The Republican senators in America plan to introduce legislation to bring Iran under further sanctions. They are outraged it has violated UN Security Council resolutions by testing ballistic missiles. Their more serious charge is that it is trying to “destabilize” the countries in the Middle East. America has already imposed sanctions on individuals and entities linked to Iran’s notorious Revolutionary Guards.
To avoid a severe rap on its knuckles Iran is now trying to hoodwink America by offering dialogue with Saudi Arabia though the language of talks and negotiation is more or less alien to Iran. Only last year, Iranian officials watched indifferently as some of its populace attacked, vandalised and set on fire the Saudi embassy in Tehran and two Saudi consulates. Those attacks and the official Iranian indifference resulted in Riyadh cutting diplomatic ties with it. Bahrain followed. Qatar downgraded them.
Indeed, while rebuffing Tehran’s conciliatory approach, the Saudi foreign minister too, like the US, accused Iran of being a destabilizing force in the Middle East. He said Iran is out to “destroy us.”
Main Sponsor of Terrorism
“Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world,” Minister Adel Al Jubeir told a security conference in Munich. “It is determined to upend the order in the Middle East and until and unless it changes its behaviour it would be very difficult to deal with a country like this,” the Saudi minister was quoted in the Press as saying. Indeed a Bahraini Shiite MP, Dr Majeed Al Asfoor, only on February 21 condemned the calls made by some Iran-based clerics for initiating armed resistance against the Bahraini government.
He specifically referred to Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, for Houthi separatists in Yemen and to violent groups [like Hezbollah] across the region. Saudi Arabia already knows firsthand what Tehran’s henchmen have been trying to do in Bahrain by word and deed which had prompted it and the United Arab Emirates to send forces to support the island state’s government.
As if Saudi pronouncements were not enough, the Turkish Foreign minister attending the conference also blasted Iran’s “sectarian policy” which, he said, was aimed at undermining Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis wanted the world community to mark clear red lines to check and halt Iran’s temerities and it appears America was listening. Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Munich conference they would introduce measures to hold Iran accountable for its actions. “I think it is now time for the Congress to take Iran on directly in terms of what they’ve done outside the nuclear programme,” he was quoted as saying.
Previous Iran Sanctions
Though during the long period when Iran was under western sanctions because of its lies and intransigence over its nuclear programme, it tended to put up a brave face and issue bravado-packed statements, in the age of WTO, such sanctions do hurt. It was with considerable difficulty and long negotiations that Iran had emerged from their dark shadows but if it continues to remain in denial about its machinations in the Middle East in general and in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in particular, its second round of sanctions-suffering is not very far away.