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The Saudi FM’s response to Iranian slander

The absence of wisdom from Iranian politics has worsened regional problems. Tehran thinks if it tells the same lies again and again, people will eventually believe it

Turki Aldakhil

Published: Updated:

The Iranian consul in Belgium tried to tamper with history. He wanted to throw dust in the eyes when he spoke of Saudi Arabia’s supposed involvement with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, the only proof he found is that Al-Qaeda’s late leader Osama bin Laden was Saudi. It is akin to the consul accusing Britain, France, Germany and the United States of supporting ISIS because their citizens are among its ranks.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir’s response was to concisely narrate Iran’s history of terrorism, and how it harbored Al-Qaeda leaders and supported the organization. The Sept. 11 hijackers passed easily through Iran.

Jubeir reminded the world of historical facts: “Didn’t Iran attack more than a dozen embassies in Iran in violation of all international laws? We didn’t attack them. Iran did. Didn’t Iran manage, plan and execute the 1996 Khobar Towers attack against American marines? Yes it did… The top three leaders of the plot escaped and have been living in Iran ever since.”

Iran shelters senior Al-Qaeda figure Saif al-Adel. In a letter published on May 26, 2005, Adel - who gave orders from Iran to carry out the Al-Hamra explosions in Riyadh on May 12, 2003 - narrated the story of fleeing from Afghanistan: “We began to arrive to Iran one after the other. Brothers in the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates [UAE], who were outside Afghanistan, had arrived there before us. They had plenty of money.

The absence of wisdom from Iranian politics has worsened regional problems. Tehran thinks if it tells the same lies again and again, people will eventually believe it

Turki Aldakhil

“We formed a central command and [other branches], and began to rent apartments to house the brothers and some of their families. The brothers in the [Hezb-e-Islami] group of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar provided good help to us. They provided apartments and some of the farms they owned.”

In a letter by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in June 2005 and published by the United States in October that year, he wrote: “Shiite Iran harbors around 100 Al-Qaeda members.”

Tehran’s reaction to Jubeir’s response was harsh. “It will take time to subjugate you,” said Iranian Ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi, “The depletion of oil revenues and financial pressures will benefit in stopping your financial support of terrorism, extremism and genocide.”

State relations

Iran does not understand the language of states. Kneeling and submitting are not concepts to be proposed for relations between countries. Crises are resolved by agreements, initiatives, dialogue and negotiation.

The absence of wisdom from Iranian politics has worsened regional problems. Tehran thinks if it tells the same lies again and again, people will eventually believe it. Meanwhile, genocide is being committed by its Revolutionary Guards against Syrians, and by Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria.

A saying by Persian poet Saadi al-Shirazi applies to Iran’s current government: “Shame on me and an aggression against people, if I preach when my heart is a harsh boulder.”

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on July 26, 2016.

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Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.