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Kayhan interview: Shia arc or Zionist arc?

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1) How do you assess Iran's presence in the region? Could we say the major reason for American hostility against Iran is its strong position in the middle-east?

Iran has played a vital role in the Middle East, especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Palestinians lost their superpower support, which had meant that the UN had a balanced voice to counter, at least to some extent, the US imperial objectives of world dominance, and Israel's objective to dominance in the Middle East, serving as a proxy for US interests.

The UN resolution of 1975 called Zionism "a form of racism and racial discrimination", which was revoked in 1991 under US pressure.

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The struggle to liberate Palestine suffered defeat after defeat since then, with the questionable -- and failed -- Oslo peace accords, the second Intifada (2000--05) (along with the first intifada, killing 5,300 Palestinians), the invasions of Gaza (2008, 2014) (3,700 Palestinians). According to official Israeli security data, between 750,000 and 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested and imprisoned by Israel since 1967.

This massacre of civilians has taken place with no sanctions against Israel, rarely even a scolding, showing the craven cowardice of the international community ruled by US hegemony. The Saudis provide petro-dollar support to the Palestinian Authority and to Palestinian refugees, but boycott Hamas, which has been held under siege by Israel for a decade, given material aid (mostly confiscated by Israel) only by brave western peace groups. Only Iran has dared to provide military support through Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This has left Iran as the victim of unceasing boycotts and scheming by the West, as well as almost daily calls to invade Iran.

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There is some light on the horizon, despite Arab hostility to Iran and timidity among peace campaigners in the West to openly support Iran. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) issued a report in March 2017 calling Israel an apartheid state, recalling the 1975 UN resolution.

Since most of the world's states have signed the Convention Against Apartheid, they are now obliged to act to punish instances of apartheid. Recommendations from the report include calls for:

" governments to "support boycott, divestment and sanctions activities".

" a comprehensive investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of the situation in Israel. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had already opened an investigation on Israel's 2014 bombing of Gaza and on the illegal settlements in the West Bank.

" 'criminal prosecutions of Israeli officials demonstrably connected with the practices of apartheid against the Palestinian people'. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni cancelled a trip to Brussels in 2017 when she was alerted that the prosecutors there might arrest her using the principle of universal jurisdiction.

It is easy to convince most people in the West in a few moments of sober discussion that Israel is a criminal state and that Iran is doing vital work to support the Palestinians -- without any ulterior motive, something that Arab states, under US hegemony, have neglected to do.

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The prejudice of an important element of the Arab world against the Palestinians was expressed by the most subservient of Arab states. At a meeting with Jewish leaders in New York in April 2018, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman castigated the Palestinian leadership for rejecting opportunities for peace with Israel for decades, and said they should either start accepting peace proposals or "shut up." Shocking as this was to hear publically, it shows the hypocrisy of unpopular Arab leaders who are worried more about their own restive peoples, than the noble struggle of the Palestinians to protect Muslim heritage in the epicentre of the Abrahamic faith.

Accusations are made against Iran, both from the imperialists and from Arab leaders, jealous of Iran's Islamic revolution, its ability to resist US invasion -- both military and cultural -- and western boycotts and financial pressures. A term 'the Shia crescent' was coined by western analysts to suggest that Iran wants to export Shiism and revolution to the Middle East and wield political power along the lines of the imperialist West.

Iran threatens no country or tries to direct political activity of others. The same specious claims were used against the earlier bete-noire of imperialism, the Soviet Union, which did not engage in coups and election interference in dozens of countries since the end of WWII. Such claims are a mere distraction from the aggressive agenda of imperialism to control the world.

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Eric writes for Al-Ahram Weekly and PressTV. He specializes in Russian and Eurasian affairs. His "Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games" and "From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-emerging Islamic Civilization" are available at (more...)
 
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