• Wednesday 21st April 2021

What Some Fear An Iran Deal Could Mean… Geneive Abdo

This scenario may not be far-fetched. For many Sunnis, the extension only plays into Iran’s geopolitical interests.

 

 

What Some Fear an Iran Deal Could Mean…

Geneive Abdo

 

A thawing of relations with the West may well go far in uniting minority groups in the Middle East with the same strategic interest: opposition to Sunni rule.

BEIRUT—The

extension of nuclear negotiations between Shi’a Iran and world powers over Tehran’s illicit nuclear program and the prospect of a permanent deal are fueling fear among Sunni naysayers that extends far beyond nukes. A thawing of relations with the West through continued diplomacy may well go far in uniting minority groups in the Middle East with the same strategic interest: opposition to Sunni rule.

This scenario may not be far-fetched. For many Sunnis, the extension only plays into Iran’s geopolitical interests. They say the extension ultimately could result in warmer relations with Western powers in order for Tehran to continue supporting Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, coordinate with world powers to retain a Shi’a-led government in Iraq, and keep pressure off Hezbollah in Lebanon in order for the party to prevent Sunni extremists from emerging inside the country.

In June, I was in Tripoli in northern Lebanon and several Salafist scholars expressed concern that Iran and Hezbollah

might become allies of the United States if a permanent agreement were reached between Iran and six world powers, known as the P5+1. At the time, I dismissed this possibility as a typical Middle East conspiracy theory.

But when I returned to Lebanon in mid-July, I realized there was a well-thought-out analysis behind the alarm over warming U.S.-Iranian relations. The United States could be lured not necessarily by Iran specifically, but by what is being called a “coalition of minorities,” with Iran at the helm.


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