Iran seems to suffer from paranoia. Whenever there is internal strife, Tehran is swift to pin the blame on the countries in the region and the West.
So it came as no surprise when Iran launched into a diatribe against the Gulf states following the unfortunate attack on an annual military parade in Ahvaz, southwest Iran.
Tehran also summoned diplomats from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark and accused their countries of harbouring the “terrorists” behind Saturday’s firing which killed 25 people — the deadliest attack in the country in nearly a decade. All this fits in with Iran’s perennial penchant to play the victim.
And it doesn’t help.
Many of Iran’s problems lie within the country. But Tehran steadfastly refuses to acknowledge it, let alone address it.
If Iran is serious about tackling its internal issues, it has to realise that the problem is not exported from abroad.
When the strife is home-grown, spawned by a moribund economy, it is a wake-up call for the leadership.
High inflation and soaring prices had brought people on to the streets, calling on the regime to take measures to make their daily lives less miserable.
The US withdrawal from the ineffective nuclear deal and the sanctions that followed have brought additional strain on Tehran’s economy and currency.
The money spent on arming militias in the region could well be ploughed into its economy to alleviate the suffering of its people. That will help defuse the unrest at home.
Iran has to be a good neighbour too. And that means keeping its nose out neighbours’ affairs. But the Islamic Republic chooses to pursue its expansionist designs in the region with the help of militias.
It is no secret that Iran has been funding and arming the Al Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and many other groups in Iraq with the sole aim of fomenting unrest in the region.
Tehran is also a major backer of the Syrian regime in the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced many more. All these actions point to its ambition of becoming a regional superpower, at the expense of the states in the region.
The Gulf Cooperation Council has repeatedly called on Tehran to solve the pending issues through dialogue.
Every overture from Gulf states has been rebuffed by a regime that refuses to back down from its stubborn stances which lack in logic and common sense.
Tehran continues to act like a hegemon, ignoring the sovereignty of countries in the region. So it is tough to swallow when Iran accuses other countries of masterminding the attack in Ahvaz.
It has to realise that violence is no solution. And a peaceful Middle East is in the interest of all the countries in the region. Iran too has to play its part in ushering peace.