Iran’s virtue-signaling with the Palestinian cause

Iranian mullahs provide large sums of money to Palestinian organizations such as Hamas, among others. But the cash does not go to the Palestinian people; it funds Iran’s regional expansion project.

IRAN’S SUPREME LEADER Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses a video conference call in Tehran in September, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS)
IRAN’S SUPREME LEADER Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses a video conference call in Tehran in September, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Since UAE-Israel bilateral relations were announced, Iranian leaders and officials have not given time in their self-styled interest to their people’s many problems. But they sure did take the time to give free rein to their own judgment, making a bad rap in the media and hurling threats against the United Arab Emirates.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reigned supreme among the finger-pointers. In another practice of McCarthyism, he called the UAE’s decision a “betrayal.” 
“The UAE betrayed the world of Islam, the Arab nations, the region’s countries, and Palestine,” said Khamenei on his official Twitter account. 
“Of course, this betrayal won’t last long but the stigma will stay with them,” he added in a series of tweets.
This vilification was echoed and repeated in all statements by Iranian officials. The attacks blatantly flouted sovereign rights of a neighboring state and violated international laws and customs.
The Iranian mullahs have been ferociously hounding the UAE for concluding a bilateral relations agreement with Israel. They criticize the cooperation with “Israelis & filthy Zionist agents of the US,” although they beg the US administration day and night to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, the result of marathon negotiations with these “filthy agents.”
As is well known, the Iranian mullahs are not against re-engaging in negotiations with the US. A few days ago, President Hassan Rouhani said nothing stands in the way of negotiations with Washington if it returns to the nuclear accord.
We also know that President Trump has no objection to negotiating, either. His condition is that the mullahs meet his demands and requirements.
As for the mullahs’ attitude toward the Palestinian cause, well, it is a disgrace. It epitomizes outright lying, deception and playing politics with the people’s cause and misery. In historical records, we read that since the 1979 revolution, the Iranian mullahs have provided little to the Palestinian people other than hollow words and lip service. The Palestinian question is rather a Trojan horse to get closer to the Arab and Islamic world.
The Palestinian cause has been one of the best promotional vehicles used by the mullahs to promote the so-called “axis of resistance” against a yet unidentified party. The axis makes headlines in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon without going near the Palestinian territories.
In fact, the Iranian mullahs provide large sums of money to Palestinian organizations such as Hamas, among others. But the cash does not go to the Palestinian people; it funds Iran’s regional expansion project.
The project is intended to put the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization in power in several Arab countries. The money is also meant to maintain the power of these guerrilla organizations, and then serve as a negotiating lever to gain international recognition of Iran’s influence in the Middle East.
It was never about liberating Jerusalem or the Palestinian territories. The mullahs are getting their claws into the region through organizations that vicariously serve their interests, not that of the Palestinian people.
Hamas and other mullah-funded Palestinian organizations know this fact. But they bet on pragmatic calculations. Their narrow politicking takes precedence over the interests of the Palestinian people they purport to champion.
Otherwise, can someone can tell us what Hamas has done for the Palestinian people since it monopolized authority in the Gaza Strip, besides polarizing them?
WITHOUT A STRONG influence in Arab countries such as Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and the Palestinian territories, Iran would not have been able to wrest the agreement on its nuclear program from the major powers.
After all, these groups are valuable negotiating chips, thanks to Iran’s control over their decision-making. It can steer their action to whomever it wants, silence them whenever it wants, and move them wherever it wants. The political grandstanding of Hassan Nasrallah and others has supplied the mullahs with the muscle they need when they need it, whether through statements and threats against particular people or targets, or through operations carried out by their sympathizers. These supporters let themselves fall for claims they are doing heroic deeds and defending real causes.
Iran’s anti-Israel gimmick is one of the modern times’ biggest propaganda ploys. Don’t take my word for it. Historical studies as well as Internet sources are teeming with facts and concrete evidence on the mullahs’ relations with Israel, especially in the military field and arms sales.
Thierry Coville, a French analyst specializing in Iranian affairs, says that relations between Israel and Iran are historical. He doubts that this conflict is real. An escalation of tone between the two countries will not lead to a real confrontation, he says, because, “We are not talking about countries that have not had a stormy diplomatic history for years.”
In Israel, as in Iran, everyone knows that neither side looks to the other as an enemy. Coville takes stock of several facts in the history of Israeli-Iranian relations, noting that Israel sold arms to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war.
The French commentator responded affirmatively to the questions from the Atlantico website about whether the reciprocal declarations between the two countries were nothing more than a “simple demonstration of force.” According to him, the Iranian militias in Syria aim to be part, as they did in Iraq, of “the future political composition in Syria, not through a direct confrontation with Israel.”
The proof is that Iran has never created “an anti-Israel plan.” More to the point, he asserts that all of Iran’s war and military plans are directed at its Gulf and Sunni neighbors in the region, not Israel.
Let’s not talk here about what Israeli newspapers have said in the past about clues to the strength of the mullahs’ secret relations with Israel. Let’s also not talk about what former British foreign secretary Jack Straw said in his memoirs about the military cooperation between the mullahs’ regime and Israel in the Iran-Iraq war.
What’s more, as former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami stated, “Iran isn’t driven by an obsession to destroy Israel, but by its determination to preserve its regime and establish itself as a strategic regional power, vis-a-vis both Israel & the Sunni Arab states.”
The mullahs fear neighboring Arab states that can defend themselves and protect the future and gains of their people against harassment and intimidation. For this reason, the mullahs oppose military cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council states and the US. They fear that relations with Israel could stretch to building defense capabilities.
Although these matters are part of the sovereign decisions of the states in their relations and cooperation with others, the mullahs’ Iran wants to act as gatekeeper in the Gulf region. This explains the threats and bullying tone directed at their Arab and Gulf neighbors, mirroring their dark intentions.
The writer is a UAE political analyst, and a former candidate to the UAE’s Federal National Council.