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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND

mab@hurriyet.com.tr

MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > Iran has become the most important player in the region

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Iran has been fighting to obtain nuclear energy for years. But a large portion of its neighbors are skeptical because just one step removed from nuclear energy is a nuclear bomb. Iran’s real intentions are assumed to be its desire to become a “nuclear power.”

However many assurances Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei gives and despite the fact that he says it is a sin according to Islam to produce “weapons of mass destruction,” he cannot make anyone believe him. Because nobody trusts Tehran.

It should not be forgotten that Iran has also contributed a lot to this mistrust. Its efforts to export its revolution in the 1980s, confronting Sunni Arabs, primarily Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, as well as its policy of attempting to destroy Israel, created adequate doubt and concern in the region.

Nowadays, Iran is also on the front lines again with the Syria struggle. It is fighting against the “Western” front. It is supporting Bashar al-Assad.
 
Iran also does not trust the ‘West’
When viewed from the viewpoint of the “West,” Iran looks like a “devil.”

Nobody wants to understand this country’s security needs. Since 1979, Tehran has had a serious security issue. They believe that the United States and its allies are plotting to capture the country at any time. Several incidents have proved the Iranians right in this regard.

If Iran actually wants to be a “nuclear power,” a significant reason for this is to resist the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf countries and to form an alliance with its other Shiite neighbors.

Tehran’s wish is to obtain assurances that its security will not be breached, primarily by the U.S., and that it is respected as a country.

Iran is very skeptical in international relations. It does not trust anyone. Russia and China are on its list of “not to be trusted” as much as the West. Also, in negotiations, its only wish is to be respected, to be treated equally.

Up until now, in nuclear talks, the “West” front, instead of diplomacy-dialogue (especially with Israel’s provocation) used the stick-sanction option, in such a way that Iran was somehow pushed to become a “nuclear power.”

If one day we find a “nuclear Iran” before us, the real responsible party for this will be the U.S.-Israel-Arab alliance rather than Tehran.

Iran won’t sacrifice Syria for Turkey
Turkish-Iranian relations have never been flawless. Both sides have tried to manage each other as much as possible.

The convergence during the Justice and Development Party (AKP) era has been jeopardized because of the differences of opinion on Syria. The main reason for this is that Iran does not want to let go of al-Assad.

Al-Assad, together with Lebanon, carries Iran to the Mediterranean. When Iraq is also included in the picture, then Syria forms the most precious link of the Shiite chain that Tehran cherishes. Because, it calculates that only through this can it resist the United States, Israel and the Sunni Arab alliance.

When relations with Turkey are viewed from that angle, the problem automatically emerges: For Tehran, the AK Party is a member of the Sunni alliance and al-Assad will not be sacrificed to maintain bilateral relations.

Again, let’s not forget that everything remains connected to the position of the Syrian opposition; if al-Assad cannot hold on, there is nothing Iran can do.

August/03/2012

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