OpinionIran in the World PressThe threat from Iran

The threat from Iran

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Daily Telgraph – Leaders: It has been clear for many months that Iran has been actively involved in the Iraqi insurgency: by supplying arms and manpower to the militias who target American and British forces, and inciting sectarian violence, it has helped to maintain the state of chaotic instability which has persisted in spite of all attempts to bring order to the country. But as our report today makes clear, Iran is also engaged in a more sophisticated programme of political infiltration in Basra. The Daily Telgraph

LEADERS

It has been clear for many months that Iran has been actively involved in the Iraqi insurgency: by supplying arms and manpower to the militias who target American and British forces, and inciting sectarian violence, it has helped to maintain the state of chaotic instability which has persisted in spite of all attempts to bring order to the country. But as our report today makes clear, Iran is also engaged in a more sophisticated programme of political infiltration in Basra.

Anticipating the withdrawal of British forces there, it has apparently penetrated both the city’s security network and its political parties in order to be well-placed to dominate the power structure of southern Iraq when the coalition troops depart.

Most alarmingly, the Iranian plans entail seizing control of the southern Iraqi oil fields, effectively preventing western interests from gaining any stake in their supplies. Control of this resource and of the wealth that it produces would give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – one of the most dangerously malign political leaders on the global stage – a further source of strength in the region.

advertisementThe capacity of Iran to create anarchic violence and the apparent recklessness with which its leadership defies world opinion, not least in threats of annihilation toward Israel, might have inclined the West to underestimate its powers of political strategy. But as those in charge of our forces on the ground in Basra are clearly aware, Iran is not simply a delinquent state indulging in gratuitously destructive terrorism.

However absurd and nihilistic the posturing of its president may seem, his country is committed to an orchestrated political plan which will require systematic opposition. Having exhausted their domestic credibility on the military invasion of Iraq, the US and Britain are going to require a subtle and creative strategy to counter the Iranian threat.

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