Iran and Anti-Terror Diplomacy

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Seyed Hossein Mousavian

Recent terror attacks in the French capital city, Paris, have shocked the entire world. When the terror attacks took place, I was taking part in an international conference, which was also attended by scores of incumbent and former high-ranking officials from the Western countries, the Arab world, Russia, and China, including a representative from the French parliament. The French parliament deputy, who was evidently beyond himself with rage, addressed Saudi Arabia and Iran, saying, ‘Till when you want to continue with these hostilities? Because of your argument, terrorists have endangered our security and that of the world’. Well, it was natural for the conference to be affected by this ominous catastrophe.

Pursuant to the sentimental remarks made by the French parliament deputy, I addressed the audience, saying that as long as the root causes of the existing runaway terrorism have not been dealt with in the Middle East, the security of the region and the entire world would be exposed to increasing threats day by day. Then, I enumerated the following five instances as the root causes of terrorism:

1. Ideology: The ideological cradle of such terrorist groups as Daesh, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram and the likes of them is the Wahhabi school of thought, which is currently being promoted, expanded and supported by such countries as the United States and the European countries;

2. Corrupt and dictatorial systems of government in the Arab world, which have been backed by the United States, in particular, and the West, in general, and that support continues up to the present day;

3. The crisis in Palestine and Israel’s crimes, which is the mother of all crises in the Middle East while the Western world unanimously supports Israel;

4. Military aggression against regional countries, including military attacks by the United States against Afghanistan and Iraq, and most recently, Saudi Arabia’s military aggression against Yemen; and

5. Absence of a system for regional and topical cooperation. Iran has been declaring its readiness for many years for the establishment of such a system while Arab countries that are allies to the United States have been shunning this responsibility because they want to borrow security from the United States.

Nobody opposed me in that conference and even some Arab countries, despite their dissatisfaction, were forced to remain silent. However, following the session, a former European foreign minister came to me and while thanking me, said, ‘We all know that the root cause of all these calamities is the Saudi-backed Wahhabism, but Iran must take more serious steps to solve this problem’. I told that former minister that fighting terrorism is the most important problem facing Iran right now and we are witnessing commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps being martyred for this purpose on a daily basis.

However, the words of this prominent European politician made me think. He wanted to tell me that the terror attacks in Paris could provide Iran with an opportunity. This was his indirect message to Iran, which was of course an important message as well. In fact, martyrdom of our dear commanders in the fight against terror is not enough by itself. We must think about an initiative to cooperate with global and regional powers in fighting against Takfiri terrorism. Today, Europe, the United States, Russia, India and China all of them feel the threat and somehow don’t know what to do. I don’t think there is another country in the contemporary history, which would have earned as much practical experience in fighting terrorism as Iran.

Therefore, in addition to “nuclear diplomacy,” it would be suitable for Iran to give top priority to “anti-terror diplomacy” as well and play a leading role in this regard in the region. A delegation headed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and attended by our seasoned military and security commanders must start diplomatic consultations in this respect. The work must be started through engaging in dialogue with permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and the UN secretary general. In this case, Russia would be a serious and ready-to-act partner for Iran. Iran must also put negotiations with regional powers and major global security alliances, including NATO, on its agenda and must also enter into these negotiations with a comprehensive and operational plan. At the same time, Tehran must host an applied global conference on ways of fighting against terrorism. This conference must be totally different from ordinary conferences, which usually focus on delivering speeches. Iran must also ask the invitees to bring to the conference a specific team in addition to a well-designed operational plan.

Iran is the biggest victim of terrorism and deserves to play a strategic role at global level while taking charge of strategic management of the fight against terrorism at regional level.

*Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian is a research scholar at Princeton University and a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators. His nuclear book, The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir, was published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book, “Iran and the United States: An Insider’s view on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace” was released in May 2014.

Key Words: Iran, Anti-Terror Diplomacy, Ideology, Daesh, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram, Wahhabi School of Thought, Dictatorial Systems, Arab World, Military Aggression, Saudi Arabia, Takfiri Terrorism, Diplomatic Consultations, NATO, UN, Strategic Management, Mousavian

Source: Iran Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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*Photo Credit: BT