late ‎ayatollah Khomeini’s, after whose death Le Monde wrote about his three million man ‎funeral procession, “The final bombshell of a man who shocked the world for ten years.”‎

The first time the unconventional views of Iran’s revolutionaries about world issues ‎reached the public was when former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and British ‎officials who met the ayatollah on the outskirts of Paris reported these back to their ‎respective countries. And of course this brought about unconventional responses from ‎them as well. But many subsequent events only confirmed this trend, i.e. that what they ‎are witnessing is a new regime with new tools and methods to advance its interests and ‎interact with the world, none of which had any records or precedents in the national ‎archives of the West. And as Western observers, analysts, politicians and statesmen were ‎searching for answers, more shocks came out of the pipeline. The take over of the US ‎embassy in Tehran, the failure of the hostage rescue mission, the secret trips of Iranian ‎officials to Europe over the hostage issue and other desires, the abandonment of the ‎Iranian elements recruited to provide logistical support in the hostage rescue mission, are ‎among the numerous shockers provided by Iranians. Among the greatest most recent ones ‎is when the CIA discovered and announced that the young man who had just been elected ‎the new President of Iran was the very same person who had been present at the US ‎embassy in Tehran when it was run over by the so called students in 1980 and argued ‎over first taking over the Russian rather than the US embassy first. ‎

The other shock worth mentioning is about the participation of Iran’s president in a ‎meeting of an organization which the Iranian national radio and television, among other ‎state run propaganda agencies, proudly claims to be the “Persian Gulf Cooperation ‎Council”, while photographs and the large emblem hanging over the head of Mr. ‎Ahmadinejad read “The Arabian Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.” ‎

This is not an insignificant event and we may soon see others making reference to it. The ‎President’s supporters have proclaimed it a victory that they had succeeded in changing ‎the name of this regional grouping. State run Keyhan newspaper has even called for a ‎national holiday on the victory. It called for a similar celebration when the Caspian Sea ‎littoral states met in Tehran and claimed that the fact that the event was held in Tehran ‎was a great victory. Regarding the GCC meeting in Doha, Keyhan said the meeting was ‎thumbing the nose at the organizers of the meeting in Annapolis in the US. The ‎newspaper then asked, with the conference in Doha, could an alliance be expected ‎between the Arabs and the US against Iran. It continues to argue that while the Arab ‎invitation of Ahmadinejad to the GCC meeting does not signal the resolution of all ‎outstanding issues between the southern Arab states and Iran, it is a great leap towards ‎this end, at the same time indicating the failure of the US to widen the gap between Iran ‎and the Arabs while not being an alliance among the Islamic states either. And while the ‎US is committed to isolate Iran, it continues, it should be noted that it will never be able ‎to stop Iran from remaining and perhaps even growing as a powerful Islamic symbol in ‎the Middle East and the world. The path to defeating Iran is getting narrow by the day.‎

But while Keyhan does not expect a response to its claims, it may be said that, “An ‎alliance against Iran has already been formed because of Ahmadinejad’s policies. Iran’s ‎greatness has nothing to do with any specific government or regime and this prevents the ‎Arab sheikhs from executing their wishes. But you have taken every possible action to ‎weaken Iran, none of which will be effective. What the Arab nations saw of Iran a few ‎days ago is that its government hides from its people the fact that its President ‎participated in a meeting in Doha out of fear of its own people. You can lie as much as ‎you like but by going to those who are taking away gas from South Pars fields in the ‎Persian Gulf, and who will not diminish their claims on the three islands in the waterway, ‎you will not change their claims. And what is more is that you are even proposing to ‎provide the water and gas needs of these very people. One must ask you, why do they get ‎preference over the Iranian people in the south who lack similar basics. Is this what they ‎deserve for defending their motherland in a bloody war a quarter of a century ago?‎

Flattery surrounds the current Administration and Hamid Reza Taraghi’s (belonging to an ‎official of the Hezbe Motalefe) is exemplary, when he writes, “In view of the fact that ‎this council is primarily in the hands of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, the invitation ‎that they extended to the President of the Islamic Republic is an indication that they have ‎accepted Iran as a neighboring member and also that the name of the waterway is the ‎Persian Gulf, signaling their retreat from their previous position vis-à-vis Iran.”‎

Even Khomeini had in his talks said that the differences and purpose that those in power, ‎and his supporters had, was because of their own personal greed and goals, and had ‎nothing to do with Islam. Similarly, when current authorities make humongous claims of ‎advancing national interest, they are in fact simply pursuing their personal goals and ‎ambitions.‎