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A Second Iran-Petrodollars War?

There is no chance for a civil war in Iran

Tuesday 25 September 2018, by Babak KHANDANI

As we approach the fateful date of November 4, i.e. the Trump imposed deadline for world to stop buying Iranian crude, the pressure rises on all sides on Tehran.

In the economic front, Iran is finding it increasingly difficult to sell its oil and derivatives. Unlike the period before nuclear agreement, EU quickly rallied to the Americans. Russia pretends to support Iran while seeking to take advantage of the absence of Iranian oil to increase its own exports. Even the most loyal customers, such as India and South Korea, are failing.

Netanyahu ignores the 9th commandment
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On the media front, Iran is blamed of all the misery on the planet, from global warming to the giant panda’s disappearance. Pompeo accused Iran of the crash of Russian Il-20 in Syria, and the US Permanent Representative to the UN, Nikki Haley, has held Iran responsible for all conflicts in the Middle East. An official close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the prime minister’s speech at the United Nations on Thursday is expected to be “amazing, interesting and include new information that will stun the whole world”.

However, the extraordinary event of last week was without a doubt the terrorist attack on the annual Iranian military parade in Ahvaz, a city in the oil-rich southwest of the country on Saturday, killing 25 people and wounding 60 others. It is obvious that the main motivations of the instigators are demoralizing and humiliating the Iranian regime and its supporters by hitting it in a prestigious and best guarded event. It was the worst attack inside the country since an Islamic State-claimed assault on parliament in 2017.

The Ahvaz National Resistance, a little-known group with roots among the Arab minority of Iran, claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday. Ahvaz is the capital of Khuzestan province in south-western Iran, where many of the country’s Arabs live. Islamic State posted a video that it said showed three of its fighters on their way to the attack, according to IRNA. Two of the fighters were speaking Arabic with an Iraqi accent. Islamic State claimed responsibility with bulletins on its Al Amaq news service, which also ran the video of the fighters.

A prominent academic in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, added fuel to that fire by saying the attack had been part of an effort to bring the fight against Iran inside the country. Abdulla, who has frequently been described as an adviser to the Emirati government and as close to the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, suggested support for the attack in a Twitter post on Saturday: “A military attack against a military target is not a terrorist act,” he said. This clearly dismisses any genuine separatist agitation.

Indeed, for Iranians, the most worrisome should be the crumbling of their army rather than any unlikely and unpopular civil war.

Prior to the Iraqi attack of September 1980, Khomeini was in a very difficult and unstable position. A bloody war for power inside the Shia clergy itself, harsh rivalry with secular Islamic trends, more and more aggressive Marxists, a failed military coup by the Air Force, the rebellion of Iranian Kurdistan, and finally a middle class disappointed by the economic depression and brutal introduction of Sharia law, all were contributing to the imminent collapse of the new regime. However, by invading Iran, Saddam Hussein and its Arab allies made the Islamic State last for at least forty years.

Since the Cyrus the Great, Iran has been a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-racial entity. Nonetheless, and regardless of any real or supposed oppression of minorities, all components of the nation have a strong sense of sacrality of the Motherland. As Amir Mehdi Badi’ noted in his Les Grecs et les Barbares, Alexander had more Greeks in front of him than behind him. Twenty-five centuries later, Iranian Arabs fought the Iraqi army with no less bravery than their Persian compatriots. Furthermore, a large part of the political class and the clergy in Iran are of Arab descent. In fact, unbelievably, the least represented people in the Islamic regime are the Persians.

The policy of bad faith can only bring water to the mill of the Islamic regime of Tehran. It discredits the West in the eyes of Iranians who have become very pro-American. In the end, it gives reason to the regime that based its foundation on the antagonism with the West. ■

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