Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talks with reporters before meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva in January..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a recent article in The Atlantic, Iran’s American-educated and Machiavellian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif writes that the Middle East is in disarray because of foreign powers’ regular intervention in the region. There is no doubt that foreign countries have contributed to the chaos in the region, but so has Iran. One of the reasons Afghanistan continues to be in such turmoil, for example, is because of Iran’s constant interference in the affairs of that country. Iran also supports, arms and trains groups that regularly stage attacks against the government and people of Afghanistan.
Zarif enumerates the sins and atrocities that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have committed in the region, such as spreading Wahabbism, supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, and funding al-Qaida and its offshoot outfits. Zarif writes, “[Saudi Arabia and the UAE] spend billions more of [their] wealth spreading Wahabbism – a medieval ideology of hate and exclusion – from the Far East to the Americas. They support organized non-state actors who wreak havoc through terror and civil wars. In the case of Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE went as far as officially recognizing the Taliban as the government – becoming two of only three countries in the world that did so.”
What Zarif ignores is that his country is equally responsible for the instability and chaotic situation in Afghanistan and many other parts of the Middle East.
Iran has regularly not only interfered in the affairs of Afghanistan but has also backed the Taliban and other terrorist groups. Iran has engaged in such behavior to retaliate against the US military presence in Afghanistan and to ensure it remains a key player in the affairs of the country. Iran continues to maintain a rapport with the Taliban leadership and has provided them with weapons, equipment, training and funding.
This is not all. Herat, a province in the western part of Afghanistan where I grew up, is under the domination of Iran in many ways. Iran regularly supports anti-government groups in various districts throughout the province to attack and kill employees of construction projects and kidnap owners of factories so that Herat cannot ever become self-sufficient and stop importing goods from Iran. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also supports mafia and gang groups that engage in subversive activities in Herat, including kidnappings and political assassinations.
For Zarif to claim that his country is a broker of peace and stability in the region is ridiculous. By penning this article for the Atlantic, Zarif wants to transmit an image of Iran that is rational, democratic, free, and a force for good in the region. What Zarif fails to mention is that his government is one of the most repressive regimes on earth. Iran regularly persecutes, imprisons and tortures journalists, political dissidents, and religious minority groups. Reform begins at home. Before blaming foreign powers for the chaos in the region, Zarif should first have tea with the ayatollahs and their lackey IRGC and get them to cease being stewards of death and destruction in Afghanistan and beyond.
The author is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. He’s now an intelligence analyst working in Chicago, Illinois.