Sun, Feb 27, 2011 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Iran and the “New Middle East” vision: “Time is on our side”
This week, Iran once again portrayed the developments in the Arab world as reflecting the formation of a new Middle East inspired by the Islamic revolution and heralding the end of American hegemony in the region.
In a speech given by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the occasion of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, the Supreme Leader said that the developments in the Arab world are fueled by hatred towards the presence of Western powers’ presence in the region, being a sign that humanity has grown tired of the extreme pressure exerted by Western civilization in its attempts to enforce its hegemony across the globe. The nations of the world have had it with Western materialism, and they have now awakened—thanks to Islam. The popular and Islamic awakening in the region is a reaction to the long-standing humiliation by Western powers. Khamenei noted that the nations of the region must rid themselves of Western domination and involvement to solve their own problems and those of their governments, which have distanced themselves from the people as a result of Western and American presence (www.khamenei.ir, February 21).
In a speech given by the Supreme Leader to clerics at an international Islamic conference held in Tehran earlier this week, the Supreme Leader stressed that the uprisings in the Arab world are Islamic. This is a critical historical time for the Arab world, Khamenei said. Stronger religious faith, preservation of unity, refusal to come under threat from the U.S., and belief in divine assistance will pave the popular movement’s way to victory in the Islamic world. He added that the current historical phase is important because, if managed properly, it may solve the problems of the Muslim world. According to Khamenei, the enemies are trying to portray the popular movement in the Muslim world as non-Islamic, when it is clear that it is completely Islamic and must be supported (www.khamenei.ir, February 20).
Other top Iranian officials also expressed satisfaction over the popular uprisings in the Arab world. Majles speaker Ali Larijani said that the cause for such uprisings is the dissatisfaction of the region’s nations with the tyrannical regimes ruling their countries. In a meeting with the chairman of Ecuador’s parliament who visited Tehran this week, Larijani noted that the political developments in the Middle East and North Africa give rise to a new situation and will prove beneficial to the peoples of the region (IRNA, February 21). Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Majles Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, also said this week that the waves of “Islamic awakening” among Muslim nations are expected to propel the region into a new age and change the regional balance of power (Fars, February 20).
Iran’s views on the developments in the Arab world could also be seen in editorials published by the conservative press. The daily Keyhan argued that the Americans never believed—let alone assessed—that the situation in the Middle East could spiral out of their control. After the fall of Mubarak’s regime, Saudi Arabia, America’s strategic ally, is also facing a severe risk of destabilization; while Bahrain, a highly significant country for the Americans, is on the verge of collapse. The Americans are losing their military outposts in the region and need to find substitutes for them. The U.S. and Israel fully realize that the political developments will swiftly change their military and defensive plans, and the passage of the two Iranian vessels through the Suez Canal is just a symbolic reflection of the new reality. According to Keyhan, the military presence of the Americans in the region relies on four major elements: a network of military bases, exchange of intelligence information with countries in the region, use of their territorial waters, and use of their airspace. These four elements are now collapsing, and the day is near when everything the Americans have will be taken away. It is small wonder, says an editorial published by the daily, that the Americans are so angry with Iran and are doing all they can to hold it back (Keyhan, February 22).
In an editorial titled “Time is on our side”, the daily Resalat also claimed that opportunities are in store for Iran. The fall of Mubarak is a sign of divine victory and proof that the revolution in the Middle East has its source in the Islamic revolution. The world is transitioning to a new phase of its history. Developments in the 20th and early 21st centuries show that the three Western worldviews: fascism, Marxism, and liberalism—have come to an end. The nations of the world are now waging a struggle in the name of God, and it is in this manner that they will overcome global imperialism and international Zionism. The developments in the Middle East, which began with the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran, have now reached their peak with the fall of the corrupt Arab governments (Resalat, February 22).