Apparently, however, human rights weren’t a topic open to discussion at the conference, and certainly not as it related to Iran’s own human rights record. When the subject was broached at a press conference promoting the terrorism summit, Salehi dismissed it by saying the issue of human rights had become nothing more than a “political tool by the West.”
While the Iranians may have used most of the conference to shoot propaganda volleys at the West, it did achieve some strategic results. Specifically, the Islamist Republic announced at the conference conclusion that it had agreed to join forces with Afghanistan and Pakistan in combating terrorism.
That agreement moved Iran one step closer toward controlling the strategically vital area that includes Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Iran has long been trying to eliminate the American and Western military presence in the region, efforts that have come closer to fruition as the US prepares to soon end its military presence in Iraq as well as accelerate its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Consequently, these Iranian efforts help to explain why three of the six presidents at the terrorism conference included Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai, Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari and Iraq’s Jalal Talabani. However, Iran’s courtship with these nations has been ongoing for some time.
For example, prior to the conference, Iran and Afghanistan had inked a bi-lateral counter-terrorism agreement, which according to Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister Ali Abdollahi, both countries would “exchange intelligence to launch simultaneous operations against terrorist and extremist groups.”
Abdollahi also stated that Iran was already engaged in providing training to the Afghan police, adding that the “Islamic Republic was willing to continue the important effort.”
Of course, not mentioned in Abdollahi’s statement were Iran’s still ongoing efforts to arm, train and provide safe-haven to both Taliban and al-Qaeda forces.
As for Iran and Iraq, both countries have been busily forging ever closer economic, military and foreign policy ties. A result of that blossoming friendship has been recent Iranian attempts to reassure Iraqis that an absence of America’s military presence will not threaten its security. Yet, lost in those reassurances have been any mention of Iran’s past and present efforts to fund, train and arm al-Qaeda and other insurgent groups within Iraq.
Finally, even though Pakistan has in the past accused Iran of funding insurgent groups within its borders, it hasn’t stopped a growing friendship between the two nations. In fact, only days before the conference, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced an agreement to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and mutual engagement between the two countries. As Ali Zardari said, “We need to take full advantage for our geo-strategic locations for ushering in a new era of development in our countries, in particular, and in the whole region.”
So, as Iran continues to forge more and more security and economic pacts with nations it has and — in some cases — still is terrorizing, the inescapable conclusion one can only draw is that in the Iranian case at least: terrorism indeed works. It is an interesting topic that maybe the Islamist regime will bring up for discussion at Tehran’s next international conference on fighting terrorism.
Frank Crimi is a writer living in San Diego, California. You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog, www.politicallyunbalanced.com.
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