What has Kim Jong-Un done to Khamenei?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

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Tehran’s supreme guide and officials are definitely going through a difficult test. Apart from the US administration’s threats to reapply economic sanctions on the regime, the collapse of its major nuclear ally, North Korea, is a loss that’s tantamount to a disaster.

True, as until now I have not heard one serious commentator who is pleased with the meeting and the historical reconciliation between the North Korean and South Korean leaders or who believes that this reconciliation will achieve the end of war and tensions, as announced by both leaders.

Although skepticism is the master of the situation, developments in the Korean Peninsula are among the Iranian regime’s calculations. What if the North Korean president really decides to end the state of war – although until now, we still do not understand why he altered his policy, that is if he really did?

Let’s assume that what he said expresses a new policy and that North Korea made up its mind and decided to transform into a nuclear-free peaceful country and reconcile with its sister South Korea, what will happen to Iran?

What’s happening is tantamount to a massive political coup and is a major international affair which repercussions will reach faraway areas, including our region.

Two countries have preoccupied the international community and threatened peace: North Korea and Iran. With Pyongyang’s withdrawal, Tehran will remain on its own and it will be easy to pressure it and force it to stop its nuclear program and amend its bad regional behavior. The impact of the news alone will weaken Iran and strengthen the US and its allies.

However the problem that everyone confronts is the North Korean leaders’ intentions which many doubt.

A charade?

In politics, trust and credibility are two rare currencies and as precious as gemstones. Since North Korea lied about the previous pledges which it had made in exchange of lifting the western economic siege, we fear it’s repeating that same charade via a more interesting performance.

Three reasons make Kim Jong-Un a liar in the eyes of his rivals. First of all, last time he promised to stop his nuclear program in exchange of ending the economic siege but he did not keep his word. Secondly, he succeeded in developing his military capabilities and it’s thus difficult to imagine that he decided to give them up. Finally, he relies on superior military power and technology to guarantee his rule and it’s thus difficult to believe that he will subject his governance to demise by giving up on this power.

Some think China is behind this change. US President Donald Trump has noted China’s role and acknowledged that this major breakthrough would not have been if it hadn’t been for the support of the Chinese leadership. Beijing can provide the required guarantees but he’s aware that China is not a guaranteed guarantor.

Therefore, with the absence of information about the justifications of the white North Korean coup, we are confused and skeptic but we hope this dream is true and that the world gets rid of this threat represented in the North Korean nuclear power. We hope the Iranian command benefits from this experience, learns from Kim Jong-un and gets rid of its nuclear weapons, gives up its military adventures and transforms into a major civil economic power in the region and competes with us in education, construction, manufacture and entertainment.

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

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