Australian Financial Review, May 15 2018
No sensible expert on the Middle East should be able to assert that Iran is disinterested in “regional dominance”, “does not seek” it and “is light years from achieving” it without provoking laughter (“The art of regime change”, May 10).
Top regime figures have boasted that they control four Arab capitals – Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sana’a – while the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp openly says it wants to ensure Iranian control over a land corridor from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.
Domestically, Iranians know they are the ones paying the price for their leaders’ regional ambitions. Chants and slogans during widespread protests across Iran earlier this year explicitly criticised the regime for wasting the nuclear deal’s economic benefits on foreign interventions such as propping up Syria’s dictator.
Iran’s megalomania is so worrying that it has even pushed the Saudis, Kuwaitis, UAE and other Sunni Arab countries to form a covert alliance with Israel.
Yet Stephen Walt can only see the Machiavellian hand of Israel and its supposed neo-con pawns in the US behind concerns about the Iranian problem. The fact that he did not even mention the deep panic over Iran in almost all Arab capitals suggests Walt’s analysis was driven not by Trump’s policies but his own prejudices.
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council
South Melbourne, Vic