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Zarif in the NYT on Saudi Arabia

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Mohammad Javad Zarif: Saudi Arabia’s Reckless Extremism

THE world will soon celebrate the implementation of the landmark agreement that resolves the unnecessary, albeit dangerous, crisis overIran’s nuclear program. All parties hoped, and continue to believe, that the resolution of the nuclear issue would enable us to focus on the serious challenge of extremism that is ravaging our region — and the world.

President Rouhani has repeatedly declared that Iran’s top foreign policy priority is friendship with our neighbors, peace and stability in the region and global cooperation, especially in the fight against extremism. In September 2013, a month after taking office, he introduced an initiative called World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE). It was approved by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly, giving hope for a farsighted global campaign against terrorism.

Unfortunately, some countries stand in the way of constructive engagement.

Following the signing of the interim nuclear deal in November 2013, Saudi Arabia began devoting its resources to defeating the deal, driven by fear that its contrived Iranophobia was crumbling. Today, some in Riyadh not only continue to impede normalization but are determined to drag the entire region into confrontation.

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Demonstrators opposed to Saudi Arabia gathered in Tehran on Friday.CreditAbedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency

 

Saudi Arabia seems to fear that the removal of the smoke screen of the nuclear issue will expose the real global threat: its active sponsorship of violent extremism. The barbarism is clear. At home, state executioners sever heads with swords, as in the recent execution of 47 prisoners in one day, including Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a respected religious scholar whodevoted his life to promoting nonviolence and civil rights. Abroad, masked men sever heads with knives.

Let us not forget that the perpetrators of many acts of terror, from the horrors of Sept. 11 to the shooting in San Bernardino and other episodes of extremist carnage in between, as well as nearly all members of extremist groups like Al Qaeda and the Nusra Front, have been either Saudi nationals or brainwashed by petrodollar-financed demagogues who have promoted anti-Islamic messages of hatred and sectarianism for decades.

The Saudi strategy to derail the nuclear agreement and perpetuate — and even exacerbate — tension in the region has three components: pressuring the West; promoting regional instability through waging war in Yemen and sponsoring extremism; and directly provoking Iran. Riyadh’s military campaign in Yemen and its support for extremists are well known. Provocations against Iran have not grabbed international headlines, primarily thanks to our prudent restraint.

The Iranian government at the highest level unequivocally condemned the assault against the Saudi embassy and consulate in Tehran on Jan. 2, and ensured the safety of Saudi diplomats. We took immediate measures to help restore order to the Saudi diplomatic compound and declared our determination to bring perpetrators to justice. We also took disciplinary action against those who failed to protect the embassy and have initiated an internal investigation to prevent any similar event.

By contrast, the Saudi government or its surrogates have over the past three years directly targeted Iranian diplomatic facilities in Yemen, Lebanon and Pakistan — killing Iranian diplomats and locals. There have been other provocations, too. Iranian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia have endured systematic harassment — in one case, Saudi airport officers molested two Iranian boys in Jeddah, fueling public outrage. Also, Saudi negligence was to blame for the stampede during the recent hajj, which left 464 Iranian pilgrims dead. Moreover, for days, Saudi authorities refused to respond to requests from grieving families and the Iranian government to access and repatriate the bodies.

This is not to mention the routine practice of hate speech not only against Iran but against all Shiite Muslims by Saudi Arabia’s government-appointed preachers. The outrageous beheading recently of Sheikh Nimr was immediately preceded by a sermon of hatred toward Shiites by a Grand Mosque preacher in Mecca, who last year said that “our disagreement with Shiites will not be removed, nor our suicide to fight them” as long as Shiites remained on the earth.

Throughout these episodes, Iran, confident of its strength, has refused to retaliate or break — or even downgrade — diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. We have until now responded with restraint; but unilateral prudence is not sustainable.

Iran has no desire to escalate tension in the region. We need unity to confront the threats posed by extremists. Ever since the first days after his election, the president and I have indicated publicly and privately our readiness to engage in dialogue, promote stability and combat destabilizing extremism. This has fallen on deaf ears in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi leadership must now make a choice: They can continue supporting extremists and promoting sectarian hatred; or they can opt to play a constructive role in promoting regional stability. We hope that reason will prevail.
 

Mohammad Javad Zarif is the foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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The problem is that Shias could well end up being the Sikhs of the 21st century.

Let me explain.

What happens is that some terror event happens and the poor Sikh guy wearing a turban gets it in the neck, because he looks Muslim.

Once we reach the tipping point where it's open season on the Wahhabis, the problem is that many in non-Muslim countries won't distinguish between Wahhabis, Sunnis and Shias. So if mosques face attacks, it will be all mosques, regardless of sect.

We may be risking falling into the same trap as the some Jews do. They think that attacks on halal meat etc. are great, but what they don't realise is that if halal meat faces the chop, kosher will as well.

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22 minutes ago, Haji 2003 said:

The problem is that Shias could well end up being the Sikhs of the 21st century.

Let me explain.

What happens is that some terror event happens and the poor Sikh guy wearing a turban gets it in the neck, because he looks Muslim.

Once we reach the tipping point where it's open season on the Wahhabis, the problem is that many in non-Muslim countries won't distinguish between Wahhabis, Sunnis and Shias. So if mosques face attacks, it will be all mosques, regardless of sect.

We may be risking falling into the same trap as the some Jews do. They think that attacks on halal meat etc. are great, but what they don't realise is that if halal meat faces the chop, kosher will as well.

I can confrim this. MANY sikhs have been attacked by islamophobic attacks, because people assumed they were muslim. Sikh girls, or even asian looking guys.

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2 hours ago, Tawheed313 said:

This was allowed to be published on the new york times ? The censors must have been taking a day of work, how on earth did such an honest and clear article exposing propaganda be allowed on the NYT?

Politics my friend, dirty politics. In fact so dirty, the grasp of what is yet to come is impossible to know. One thing is certain, the Al-Saud hijackers of the Kingdom of Men have their days numbered, a flight destined to crash.

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One point about Zarif's foreign policy is that in spite of the fact Saudi Arabia stirs up problems here and there for Iran and Shiites, Iran and his minister should be clever enough to avoid a war (cold/hot). Saudi Arabia and some others are known to be Muslims and therefore our brothers (against the same opponent which is Israel); the west doesn't want us to be united (against the same opponent), on the contrary they want us to go in war with each other; so our power will be weakened.

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^Israel went on publically to oppose Iran deal and probably spent some times behind the closed doors to prevent it. BUT, Saudis and all other garbage Wahabis (your brothers) initially under the table then lately publically are opposing the Iran deal and any solution that resolves Iran-west problems... and in my opinion Saudis+Wahabis spent a lot of money to buy politicians, media and western policy makers with their money to fail the deal.

And (Shias or even Iran) and Saudi/Wahabis have nothing in common against Israel... Wahabis always been the slaves of west and within the same bloc as Israel in all political developments in the region, during the cold war and post cold war....

The problem in Palestine/Israel is mainly a Sunni problem, especially when they do not consider Shias as their brothers in Islam and issuing Takfir and massacring Shias worldwide... why Iran or Shias should sacrifice their own interests for a bunch of backstabbers and ungrateful puppets? Let Turkey, Saudi, Egypt, Gulf states, Pakistan, Indonesia and 10s of other Sunni and Arab countries to endanger their own interests and confront Israel! The more Shias/Iran speak of allying themselves with Takfirs/their monarchist masters, and etc... against Israel, the more stupid it gets.

Edited by Noah-

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1 hour ago, Noah- said:

The problem in Palestine/Israel is mainly a Sunni problem, especially when they do not consider Shias as their brothers in Islam and issuing Takfir and massacring Shias worldwide... why Iran or Shias should sacrifice their own interests for a bunch of backstabbers and ungrateful puppets? Let Turkey, Saudi, Egypt, Gulf states, Pakistan, Indonesia and 10s of other Sunni and Arab countries to endanger their own interests and confront Israel! The more Shias/Iran speak of allying themselves with Takfirs/their monarchist masters, and etc... against Israel, the more stupid it gets.

If you're viewing the Palestine dilemma this way it is as if you're saying Sayed Hassan Nasrullah is wasting his time giving the speeches he gave about Palestine.

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11 minutes ago, Ibn Al-Shahid said:

If you're viewing the Palestine dilemma this way it is as if you're saying Sayed Hassan Nasrullah is wasting his time giving the speeches he gave about Palestine.

Ok. Then from tomorrow on I will 'view the Palestine dilemma from the speeches of Sayed Hassan Nasrullah's about Palestine' if that makes you happy... But then that is not going to be my views and opinions as a free person discussing political topics on a Shia forum.

What was the achievement of Hezb in giving all the speeches, aiding, and protecting Palestinian groups like Hamas, JI inside Lebanon and outside Lebanon anyways? Everything they got in return was negative, poisonous, disrespectful, Takfir and sectarian.

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On January 11, 2016 at 2:44 PM, Tawheed313 said:

This was allowed to be published on the new york times ? The censors must have been taking a day of work, how on earth did such an honest and clear article exposing propaganda be allowed on the NYT?

Because Zarif has made many friends and he doesn't sounds like an idiot when he opens his mouth. 

Also because of recent Sunni supports of terrorism, this is a golden opportunity for Iran to stand with the world and say "No to Sunni extremism!"

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3 hours ago, Gypsy said:

Because Zarif has made many friends and he doesn't sounds like an idiot when he opens his mouth. 

Also because of recent Sunni supports of terrorism, this is a golden opportunity for Iran to stand with the world and say "No to Sunni extremism!"

I would not say sunni supports of terrorism. Even if the source is blatantly from a 'majority' sunni support , i know many sunni's who are in principle against terrorists. The takfiri's want us to start using the word sunni so they can unite sunni's against us. We ought not fall into this trap.

But i agree, Zarif is a well spoken and highly intelligent man.

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