News Analysis |
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei has stated that America is the cause of instability in the region and its fight again the ISIS was a sham.
Last week, Armed assailants and suicide bombers attacked the Iranian Majlis and the mausoleum of the revered Ayatullah Khamenei, who happens to not only be a symbol of Iran’s identity but a cult figure for Shiites across the world. 17 people were killed while scores were injured. The attack was claimed boisterously by the Islamic State.
Khamenei’s hardline approach towards the US have had many buyers in the past and they are increasing by the day. The US is seemingly ignoring the common enemy in ISIS.
“You (the United States) and your agents are the source of instability in the Middle East…who created Islamic State? America … America’s claim of fighting against Islamic State is a lie,” Khamenei said in a meeting with high-ranking Iranian officials, according to his official website.
Iran and the US are on a collision course since the revolution of 1979 and the enmity between the two countries does not seem to abate.
Last week a war of words again heated up the temperature between the two countries. Khamenei accused the United States of causing ruckus in the region. In his scathing remarks last Friday, Khamenei talked of what he considered as the evil nexus between the US and Saudi Arabia.
“It will not damage our nation’s determination to fight terrorism … but will only increase hatred for the governments of the United States and their stooges in the region like Saudis,” Khamenei said in a message read at the funeral of victims of the attacks.”
Trump, who not only is a harsh critic of Iran but also cajoled all states to isolate and punish Iran for its leading role in terrorism all over the world. Trump’s piecemeal condemnation of the Tehran attacks was not taken well by Iran.
The statement released by the White House Press Secretary read “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times. We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”
This was castigated by Iranians with their foreign minister, Javed Zarif calling it repugnant.
It could not have come at a worse time. The division between two perennial rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia is getting deeper.
As Arab countries severed diplomatic ties with Qatar over its ties with Iran and support for terrorism, Iran rushed in to provide food and air routes to Doha. On Monday, five planes full of food supplies landed at the Doha airport with Iran planning to send more. Turkey has also openly lent its support to Doha as the Parliament has ratified troop deployment in the tiny Gulf Country.
The US despite offering good offices continues to mount pressure on Qatar and calls it a supporter of terrorism.
Is the US fighting the ISIS?
Regional tensions stoked to higher degrees and so do ties between Iran and the US. It seems that the beneficiary of this tiff is none other than the virulent ISIS. Logically speaking, ISIS poses much more threats to Iran than any other country. One, that Iran is a center of the Shiite version of Islam, something which ISIS has deemed heresy. Two, that Iran is in the lead when it comes to taking on ISIS is concerned, be it in Syria or Iraq. However, despite considering ISIS an enemy, the US is averse on Iranian role in Syria and Iraq and calls it an attempt to destabilize the region and increase its sphere of influence.
“The American government is against an independent Iran … They have problems with the existence of the Islamic Republic of Iran…Most of our problems with them cannot be resolved. America is a terrorist country and backs terrorism … therefore, we cannot normalize ties with such country,”
US’s unwillingness to fight ISIS in a concerted manner raises eyebrows and gives support to voices which call it a deliberate effort to keep the pot boiling. Targeting fighting elements which were on a surge against ISIS in Syria is a case in point followed by its refusal to cooperate with Russia in tackling ISIS are two glaring examples.
Khamenei’s hardline approach towards the US have had many buyers in the past and they are increasing by the day. The US is seemingly ignoring the common enemy in ISIS. Showing cognizance to this is important if the US is actually gunning for the ISIS. But the blithe anti-Iran rhetoric from the US and its allies has strengthened the case of hardliners in Iran.
Khamenei categorically said that Iran doesn’t seek good ties with the United States.
“The American government is against an independent Iran … They have problems with the existence of the Islamic Republic of Iran…Most of our problems with them cannot be resolved. America is a terrorist country and backs terrorism … therefore, we cannot normalize ties with such country,” he said.
This is an extreme position but is matched by that of the US. A good start in cooperating over the ISIS menace can help assuage Iran’s fear. However, it is not wrong to argue that open cooperation with Iran will eventually bother America’s principle ally in Israel. Hence the Middle East situation is likely to simmer further.