Contradictory Messages from Iran

  • 30 July 2015

The consistent principle of the UAE’s foreign policy has been to maintain balanced relations with all countries, especially in the region, based on mutual respect to ensure peace, security, stability, and respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. It does so within the framework of international law and humanitarian norms. The UAE is also keen to make these principles the driving force that governs relations between countries in the region. It rejects any move that defies these principles, especially aimed at destabilizing security and stability within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The country considers threat to the security of any of its state as a violation of all member countries.

For this very reason, the UAE was quick to condemn Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of the brotherly Kingdom of Bahrain recently and urged Tehran to commit to the principles of good neighborliness. Anyone following the recent Iranian moves would note the double standards and contradiction in its behavior towards the region. The tour made by Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif to Kuwait, Qatar and Iraq a few days ago enhanced this impression. It was obvious that the main objective of this tour was to reassure these countries and start a new phase following the nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries in early July.

This was evident in Zarif’s statement during his visit to Kuwait. He said that he chose Kuwait as his first foreign trip (after the deal) to announce Iran’s intentions to improve its relations with neighbors. In the Iraqi capital of Baghdad he said that countries in the region should start a new phase and enter into dialogue to remove misunderstandings for the sake of serious fight against terrorism. Surprisingly for the people of the region, and those in the GCC countries in particular, Iran resumed its blatant interventions in internal affairs of Bahrain soon after these statements and continued to stir sectarian conflict. There is flagrant contradiction between what it is trying to do to strengthen security and stability in the region and its practices on the ground. It will continue to support what it calls “the oppressed people in the region” as justification for future interventions or demanding countries to change their policies towards Iran.

Iran’s contradictory messages are a cause of worry not only because they amount to breach of principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations but also because it tells the international community about the country’s behavior towards the region regardless of its slogan of cooperation with neighboring countries. While the UAE and GCC countries welcome the nuclear deal and hope this would strengthen regional security and stability, Iran should assume its responsibilities and commit itself to the principles of good neighborliness and to stop interfering in the internal affairs [of other countries], especially towards Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Only then will it be able to establish relations based on mutual respect in the region.