Rouhani’s Call For ‘Muslim Unity Against US’: News Analysis

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Iranian President Hasan Rouhani has called for unity of Muslim countries against the United States instead of what he called “rolling the carpet for criminals”. The latter part is interpreted as a dig at Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states in particular which are having a close-knit partnership with the US under President Donald Trump’s stewardship.

“Submitting to the West headed by America would be treason against our religion … and against the future generations of this region”. “We have a choice to either roll out red carpets for criminals or to forcefully stand against injustice and remain faithful to our Prophet, our Koran and our Islam,” Rouhani told an international Islamic conference in Tehran on Saturday–broadcast live on state television.

Desperate Times

Even after the waiver which the United States provided to its close allies for buying Iranian oil, the country’s economy continues to struggle as the result of sanctions which Trump imposed earlier this month. The situation is getting hard to cope with for President Rouhani and his aides, as demands are coming from Supreme council to the parliament and everywhere but no reasonable solution is being projected.

The masses are struggling with power outages, hiked prices of daily food commodities which have touched 50% increase since the sanctions were re-imposed. The sanction is not simply limited to oil trade but forbids the purchase of U.S dollar alongside inhibiting gold and metal trade. Most recent round of sanctions is as a result of the backing out of United States from Iran nuclear deal under the objection that the deal does not cover Iran’s ballistic missile program and its growing influence in the region.

Both the domains are troublesome for U.S’ ally Israel and Saudi Arabia who were not happy with the way President Obama dealt with Iran during his tenure. It was precisely after the JCPOA that Iran managed to look beyond keeping the economy going and toward flexing the muscles in the Middle East. Currently, Iran holds key strategic leverage in Iraq, Syria and, courtesy of Houthis, over Saudi Arabia. But with the latest rounds of sanctions, the focus is thrown back to the economy which is what the United States and Saudi Arabia want.

Iran is hopeful to come out of this crisis but the strategy to do so is still lacking. Iran Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif acknowledged the fact that common people have suffered and continue to suffer because of the precarious state of the national economy but he is an optimist that Iran will thrive. “We will certainly survive. We will not only survive – we will thrive. We have tried to minimize the impact on the population but the ordinary people are going to suffer, the economy is going to suffer.”

Call for Muslim Unity – Out of Question!

Right now all the major spheres of influence are busy in securing their own national interests rather pushing forward for the greater good of Muslims countries around the world. Turkey is in a state of conflict with Saudi Arabia for using its land to carry out the assassination of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Gulf States under the leadership of Saudi Arabia has been at war with Yemen for the past four years in which Pakistan does not approve for various reasons. Pakistan is trying to diverge its foreign policy and align with the national strategic needs while the Arab states, in general, have an obsession with the US these days. Iran itself is struggling with the quagmire of inflation and internal unrest.

In such a scenario, calling for a Muslim unity might be good to hear but in practicality, it’s not achievable. Even in practice, Iran has been after its own strategic interests since it got the breathing space after Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Therefore, call for Muslim unity while ignoring the national interest sounds good in essence and that is all.

(Global Village Space)

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