Describing Iran as ‘honourable’ dishonours the memory of its victims

Rather than showing goodwill to its Arab neighbours, Iran has actively antagonised them for decades.

Complicated influence. A picture of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) adorns a military vehicle as fighters from the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) deploy in al-Nibaie area, north-west of Baghdad. (AFP)


2017/10/01 Issue: 125 Page: 15


The Arab Weekly
Tallha Abdulrazaq



Qatari State Minister for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad al- Muraikhi, at the 148th Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting, incensed much of the Arab and Islamic world by describing Iran as “an honourable country.”

Muraikhi said Arab countries boycotting Doha and critical of its policies were “rabid dogs” but Iran had proven itself to be honourable throughout Qatar’s bitter dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

For Qatar to publicly, formally and officially describe Iran as an “honourable country” in the Arab world’s foremost forum is a disgrace. Irrespective of the crisis between Qatar and its opponents, nothing that has happened can possibly justify Doha’s formal endorsement of Iran.

To describe Iran as “honour­able” is to imply that Iran harbours nothing but goodwill towards the Arab world, that it is an active partner for peace and that it has no desire to export the religious fundamentalism of the Islamic Re­public’s founding father, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. However, it is obvious that Iran is no friend to the Arabs but a deeply imperialistic, sectarian regime.

Rather than showing goodwill to its Arab neighbours, Iran has actively antagonised them for decades. Even before Khomeini took power, the shah he overthrew — Mohammad Reza Pahlavi — in­vaded three Arab islets that belong to the United Arab Emirates and to this day Iran illegally occupies them.

The Greater and Lesser Tunbs isles as well as the islet of Abu Musa were forcibly occupied by Iran in 1971, with the native Arab population deported. Rather than return the isles to their rightful owners following the overthrow of the shah in 1979, Khomeini and his successors have continued their illegal military occupation and use them to threaten the strategic Ara­bian Gulf waterway and the nearby Strait of Hormuz, where one-fifth of global oil stocks passes.

Iran has not even shown mercy to its indigenous Arab citizens, the Ahwazi Arabs who make up the majority of the population in south-western Iran, particularly in Khuzestan province. The Ahwa­zis have long been discriminated against by Tehran, which actively attempts to destroy their Arab identity. Even though many Ahwa­zis are Shia, their powerful Persian coreligionists in government feel threatened by their Arab identity and actively usurp their oil-rich lands, polluting their homeland and prevent them from speaking Arabic.

This has led to an Ahwazi Arab resistance against Iranian Persian chauvinism that has led to the plunder and death of many Arabs, who should be considered as breth­ren to the Qataris and deserving of Doha’s support.

Last, but certainly not least, Iran is the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism. Iran supports sectari­an extremist Shia jihadists, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the myriad militias that constitute the Popular Mobilisation Forces in Iraq, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and other terrorist groups in Syria, all in the name of supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Iran has masterfully, if despica­bly, used terrorist organisations to wage an expansionist campaign across the Arab and Islamic world, with many of the groups guilty of egregious war crimes, crimes against humanity and sectar­ian cleansing campaigns, mostly against Sunni Arabs.

Considering Iran’s multifaceted approach to killing, colonising, invading and tearing apart Arab and Muslim communities through­out the region, it is nothing short of dishonourable for the Qataris to describe Iran as an honourable country.

While it is obvious that the Iranian people themselves are not to blame for the actions of their despotic and criminal rulers, it is equally clear that Qatar’s praise of Iran was directed towards the mullahs and not the people. Such unwarranted praise disgraces and shames Qatar and dishonours the memory of the hundreds of thousands of innocents that Iran has killed and continues to murder throughout the region, many of whom are the Qataris’ kinsmen and brothers in religion and culture.


Tallha Abdulrazaq is a researcher at the University of Exeter’s Strategy and Security Institute in England.


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