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US strategic mistake; Iran’s power soaring

Tehran, Several western analysts reckon that the outcome of the policies of the US and its allies in West Asia is the increase of Iran's power and promotion of Iran's position.

'Our influence is with the people. We have very good relations with regional governments. Saudi Arabia imposes pressure, intimidates, pays. We don't engage in that type of activity,' Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted saying in an interview with US PBS Channel.

'Despite the fact that the United States and almost every other powerful nation support Saudi Arabia actively and try to undermine us actively, we are still the most influential power in the Middle East. That should tell you something. That should tell you that we have made the right choices, and they've made the wrong choices.'

Some analysts believe that the power of certain Middle Eastern countries, especially Egypt, has decreased; however, after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Iran's leverage in the regional countries has increased.

National Interest wrote in an article titled '4 Middle East Events That Helped Expand Iran's Influence' that revolutions in Arab countries (Arab Spring), US policies regarding Iraq, the war in Syria, and Yemen developments have had great influence in increasing Iran's power and leverage.

'For war, the key implication is a rising likelihood of a confrontation between Israel and the Iranian allies in Syria and Lebanon, notably Hezbollah, although mutual deterrence is likely to reduce the probability of an actual fighting.'

The article added, 'In all four cases, however, Iran is the regional power that has gained the most. This poses a major challenge to Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies and also to Israel. This is the main reason for the recent rapprochement between the Saudis and Israelis.'

Also NATO Newsletter wrote, 'The events of the Arab Spring proved to be a game changer for the Islamic Republic. The overthrow of Arab rulers paved the way for a more assertive Iranian foreign policy in the Middle East. The wave of democratization reached, among others, countries with sizeable Shia communities.'

Referring to increase of Iranian power and leverage in the region, the NATO newsletter wrote that after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal was signed, a window of opportunity for improved relations between the West and Iran opened, 'Yet, the agreement does not address the fundamental issue behind western governments' effort to isolate Iran.'

Huffington Post wrote that Iran's leverage in Iraq sped up after the fall of Saddam Hussein; however, Saudi Arabia's power has weakened so much that Riyadh has not been able to defeat the Houthis, who are close to Iran, in Yemen.

Iran's power is a fact that has worried some Arab countries, inasomuch as Iran's leverage has expanded from Yemen, a Saudi neighbor, to Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Palestine.

The article comments that the power of Iran is not due to interventionist policies, but thanks to weakness of the Arab rulers. Iran is influential from Beirut to Sanaa, which means it has influence in one fifth of the Arab World and its leverage is increasing.

Experts of international affairs say that a big portion of what is happening in the Middle East is because e of US policies in the region.

Foreign Affairs wrote that it is necessary that the US concede that Iran is a power and try to correct and change its policies that destabilize the Middle East.

Vali Nasr wrote in his article, 'As Iran's willingness to engage with the United States over its nuclear program showed, it is driven by hardheaded calculations of national interest, not a desire to spread its Islamic Revolution abroad. The Middle East will regain stability only if the United States does more to manage conflict and restore balance there.'

New York Times wrote that a key to Iran's strategy is 'to rely not on conventional military hardware or control of territory' which has enabled it 'to amplify its power in the Arab world while decreasing the threat to its own forces and homeland. It has also created a problem for countries including the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who fear Iran's growing influence but have struggled to come up with ways to stop it.'

Citing the Israeli officials, New York Times claimed, 'Iran and its allies are seeking to establish a land corridor from Iran to the Mediterranean, via Iraq, Syria and Lebanon,' which has worried the Zionist regime.

The Times wrote Iran's moves in the region have alarmed the United States, so it caused some US reactions. It quoted Lieutenant General HR McMaster, Trump's national security adviser as saying 'What's particularly concerning is that this network of proxies is becoming more and more capable.''

Aljazeera reported that US policies are strengthening Iran, an example of which is Iraq's situation.

'Persistence of the international and regional powers' 'one-Iraq' policy has evidently resulted in the emergence of a 'two-Iran' reality in the Middle East. The increasing Iranian influence over Baghdad throughout the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) concluded with Tehran's proxies dominating the country's 'disputed areas' and Kurdistan proper. It is fair to claim that the future of Iraq is now in the hands of Iran today, rather than any other regional and/or international actor.'

However, many analysts believe that the procedure of Iran's policies has been natural; Iran has used the existing situation in favor of its own security. What's more, Iran's policies have been successful because it has been able to create strong allies in the regional countries.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency

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