By Abdulrahman al-Rashed
7 June 2014
The majority of Iranians were known for their sympathy toward the Palestinian people, like many other people in the world including those who do not share any religious or cultural ties with the Arab region. It is a matter of injustice that has tormented a whole population for many decades.
I don’t know how accurate are the surveys being conducted in closed countries, but if we suppose the Iranians really express less sympathy with the Palestinians and favor Israel – and this may be somehow the case – it would not be difficult for us to understand the motives that led these emotions into becoming so negative.
Ever since the Green Revolution, when tens of thousands of Iranians rose up against the government of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, we continue to hear anti-government voices in the streets.
For instance, there was a public protest against supporting Lebanon’s “Hezbollah,” which is regarded as the closest party to the regime in Tehran and was seen as affiliated to Iran.
During the Syrian war, explicit calls were made against decision of President Hassan Rowhani’s government to spend large funds to defend the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The calls were also against sending Iranians to fight in Syria.
Iran has witnessed the development of a movement that is against the regime and its policies in general, regardless of the nature of these issues.
There are a large number of Iranian intellectuals who are against the external activities of the Islamic Republic and they can differentiate between slogans and political reality.
Thwarting Peace Talks
Iranian support to the Palestinians is always channelled to groups opposed to the government in Ramallah. Iran supports Hamas, Islamic Jihad and “Hezbollah” within a framework of activities aimed at, for example, preventing negotiations with Israel, without offering an alternative military or political solution for the Palestinian people and to the Israeli occupation. This support is so little that it does not even provoke Israel into seeking revenge against Iran but it is enough to sabotage any political process and leave the region on fire.
The Iranian leadership’s external excuses such as facing Israel and defending Islam in order to justify the persecution of intellectuals in Iran or even excuses for the failure of the country’s economy have led Iranian citizens to blame the regime for the negative situation they find themselves in. It has even led some people to hate the regime – a position that does not necessarily reflect any current or real political project against the Palestinians or the Lebanese people.
The Iranian leadership’s external excuses have led Iranian citizens to blame the regime for the negative situation they find themselves in
Talks about the increasing Iranian resentment to Arabs are accompanied by talks of the growing hatred for the Islamic religion itself, a hatred that condemns the majority of the Iranian people. Moreover, there are some who have expressed their hatred toward Islam and the clerics who rule the country – clerics who are known for their corruption and struggle for power. This hatred is stimulated by the Iranian regime which is using religion and the guise of religion to justify its control over the vocation of the country and maintain arbitrarily rule over the Iranian people.
The failure of the regime and the paralysis of the people have distorted everything related to the official image of Iran, after years of an unmatched Islamic boom in the eighties when Arabs were valued and welcomed. Throughout the years, the religion and issues raised by the regime were despicable for the people, although the majority of Iranians do not know that the majority of Arabs share with them their hatred for the regime of al-Assad and opportunistic groups like “Hezbollah” and Hamas.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.