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Wednesday , June 16 2021

What peace has Zarif in mind … ‘zero’ diplomacy or the hegemony of the Revolutionary Guards?

THE admission of the Vice-President of Iran Eshaq Jahangiri — which comes five years late — that the storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran in 2016 was a “betrayal of his people”, indicates that the Mullahs regime has not yet reached the stage of being a state of actual institutions.

Rather, it is a state of conflicting sectarian factions; each side has its own decision, while the main player continues to be the Revolutionary Guards.

The Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif revealed that his ministry has no role in the decisions that concern the region. Instead, the main player was late Qassem Soleimani, and after him came the Revolutionary Guard Command. Most of the structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a security issue, and Zarif’s role is non-existent or zero.

Based on this fact, there are many questions that Tehran is required to give clear answers, instead of coupling answers with implementable commitments. This is because the region is currently swinging between war and peace as a result of the Revolutionary Guards’ provocative practices in the region, particularly the Gulf region.

Based on these data, what Muhammad Jawad Zarif heard in the Arab capitals he visited, most recently Kuwait, throws the ball into his country’s court. So will Iran continue with the vengeful policy that Khomeini established after his coup against Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi? Or will it step out of that cloak and seek normal relations with its neighbors and the world?

Here in the Gulf, we believe that the statements of Iranian political officials are not reliable. The result of the bitter experiences of the four-decade Mullahs rule and the stances are simply maneuvers to buy more time.

In this regard, it would be useful to go back to the year 1979 when all countries in the region welcomed the new regime at that time. All that Khomeini was supposed to do was reciprocate in a positive manner. However, he deliberately provoked those countries and sought to ignite the Iraq-Iran war, which lasted for eight years at a cost of the lives of four million people and many wounded and displaced people in both countries.

This war cost $600 billion just to get back at the Iraqi regime, which expelled him after he violated the norms and rules of political asylum, at a time when some of the regime’s leaders were talking a lot about good neighborly relations in the region.

Khomeini responded to that situation by spreading terrorism in the Gulf region. He sought to take revenge against Kuwait, which rejected his asylum request, through his agent cells. These agent cells carried out a series of bombings that affected civilians and innocent people, including the assassination attempt on the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad, and hijacking of aircraft. Unfortunately, Khomeini’s policy continued after his death through espionage and terrorism cells, the last of which is the so-called “Abdali Cell”.

As a result of these bitter experiences, building trust between Tehran and the Arab capitals, particularly the Gulf capitals, is on a difficult and bumpy path. Tehran must prove that it is really seeking striving for normal relations with its neighbors.

However, this would be difficult, and perhaps impossible, for Iran to prove as it has not yet refused to abandon the slogan of the so-called “exporting the revolution”. It considers this as a sacred mission, for which it has spent $150 billion on terrorist militias in the region over the past forty years. Despite all the failure it suffered, it is still betting on the mirage of the possibility of succeeding in achieving such a goal.

Unfortunately, the ruling oligarchy in Iran has not learned from the lessons of the past. After its failure for 18 years in Iraq, these Shiite militias, which are employed in a sectarian project, are continuing to fragment Iraq. In Lebanon, on the other hand, Hezbollah has not been able, despite all the terror projects, to establish the Islamic state that its leaders had declared as its founding objective. Indeed, its practice has rendered the Shiite community pay a very high price.

As for Yemen, where Iran entered through the window of sectarian discrimination, it is today reaping its bitterness and disappointment, as it did not succeed in infiltrating the Saudi borders and reach the holy places and palaces of the House of Saud like the way it had been announcing for years.

Iran has not been able to break up Saudi Arabia. Its drones and missiles are being intercepted by the Saudi Arabia’s air defenses. This means that Iran has not yet changed any of its realistic characters.

Irrespective of the considerations that govern Iran’s political behavior, there is no solution in the region except good neighborhood principles, which stems from the fact that the unity of decision in Tehran must be through legal structures. It must abandon its expansionist scheme and the doctrine of “exporting the revolution”.

Iran should stop interfering in the affairs of its neighboring countries … Otherwise, everything that happens today, either through balloons of political maneuver or indirect negotiations with the Americans, is a prerequisite to the presidential election battle, in which there is no doubt that those who control security, the military and the economy will win. All this is in the hands of the Revolutionary Guards.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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