'Saudi and Persian Gulf states share Israel's concerns about Iran hegemony'

Gold: Arab leaders are “laying out a case against Iranian actions, and we are seeing it expressed over and over by Arab leaders.”

August 25, 2016 20:28
2 minute read.
Thousand of Basij soldiers stage mock seige of Temple Mount in Iran

Thousand of Basij soldiers stage mock seige of Temple Mount in Iran. (photo credit: FARS)


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Israel and the Gulf states share the exact same perception of Iran’s desire for regional hegemony, Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold said, explaining why he retweeted on Thursday a fivemonth old article from the Dubai-based Gulf News.

The article, headlined, “Arab ministers condemn Iran’s hegemony drive,” reports on a meeting of Arab interior ministers held in Tunisia in March.

“The Iranian interference is considered to be a threat to a number of countries in the region,” Bahrain’s Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa was quoted as saying. “Their interference includes support for terrorism, promoting chaos, and political interference.

The goal is to achieve Persian domination over Arabism with the use of the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.

Even Iran’s media groups play a role.”

Gold said Israel was listening to the Arab discourse about Iranian intentions “with great interest, because it gives you a perspective about how others are seeing the same challenges that we face, and that the bottom line is that Iran is driven by a goal of achieving regional hegemony.”

Arab leaders are “laying out a case against Iranian actions, and we are seeing it expressed over and over by Arab leaders,” he said.

For instance, Gold pointed out that in July, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Abdel al-Jubeir told Politico, “Iran is on a rampage. It wants to reestablish the Persian Empire, as crazy as that sounds because it’s been dead for centuries.”

Gold said this discourse is something Israel is watching and monitoring very carefully.

“I think the challenges Israel faces with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iranian- backed Hamas in the Gaza Strip are a subset of a much larger problem which all Middle East states are facing, and which emanates directly from Tehran,” he said. “We are watching what they are saying, and it is fascinating because that is exactly the perception we have in Israel.”

When making the case internationally about Iran’s designs, Gold said it is important to be able to raise the views of other countries and “point out that Iran is not only Israel’s problem, but also a problem for the whole region.”

There was a tendency by some in the world to ignore and overlook Iran’s destabilizing role in the region, and “you find these expressions by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states as very important to us,” he said.

The issue of Iran’s deleterious regional role is likely to be high on the agenda when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travels to the UN General Assembly in New York next month. His speech there, which in years past has focused on Iran’s nuclear designs, is likely to underline how Tehran is responsible for much of the current turmoil in the Middle East.

The prime minister will be in New York for four days, from September 20 to 24, and is expected to meet with a long line of foreign leaders on the sidelines of the General Assembly, though nothing has yet been made public. No meeting has yet been scheduled with US President Barack Obama.

Netanyahu is slated to speak to the UN on September 22.

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