The regime of Iran pretends that there is a deep hostility between Iranians and Israelis. On the other side, the regime of Iran has been trying to prove that the Iranian people care about Palestinians in a special way (let say different from their feeling about the Chechens in Russia). Both of these claims are baseless and wrong. Iranians do not feel any hostility towards Israelis and Iranians have no special place in their hearts for the Palestinians.
Iranians had a great role in the ancient history of the Jews. The name of Cyrus the great is mentioned many times in the Old Testament. Cyrus freed the Jews while they were living in exile and under captivity in Babylon. He let them return to Jerusalem and helped them to build their main temple. The dates of these events are occasions for some of the most important celebrations of the Jews. This is also a source of great honor for Iranians as the flag bearers of the religious tolerance, human rights, and respect for the “others”. In addition to these historical relations, there are many similarities between Iran and Israel, such as:
1- Iran, like Israel, is a non-Arab country in the Middle East. Amir Taheri, a prominent Iranian journalist, has mentioned in his article: “If Israel had never appeared on the map, the energy of the pan-Arab nationalism movement, which dominated Arab politics in the post-war era, would have been directed against two other neighbors: Turkey and Iran. To a certain extent, it was anyway. Even today, the Arab League claims that the Turkish province of Iskanderun is ‘usurped Arab territory’ and regards the Iranian province of Khuzestan as ‘occupied Arab land’.”
2- Iran and Israel both follow a religion that is different from the Arabs. Israelis are mostly Jews, and Iranians are mostly Shiite (Sunni do not consider Shiites as a branch of Islam in many Arab countries). Iranians are not serious Muslims (compare the behaviors of Iranians to the people of the Arab countries) and it is accepted by some researchers that Shiite sect was “invented” by Iranians as a kind of instrument to be different from the Sunni Arabs.
3- Iran, like Israel, is accused by the Arabs for being an occupier of the Arab lands. The case of Israel is clear and the case of Iran is related to the three Islands in the Persian Gulf that the UAE has put a claim on them. (The UAE did not exist before 1971).
Therefore, the two countries must have the best relations. However, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran claims to be the first enemy of Israel. Why? Because: the government of the Islamic Republic is also the worst enemy of the Iranian people.
A look at the record of the Islamic Republic of Iran reveals that that during the last quarter of the century, this regime has done everything possible to eradicate the Iranian identity of Iran. If they have not succeeded to do so, it was not due to their failure to work hard or their use of less violent tactics as compared to the Afghan Talibans. The reason was that the people of Iran did not let them to get what they wanted. The regime of Iran is determined to use the case of Israel as:
1- a pretext to fight the people of Iran who do not feel any hostility towards the Israelis.
2- The regime has failed in all cultural, economic, and political fields and it wants to find an enemy to accuse for its failures.
3- The regime of Iran has lost its legitimacy and it is trying to find a mission for itself.
The people of Iran do not feel to have a special obligation to defend the rights of the Palestinians too. There are countless Arab countries, with money and power and good relations and they are in much better position to defend the Palestinians.
In fact, the Arabs, including the Palestinians, never have asked or welcomed the intervention of the Iranian regime in the Palestinian issue. They consider this as Arabic issue and consider the intervention of Iran as step from the “outside” and they look at Iran as they look at Israel. During the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), no Arab country or person, including the Palestinians and the Syrians, who were fed by the Iranian regime, participated on behalf of Iran. As far as the case of three Iranian Islands in the Persian Gulf is concerned, all Arab states, including Palestinians and Syrians, have stood behind the baseless claims of the UAE.
Perhaps one of the most important acts during the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988) was the daring attack of Israel against the nuclear facilities of Iraq (Osiraq). If Saddam had managed to complete its nuclear bomb, he would not have hesitated one second for using it against Iran (Khomeini was the same).
When the president of Iran, who is under education for learning the Alphabet of politics, claimed that Israel should be wiped out or the Holocaust did not exist, the people of Iran showed no sympathy. However, many Arabs, who do not dare to speak out for themselves, got happy. Some people in Iran showed their disagreement with the president by asking: “whose president are you? Iranians or Palestinians?” Are we out of problems that we want to solve the problems of the other countries?
This is a piece from my recent book (Bahman Aghai Diba, Problems of the Islamic Republic of Iran: How not to govern a country, published in the USA by CreateSpace, June 2011)