Irans growing regional influence

#1
I've never been a fan of John Simpson's reporting - style and substance always seems a little lacking - and I became even less enamoured of him as a person after a rather forthright discussion on a BA flight back from Belgrade some years back. Neverthless, this particular piece, although still lacking on substance, does seem to chime rather well.

BBC said:
Iran's growing regional influence

Iran is now a regional superpower, and ever since the Islamic revolution in 1978-9, we in the West have consistently misunderstood it.

Full text here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/5363098.stm


Though, one point I would like to highlight,

By encouraging and arming Hezbollah, Iran has managed to create an anti-American front between Shia and Sunni Muslims in many parts of the Middle East.

Instead of the old Sunni-Shia hostility, there is a new unity.
I suspect that it's not the arming of Hezbollah that created this alliance, but the brutal actions of the Israeli forces against the Lebanese people (with US backing) and the US's own foreign policy (mis)adventures in the region.
 
#2
merkator said:
I've never been a fan of John Simpson's reporting - style and substance always seems a little lacking - and I became even less enamoured of him as a person after a rather forthright discussion on a BA flight back from Belgrade some years back. Neverthless, this particular piece, although still lacking on substance, does seem to chime rather well.

BBC said:
Iran's growing regional influence

Iran is now a regional superpower, and ever since the Islamic revolution in 1978-9, we in the West have consistently misunderstood it.

Full text here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/5363098.stm


Though, one point I would like to highlight,

By encouraging and arming Hezbollah, Iran has managed to create an anti-American front between Shia and Sunni Muslims in many parts of the Middle East.

Instead of the old Sunni-Shia hostility, there is a new unity.
I suspect that it's not the arming of Hezbollah that created this alliance, but the brutal actions of the Israeli forces against the Lebanese people (with US backing) and the US's own foreign policy (mis)adventures in the region.


I wouldn't frame growing Iranian influence in terms of religion, I would frame Iranian influence in terms of political and economic influence. The Iranians are not doing anything that other regional powers such as Israel and Egypt haven't done.

The Iranians are the strongest independent 'Muslim' power in the region at the moment so are more able are able to tap into wide held 'Sunni' grievances and use them to their own advantage.
 
#3
castlereagh said:
I wouldn't frame growing Iranian influence in terms of religion, I would frame Iranian influence in terms of political and economic influence. The Iranians are not doing anything that other regional powers such as Israel and Egypt haven't done.
Indeed.

Iran is not gaining credability, support and influence because of religion at all - except within the Shia community itself. Nor is it leaping forward due to nationalism. It does pain me when the so called 'foreign policy experts' from across the pond talk of Iranians as 'Arabs'.

Iran's prime foreign policy objective is to obtain independance from non-Persian influences. This is seen as anti-western by those who were previously usurped from their profitable Iranian concessions. In reality, it's none of the sort; Iran wishes to be free of all outside control: Western, Sunni-Arab(Iraqi), Russian, Chinese or whatever.

Personally, I don't see Iran as a threat to the 'West', unless 'we' actually, or are perceived as, threaten them. That's what worries me most about the current US foreign policy direction. I also beleive that Iran could be a major ally in the struggle against the spread of al-Qaida ideology and support.
 
#5
It's not often I agree with GWB, but in this instance I do. A country who's boss recently, very publicly, called for Israel to be 'wiped off the map' is not a country I would want to acquire nuclear weapons themselves, much less the capacity to manufacture them!

And for those who say Iran is peace loving, I would refer you to my post on the 'japan unclear' thread. No-one who wants nuclear technology purely for energy needs to spend 20 years and do it very, very covertly! They could have bought it all on the open market if all they wanted was energy. Incidentally, that begs the question - why would the worlds 3rd richest country in terms of energy supplies want more energy? Call me a suspicious old git, but I don't bellieve that for one minute!
 
#6
I wouldn't frame growing Iranian influence in terms of religion, I would frame Iranian influence in terms of political and economic influence. The Iranians are not doing anything that other regional powers such as Israel and Egypt haven't done.

The Iranians are the strongest independent 'Muslim' power in the region at the moment so are more able are able to tap into wide held 'Sunni' grievances and use them to their own advantage.
I agree. Its really the age-old Persian desire for regional hegemony, nothing new just that its being expressed via Shi'ism this time.
 

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