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John Chuckman


I think the headline is worded badly.

Iran has no need to “assert” its right to play a role in the Middle East. This is its neighborhood.

Iran has a role just naturally owing to its great size – more population than France or Britain – and to the fact it has many cultural and historic connections throughout the region.

Israel, for example, is a newcomer and its main population consists largely of Americans and Europeans. Many of its traditions and symbols and its culture are imports into the region from just decades ago.

Persia has an immense history, and it is even likely the place of origin for the biblical Hebrews – not the Ashkenazim who immigrated to modern Israel and almost certainly have no relationship other than religion with the ancient Hebrews.

America’s deliberate destruction of Iraq – done largely for the geo-political benefit of Israel – has only opened up new opportunities for Iranian influence too. That invasion will surely prove to have been a vast mistake in the long run, and I don’t mean just because of Iran’s new opportunities.

But people addicted to war and using force in their affairs – America and Israel, modern Iran never having attacked anyone – just do not understand that they cannot remold societies with bombs.

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