01.12.2019 Author: Viktor Mikhin

Persian Gulf: What Is Happening In This Region?


Once President Donald Trump realized that he could not change the situation in the Persian Gulf or force Iran to yield by military means, he resorted to his favorite approaches: political extortion, scaremongering and deceptive aggressive propaganda. And even if at first, his actions, to an extent, struck a chord or found a receptive audience in the region, nowadays, most Arab leaders have begun to more and more fully comprehend how egocentric and pushy Washington’s policy is at its very core. Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm (a London-based Arab online newspaper), has a perfectly reasonable opinion about all this. He thinks that the fear-mongering propaganda fixated on the Iranian threat, spun by the United States, is no longer credible, especially if one factors in the rapid pace of political change in the region; Iran’s just battle to defend its rights, and the strengthening of ties between Tehran and its neighbors.  According to Abdel Bari Atwan, it is becoming quite clear that the coastal nations of the Persian Gulf (or more accurately most of them) are gradually escaping the reach of America’s cheap propaganda (meant to elicit fear among them towards Iran), and are beginning to open up communication channels to negotiate with Tehran and resolve any differences via talks, which is indeed a wise policy. One of the arguments he has used in support of his viewpoint is the fact that even Saudi Arabia, which, in the past, was openly hostile towards Tehran, is currently engaging mediators to establish closer ties with Iran’s Ayatollah and conducting secret negotiations with the Ansar Allah movement (banned in the Russian Federation) in Yemen.

Hence, we may now safely state that the current US administration has been actively promoting false propaganda against Iran and its role in the region from the very first day it came to power. However, Tehran has always highlighted the defensive nature of its military strategy; the desire to develop its nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes, and its willingness to help other nations in the region to combat terrorist organizations. During his speech at a ceremony to mark the start of the construction of the second and third reactors at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in the southern port of Bushehr, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), stated that his nation was prepared to cooperate with and help the countries of the Persian Gulf in the sphere of peaceful use of nuclear technology. He also added that Tehran was prepared to share the experience it had gained with its neighbors. Spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova affirmed Russia’s willingness to continue its collaboration in Bushehr despite unlawful US sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic of Iran. She stated that the construction work at the Bushehr nuclear power plant was “the Russian flagship project in Iran.” The Spokeswoman also noted that the Russian Federation was fully complying with all of its obligations despite difficulties of doing business as a result of US sanctions.

Al-Quds-Al-Arabi, a fairly influential Arab newspaper, has reported on more than one occasion that those Arab nations banking only on Washington and simultaneously attempting to establish close ties with Israel under the pretext of countering the Iranian threat are simply exhibiting their stupidity and lack of wisdom.    According to the newspaper, the idea that a confrontation with Iran has to mean unanimity with a Zionist regime and a normalization of relations with Tel Aviv stems only from Israel and benefits only the Israeli government.   The newspaper’s reporter believes that Israel has been using regional developments to its benefit for many years now. He thinks that its recent accomplishments stemming from Israel’s ability to take advantage of Arab religious wars in the region and the spread of Iranophobia, which some Arab nations have succumbed to and spent millions of dollars as a result thereof, are all temporary success stories for Tel Aviv and its master Washington for the time being. Experts think that Benjamin Netanyahu’s current statements about the serious threat posed by Iran’s nuclear escalation should be viewed in the context of his desire to remain in the post of Prime Minister and nothing else.

Israel, needless to say, is doing everything in its power to pit the United States or Saudi Arabia against Iran, and to try and drag them into a military confrontation. Incidentally, US officials often talk about this possibility despite their President Donald Trump’s statements to the contrary. The US leader has said that he does not wish to involve US armed forces not only in wars against Iran but also in any other military escapades in the Middle East. And for now, the President of the United States has been actively supplying the region with newer and newer batches of weapons, and imposing one sanction after another against Iran thus attempting to destroy this nation from within.

In the meantime, American officials who have visited Israel have been telling Israelis exactly what they want to hear. For instance, during a press briefing with Israeli journalists, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker was at first unable to credit Donald Trump with such (pro-Israeli) statements and said that the US President was doing everything in his power to avoid a military confrontation with Iran. However, later on he smoothed their potentially ruffled feathers with the following comment: “Patience toward Iran won’t last forever,” and this particular opinion was what made headlines in all of the Israeli newspapers.

The Israel Hayom daily has openly stated that David Schenker’s words fell in line with recent remarks by another US official “with ties to the administration,” and served as a warning that the United States “could attack Iran before the presidential elections in the US in another year.” Even Saudi newspapers which also published David Schenker’s viewpoint concluded that sooner or later the Pentagon would start military action against Iran, and this brought temporary calm (of sorts) among the royal rulers.

However for now, the United States dare not attack Iran because they are well aware of the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully prepared to defend itself from any form of aggression. In fact, Abbas Araghchi, the Political Deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, expressed the general view held by the Iranian leadership in the following, far from diplomatic manner: “We are fully prepared to defend the country and the Americans know this issue so according to my opinion they don’t dare to attack us and so we believe that no war will break out in the region.”As for Russia’s stance on this complex conflict, it is worth noting that quite obviously, unlike the aggressor Washington intent on using only force to achieve its aims, Moscow is always eager to find a peaceful resolution to any disputes. In fact, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin said that Russia would exert maximum efforts in order to create conditions conductive to movement towards positive outcomes. He then stated that, in his opinion, the Russian Federation enjoyed good relations with Iran, as well as with the rest of the Arab world, and urged other parties to take Iran’s national interests into account when engaging in dialogue with it. Vladimir Putin added that a large nation such as Iran, established thousands of years ago, obviously had its own interests which ought to be respected, and that it was essential to foster dialogue as without it resolving any issues would be impossible. In the opinion of the Russian President only nations involved could solve problems plaguing their relations with each other.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciencesexclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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