Dr. Mohajarani discusses the rise and the challenges of Iran “as a new power in the region”

Kurdistan Tribune Report:

Dr. Ata'ollah Mohajerani and Dr. Marianna Charountaki

Dr. Ata’ollah Mohajerani and Dr. Marianna Charountaki

“Iran’s Shia strategy in the region to control the Shia crescent is a creation of AIPAC”, said Dr. Ata’ollah Mohajerani who believes that Mr. Rouhani’s government has a number of obstacles and difficulties to face among which is Iran’s dual political structure in which state and government are two different institutions as far as the implementation of policies is concerned.

Following a series of seminars on contemporary Middle Eastern politics initiated by Dr. Marianna Charountaki, post-doctoral fellow and sessional lecturer at Reading University, the Department of Politics and International Relations hosted former Iranian Minister, Dr. Ata’ollah Mohajerani, a researcher, writer and journalist, in a talk entitled “Discussing Iran after Ahmadinejad: A New Leaf?”. Dr Mohajerani discussed “The Obstacles and Difficulties of Iran’s recognition”; Iran under Hassan Rouhani; and he identified the new direction of the current government as well as its future implications.

The speaker expressed his belief that “social media is not in a clash with the rules of Islam but even religious leaders use the internet today to answer religious questions”. Thus given that “4 million Iranians are on facebook change is hard to stop” he added.

Dr. Mohajerani also talked about the structure of decision-making in Iran, a process almost controlled by the Leadership and the Guardian Council as “all laws in Iran should be approved by these institutions”. The speaker also emphasized the notion that “Iran is getting stronger year by year” as “a new power in the region”. This belief is rooted in changes observed in the strategy of the Leadership vis-à-vis the June 2013 absolute free and fair elections, Khamenei’s statement that Iran should develop flexibility like heroes and cooperation with others along with his assertion that politics is not Revolutionary Guard’s main concern but the latter’s interference in it should be selective”. On these grounds Dr. Mohajerani assured the audience that “he is not concerned for Iran’s future”.

Dr. Mohajerani also emphasized Syria’s importance for Iran not only due to mutual historical ties but also because of the former’s role as bridge for Iran to Lebanon and Hezbollah given the Israeli threat. Mohajerani remembered to have met Hafez Al Assad three times in his life time and shared the latter’s prophecy that “we (Syrians) supported Iran during the Iran-Iraq war because one day we will be left alone and the only one country to support us will be Iran”.

As far as Turkey is concerned, Dr. Mohajerani said that, “Turkey thought that after 6 months Bashar Al Assad would go but after 3 years Turkey realized that Bashar is still strong. In the meantime, the change of government in Egypt weakened Turkey”. Therefore “strengthening relations with Iran became significant for the Turkish foreign policy”.

In regional politics, regional states try to impose their own agendas. Dr. Mohajerani underscores that, “Every country wants to impose its order in the region and thus play many cards, as for instance is the case with Iran playing the Iraqi card, the cards of Hezbollah and Lebanon and the like.”

According to the speaker, “sectarianism is not intrigued by Iran. Thus in Bahrain for instance suppression of a Shia majority by a Sunna minority was only a natural reaction”.

Going back to the time of the revolution he considers the Islamic Revolution of Iran as a landmark. “After revolution Iran tried to reestablish its nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes as member of IAEA; the social life of people improved; whereas every city in Iran has now a University and most importantly the decision making center is inside Iran, in contrast to the period before the Revolution. Thus whereas morality, spiritually, economy, and the style of life changed, the problem of democracy is still apparent”.

“Ultimately Iran as a strategic player aims to organize all countries in the region so that they strengthen their relations against the US and Israel as it is so often the case. This strategy sometimes has been successful and others not” the speaker concluded.

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