Tehran’s government is trying to transform the armed attack in Ahwaz that happened a few days ago into a national cause, and to consider it an attack on the nation (Ummah), not just an attack targeting the state.
It wants to exploit the attack to unite the ranks behind the besieged regime. The government, however, has a bigger worry than a single armed operation in Ahwaz as the incident is just another terror attack and our region is full of such incidents, in Egypt’s Sinai, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and others. They all suffer from terrorism.
The most dangerous attack which the Iranian regime fears and which threatens its existence began months ago, and it’s the economic siege. This siege will reach a phase where it further pains the government when the oil purchase ban and preventing the regime from using the dollar are implemented.
Hassan Rouhani’s government has raised its voice claiming that the Ahwaz attack was a Gulf-Israeli-American plan that aims to shake stability. These are intentional allegations, as an attack like this does not shake the regimeAbdulrahman al-Rashed
In addition to the seriously harmful economic repercussions, this siege puts the Iranian people in a confrontation with the regime, and this is unlike the previous American and international boycott as back then the regime partially succeeded in convincing the ordinary Iranian people that the sanctions against it were a conspiracy that target its power and capabilities.
This time, however, implementing the siege comes after two major popular uprisings against the regime: The Green Movement, which erupted in 2009 in major cities to protest the forged elections and the protests last year when demonstrations were held in cities and rural areas that are harmed by the state’s economic policies and security oppression.
Hassan Rouhani’s government has raised its voice claiming that the Ahwaz attack was a Gulf-Israeli-American plan that aims to shake stability. These are intentional allegations, as an attack like this does not shake the regime but the Iranian government is leading a political propaganda to intimidate 80 million Iranians into believing that terrorism is targeting them and not the government that will defend them.
The regime has previously tried to mislead the Iranian public opinion when it began its wide interferences in Syria around five years ago. It justified its interference by stating that it was in Syria to protect Shiite shrines and that defending the Damascus regime is a defense of Iran’s security and stability and that ISIS will reach Iran if it does not fight it in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.
The result is that Iran’s involvement in these areas increased in quantity and quality. Iranians who were forced to fight to defend political regimes outside their countries were killed, and the mad war cost the Iranian governments billions of dollars at a time when the country was going through a dangerous economic hardship. As time passed by, the truth became clear to the Iranians so they revolted against the government. The slogans raised at protests spoke out against involvement in foreign wars and demanded to stop squandering money on Hezbollah, Assad and Hamas.
As for the Ahwaz attack itself, it did not come as a surprise to the Tehran regime and it is like United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said to Iran after the attack: “Look in the mirror,” i.e. the violence that happened in Ahwaz resembles it. Violence brings violence and the Iranian authorities are the ones that fund it and support it in Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and other areas, and it’s normal that it turns against them.
If the Iranian government is serious about resolving the roots of violence, it would have given up on supporting these groups in other countries. Iran to this day rejects to hand over wanted men from Al-Qaeda and other groups, and it defies the world by supporting them.
It celebrates terrorists like Khalid Islambouli, the murderer of Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, and it has named a major street in Tehran after him. It has given prominent terror figures like Saif al-Adel and the Khobar Towers’ bombers the right to reside in Iran and work there. Iran’s adoption of the propaganda to blame others is escaping forward and Iran’s problem will remain in Tehran and in its insistence on its military adventures in the region, support of extremist groups and interferences in other countries’ affairs.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.