Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Please… Get Your Facts Straight

Iran recently issued two ridiculous statements demonstrating that its regime is a fantasy and an illusion. The first was made by the commander of the Navy of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, in fact he is better a “pirate”, Alireza Tangsiri. The “pirate” says: “We warn the Zionists and the West, especially the regressive states in the region, that our patience has limits. We do not want the blood of innocents to be spilled.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi made the second, more delusional and ridiculous, statement. “How can those who speak of democracy support regimes in the region that have not had a single election.” It seems that Raisi is applying the logic of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who believes that criticizing the “regime” for undermining freedom is itself an “indication of freedom.”

Both statements affirm what Dr. Mohammed Al-Rahimi wrote in his column yesterday. In Iran, he wrote, “there are men with turbans who only know basic political concepts,” adding, “religious clerics in power deny reality to a large extent.”

Regarding Raisi’s statement about elections, the reality is that Iran’s view on elections does not differ much from that of Hassan Nasrallah or Bashar al-Assad. Indeed, as far as they are concerned, elections are exclusion and assassination- monopolizing power with 99 percent support, even if that wreaks havoc on the country.

The Mullah regime, their reference point, is no different. It uses the ‘Guardian Council,’ which is effectively a filter, to eliminate whomever it wants, allowing only those whom it wants to run to do so. It also uses something else, which can be considered foundational, which is imprisoning its opponents and putting them under house arrest.

The fact is that the Mullah regime is the one that insulted democracy in the region, alienating all rational actors from it. Indeed, the mere emergence of Ayatollah Khomeini on the scene crushed democracy, be it in the Gulf, Iraq, Syria, or even Lebanon. He rendered it a threat to the stability of the region.

It suffices to look at the conditions of Iran itself, in addition to Lebanon and Iraq, since Khomeini came to power. The same applies to Iraq after the American invasion, as well as today and yesterday’s Syria. Of course, it is also true for Lebanon, the worst model of Arab democracy and elections.

This brings us to the statements of the “pirate,” who is no admiral. He warned of what he called the “regressive states in the region.” This is a ridiculous claim and an indication that the Mullah regime is deluded and feeds on fantasies. What regressive states is this “pirate” talking about? Is it the countries of the Arab Gulf?

Can’t he see what’s going on around him, contemplate the state of affairs in the Gulf, and compare it to Iran? Does he lack the capacity to compare how the peoples of the Gulf are living and compare it with how the Iranian people or those of the countries occupied by Iran live? Is it possible to compare the lives of Gulf women with those of Iran? Or even that of the youths?

Can the economic conditions, development, coexistence, peace and security in the Gulf be compared with those of Iran? Can countries that are open to investment and tourism be compared to a closed and backward regime that takes tourists hostage? Can they be compared to a regime that blows its country up and then accuses ISIS, as the Iranian regime did recently?

What the Mullahs do not discuss openly is their overwhelming desire to end the media coverage. They tried to impose a formula in which there is a choice between the media and stability. That is why the “pirate” is making threats. They want Saudi Arabia, for example, to stop covering the protests in Iran in order to ensure stability.

And so, who is the regressive one? It is certainly the Mullah regime. That is why we say: please get your facts straight. You are the regressive ones, not the countries of the region that you need decades to catch up to.