The Many Lies of the Iranian Foreign Minister

April 26 2016

Responding to an op-ed in the Washington Post last week by Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s oleaginous foreign minister—he asserts that Tehran’s military programs are purely defensive, attacks Saudi Arabia’s military spending, and makes a snide reference to the Holocaust—Reuel Marc Gerecht exposes some of its falsehood:

[Despite Zarif’s insistence to the contrary, the] Islamic Republic’s nuclear program has not been “peaceful.” The United States and its European allies have a very long dossier, which has included information provided by highly knowledgeable defectors, cataloguing the clerical regime’s nuclear-weapons ambitions since the late 1980s. . . .

And as the foreign minister might be aware, Iran’s ballistic-missile program makes absolutely no sense if it is tipped with conventional warheads. . . .

Zarif alludes to Iran’s legitimate defense needs [by referring to the Iran-Iraq war]. He could, perhaps, explain why long-range missiles that can fly way beyond the Persian Gulf are a function of the clerical regime’s continuing post-Saddam Hussein trauma.

Zarif is . . . right about the dangers of Islamic extremism, except that he forgot to mention that Saudi Arabia’s hugely destructive practice of spreading Wahhabism, the foundation of modern Sunni jihadism, is matched on the Shiite side by the Islamic Republic’s aim to radicalize the Shiites wherever Zarif’s bosses gain influence. The clerical regime has [also] tried to replicate the Lebanese Hizballah elsewhere in the Arab world, especially in Iraq and Syria. . . .

And concerning Iran’s military expenditures, wouldn’t it be a good idea to allow Iranians free elections so that they can decide how they want to spend their own money?

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Iran sanctions, Politics & Current Affairs, Saddam Hussein, Saudi Arabia

Israel’s Friendship with Iraqi Kurds, and Why Iran Opposes It

In May 2022, the Iraqi parliament passed a law “criminalizing normalization and establishment of relations with the Zionist entity,” banning even public discussion of ending the country’s 76-year state of war with Israel. The bill was a response to a conference, held a few months prior, addressing just that subject. Although the gathering attracted members of various religious and ethnic groups, it is no coincidence, writes Suzan Quitaz, that it took place in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan:

Himdad Mustafa, an independent researcher based in Erbil, to whom the law would be applied, noted: “When 300 people gathered in Erbil calling for peace and normalization with Israel, the Iraqi government immediately passed a law criminalizing ties with Israel and Israelis. The law is clearly aimed at Kurds.” . . . Qais al-Khazali, secretary-general of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (Coordination Framework), a powerful Iranian-backed Shiite militia, slammed the conference as “disgraceful.”

Himdad explains that the criminalization of Israeli-Kurdish ties is primarily driven by “Kurd-phobia,” and that Kurd-hatred and anti-Semitism go hand-in-hand.

One reason for that is the long history of cooperation Israel and the Kurds of Iraq; another is the conflict between the Kurdish local government and the Iran-backed militias who increasingly control the rest of the country. Quitaz elaborates:

Israel also maintains economic ties with Kurdistan, purchasing Kurdish oil despite objections from Iraq’s central government in Baghdad. A report in the Financial Times discusses investments by many Israeli companies in energy, development sectors, and communications projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, in addition to providing security training and purchasing oil. Moreover, in a poll conducted in 2009 in Iraqi Kurdistan, 71 percent of Kurds supported normalization with Israel. The results are unsurprising since, historically, Israel has had cordial ties with the Kurds in a generally hostile region where Jews and Kurds have fought against the odds with the same Arab enemy in their struggles for a homeland.

The Iranian regime, through its proxies in the Iraqi government, is the most significant source of Kurd-phobia in Iraq and the driving factor fueling tensions. In addition to their explicit threat to Israel, Iranian officials frequently threaten the Kurdish region, and repeatedly accuse the Kurds of working with Israel.

Read more at Jersualem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Iraq, Israel-Arab relations, Kurds