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The Duplicity of Iran’s regime
Mullahs do not translate to Arabic what they think of their Arab mercenaries
The Iran regime likes to present itself as honest, principled and one that lives up to its word. But in reality, the Islamist regime is dishonest, unprincipled, duplicitous and says different things in different languages, depending on the audience.
When addressing the West, Tehran usually puts up the face known as Javad Zarif, its Foreign Minister, who probably spent more time of his adult life living in the US than in Iran. Zarif is connected to the Iranian-American community, especially in California, and has skillfully managed to transform it from exiled partisans of Iran’s last king to supporters of the current Islamist regime, all under the guise of nationalism and love of the fatherland.
Zarif has led thousands of Iranian Americans to believe that his plan is to revive normal relations between Washington and Tehran, a fantasy that — if it ever becomes true — allows Iranian-Americans to reconnect with their Iranian roots.
But when addressing domestic audiences inside Iran, usually in Farsi, Iran regime officials toe a more radical line against America, depicting the American Republic as the embodiment of evil Western thought, the Great Satan, which was built on atheism, promiscuity and racism.
Similarly, the Iranian regime has two faces when talking about Middle Eastern affairs. In an interview with the semi-official Mehr News, former diplomat Hussain Abdul-Lahian claimed that a series of attacks on and inside Israel have been Iran’s response to Israeli attacks inside Iran, most prominent of which have been the assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and the bombing of the Natanz nuclear facility.
Over the past two weeks, Israel faced a missile attack from Syria — targeting its nuclear facility in the southern town of Dimona — and some 50 missile attacks from Gaza into Israeli territory. Inside Israel, there was a drive-by shooting in the West Bank, a bomb went off near a settlement and a Palestinian woman was shot before she could knife Israeli troops.
Abdul-Lahian says all of these attacks on Israel have been “the response of the Axis of Resistance” to Israeli attacks on Iran and Iranian bases inside Syria.
But there’s a catch. Mehr published the interview in two languages: One in Farsi and a much shorter one in Arabic. The discrepancy between the two versions is glaring. In Arabic, Mehr’s editors left out significant parts of the interview. And what Mehr left out was not about issues pertaining to domestic Iranian affairs, but to things related to pro-Iran Arab militias, like Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Gaza’s Hamas.
In Arabic, Mehr makes it look as if Iran’s leadership of the “Axis of Resistance” — against Israel, America and the West at large — is not connected to any Iranian political calculation, but is rather based on Iran’s principled support of Muslims globally, and especially Palestinians in their bid to destroy Israel and replace it with their own state.
In the longer Farsi version, however, Mehr includes Abdul-Lahian’s statements that tell a different story. Iran’s foreign policy is not about saving the Palestinians or supporting the Arabs, but about Iran’s national interests, and about using these Arabs to play a bigger regional role and force more concessions from the West.
Abdul-Lahian even goes as far as demeaning the Arab militias that work for Iran by saying that — in its battle with Israel — “the Zionist regime could have been within our borders, but our allies today are within the borders of the Zionist regime, and this configuration is for the safety of the country (Iran) and the region.” Thus, the glaring truth is that senior Iran regime officials do not think that the role of Iran’s Arab allies is to destroy Israel and create Palestine, but only as a balance of terror against Israel for the protection of Iran.
Abdul-Lahian further elaborates: “We have, and still do, reality in the field and in our capabilities, which is the influence we wield across the region, which is what our enemies call interference.” He adds that “I explicitly state that the Islamic Republic of Iran enjoys a high level of influence in the region, and that when the world notices” these assets in Iranian hands, it starts talking to the Iran regime in a different way (than without Iran’s Arab assets).
Mehr correctly guessed that if Arab allies read statements by Iran regime officials in which they say that the job of pro-Iran Arab militias is to keep Iran safe, they might be embarrassed before their rivals (not that terrorist mercenaries care much about such embarrassment). Hence, some statements were left out of Abdul-Lahian’s Arabic translation.
Mehr tells the Iranian audience, however, that all the money Tehran spends on terrorism is for the sake of inflating Iran’s global influence and keeping Iran — read the Iranian regime — safe. The regime lies as easily as its officials breathe, and yet the world thinks that it can take the word of Mullahs for a nuclear agreement.