Iran can participate in fighting terrorism only by changing its political objectives

Iran can participate in fighting terrorism only by changing its political objectives

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 3

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Iran can take an effective role in fighting terrorism in Middle East, once it revises its policies towards the region, James Dorsey, senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies believes.

Speaking on what Iran can offer to fight regional terrorism, the expert said that obviously, this relates to Iranian support for groups like Lebanon's Hezbollah as well as its support for the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as well as operations of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force.

"Iran's contributions would have to be pressuring the Iraqi government to adopt more inclusive policies towards Sunnis, seeing Assad as part of the problem rather than the solution and ensuring that non-conventional groups with which it is aligned refrain from terrorism, and contribute to nation and state building by for example laying down its arms in Lebanon and withdrawing from Syria," Dorsey told Trend Oct. 3.

Iran's president earlier made it clear that the country will continue to fight terrorism. Speaking at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Hassan Rouhani said that the Islamic Republic is ready to root out the international terrorism.

He also said that Iran ready to establish the peace in Yemen and Syria, like its efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Iran is already clashing with some regional countries in particular Saudi Arabia over a number of issues, especially their support for opposing sides in the Syrian and Yemen civil war. Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse the Islamic Republic of destabilizing the region, something that Tehran denies.

In recent months Iranian officials have warned about spreading terrorism to its borders.

The country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni said last May that the Islamic Republic enemies are trying to bring the proxy war to Iranian borders.

"We have received some information that our enemies are working with some Persian Gulf governments to bring the proxy war to Iranian borders," Khameni noted.

But how protected is Iran against rising terrorism in the region? Dorsey believes that Iran obviously has strong military, security and intelligence forces. Nonetheless, it confronts both external and internal threats.

"The external threats divvy up into those by groups like the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL or ISIS, also known as Daesh) that are mitigated by the fact that the group at this point has other fish to fry and external support for domestic groups demanding ethnic rights. The risk of external support for domestic groups is linked to Iran's domestic threats stemming from policies that fail to give minorities full rights."

Iranian officials confirm that the IS group is making efforts to absorb its Sunni residents. In the most recent remark Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said in September the IS terrorist group has so far failed to recruit the country's Sunni Muslim minority.

"A good interaction between the state agencies and Sunni Muslim clerics has prevented Daesh and other extremist groups from recruiting people from the country's Sunni minority."

He further said that Iran had also foiled dozens of plots hatched by foreign intelligence bodies to destabilize the country.

In the past few months, extremist groups have conducted several attacks against local police offices in Iran's south eastern Sistan and Baluchestan province. The groups claim they're fighting against the Iranian government for protection of Sunni residents of the province.

Umid Niayesh is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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