Yes, Rouhani’s smile diplomacy is very effective. But that isn’t stopping Tehran’s longstanding link with terrorism from taking more and more lives – including Iranian diplomats’ lives.
Since late November, Beirut has been rocked by a series of at least four terrorist bombings against Iran directly – its embassy – and indirectly through Hezbollah “territory.”
Beirut is the tip of the iceberg: A few thousand miles away, an Iranian diplomat was recently killed in Yemen by a “terrorist group”. Frustrated, Tehran has linked all the terrorist attacks to Al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia (and intends to lodge a formal complaint against Riyadh for its alleged involvement).
This cycle of violence seems far from over.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif attempts to refocus the blame. Iran, he said, was ready to “reveal evidence of sponsors of terrorism in the Middle East” – specifically in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.
As for the attack in Yemen, he emphasized that the foreign ministry is putting a lot of pressure – “successfully” – on Yemen to “bring the assassins to justice“.
Zarif also dropped a bomb of his own at Davos by redefining the strength of Tehran’s bond with Hezbollah – none. Not only did he deny “sending” Hezbollah to Syria, he added that it was “preposterous to suggest that Tehran was supporting extremist groups fighting in Syria”.
Iranians understand terrorism very well – particularly the value of diplomats as high-profile victims. Their diplomats in hot-spot countries understand this as well, and probably wish they would get transfer orders ASAP. They’re at the mercy of Zarif, who would like to have it both ways but won’t be allowed to do so – neither by the Syrian opposition, nor by the Al-Qaeda splinter groups.
That’s the price of riding the tiger. Poor Iranian diplomats.