President Purges Moderates

From the January 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

Unperturbed by the world’s fiery reaction to his anti-Semitic comments in late October last year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad didn’t refrain from continuing with his controversial hard-line politics. November 2, the Iranian government announced it was sacking 40 ambassadors and senior diplomats whom it deemed too liberal and pro-Western in ideology.

Those fired include the representatives to London, Paris, Berlin and the United Nations—the four individuals who played key roles in Tehran’s arduous nuclear negotiations with the EU-3 this past summer.

Purging such diplomats and politicians in the midst of the controversial geopolitical climate speaks volumes about the future of Iranian foreign policy. It would seem now is the time Iran needs its most experienced ambassadors to assuage international concerns over its foreign policy. Instead, Tehran showed the world that it places little importance on mollifying international concern.

Tehran is rigidly unconcerned about the radical and highly controversial image it projects to the world, and is remaining dedicated to its hard-line, anti-Western, anti-Semitic foreign policy. President Ahmadinejad has a definite plan for Iran—and the Middle East—and his recent actions have everything to do with bringing that plan to fruition.

According to Middle East Newsline, Iran is saying it plans to intervene in the affairs of neighboring Middle East nations, including Afghanistan and Iraq. “In the first such high-level assertion, a leading Islamic military commander has placed the United States on notice that Iran reserves the right to intervene in the Middle East, Gulf and Central Asia. The commander said Iran would also seek to control events across the border in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq.

“‘Iran is in the center of three strategic and sensitive regions—the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus,’ Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim-Safavi, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said. ‘The Islamic republic, for this reason, can play a decisive role in regional, political, economic, cultural and security arrangements’” (Nov. 1, 2005).

Complete domination of the oil-rich, strategically situated Middle East is the goal. Not since the heady days of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has Iran’s foreign policy been so bold. A few years ago Iran barely made international news; nowadays, the nation publicly declares its aim to control the entire Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus.

It’s not difficult to see the problems Iran could create for America in the Middle East. But consider the problems an Iran-dominated Middle East could cause Europe.

Iranian missiles can already reach the Continent. An even more dominant Iran would control a large portion of Europe’s oil supply. It would have open access to the Mediterranean, the soft-underbelly of Europe. More importantly, an Iran-led Middle East would surround Jerusalem, the city dear to the hearts of many Catholic Europeans.

As Iran rallies the Middle East, and steadily moves away from rapprochement with the West, expect Europe to grow increasingly concerned with the direction this leader among Muslim nations is taking. It could even spur European nations to accelerate the process of unification.

President Ahmadinejad is filling his government with men of like mind. Iran will grow bolder in the face of Western nations. Watch to see how this prompts changes worldwide—in Europe’s Middle East policy; in America’s waning influence in the region; even in Asia’s efforts to pull together and present a united front to the rest of the world.