Iran’s Hassan Rouhani is prepared his epic speech for the UN in which he will propose a Hormuz Peace Initiative with an eye to changing Iran’s role in the Middle East and the world. “This plan is about collective work within the Persian Gulf region and we want all countries of the region to partake in it.”
This is a big gamble. Iran has even invented an acronym for its project. It is called “HOPE.” The initiative was rolled out by Rouhani as he spoke during a military parade that marks the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war.
This is “defense week” when Iran’s chauvinism, nationalism and militarism will all roll into one. Iran’s goal will be to send the “moderate” Rouhani to the US while the “hardliners” back home parade with all their latest gadgets and technology, sending a message to the region: Be nice and accept the carrot, or you’ll get the stick.
Rouhani has said that Iran is extending a hand of friendship. It’s making an offer that its neighbors can’t refuse, like Don Corleone, just the IRGC’s Luca Brasi-like character is waiting in the wings. Iran says that foreign forces and “enemies of Islam” are causing problems in the Middle East. Translation: The US and Israel.
Iran’s Press TV says that Iranian armed forces have brought security to Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon. It’s not clear precisely how they have brought security to those places, since many locals in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq would disagree that Iranian-backed militias, that alllook increasingly like mini-IRGC copies, are bringing “security.”
Iranian local media in Farsi says that the strike on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq has reduced Aramco’s value to the period before 2015. In addition Tasnim news says that despite 40 years of the US trying to isolate Iran, Tehran is more powerful than ever. To boost Iran’s feelings of regional grandeur, an official from Lebanese Hezbollah has said the attack on Aramco changed the whole “regional equation.”
This is how Iranian media telegraphs its policy. At home some officials deny the Abqaiq attack but then highlight how amazing it was and give huge space to allies in Lebanon and Yemen to boast about it. Message: We did it, but we’ll let others say that. Iran may have learned this tactic from another country in the region that sometimes keeps mum about alleged involvement in attacks, only to have reports appear in foreign media about them. Clearly Hezbollah’s message is directed at Israel.
While Rouhani I reading his speech in New York Iran will be showcasing indigenous weapon systems of the kind that struck Saudi Arabia. Passive radar, low altitude cruise missiles, small “flying robots” and combat drones. One drone can carry a payload of four 22.6 kilogram bombs and has arrange of 1,000 km. It’s not like Iran is keeping this secret, it’s media is bragging about all the equipment that would be necessary to strike a place like Abqaiq. And that’s the real message Rouhani is bringing to New York: Behave and join us, or there could be more Abqaiqs. It would be a shame if there were, he is hinting.