.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Iran's plans are right on course

A year ago I wrote a series of articles that maintained that Iran's goal was to become the undisputed leader of the Islamic world and use that as a platform to become a global superpower. Events since then have only solidified my opinion.

Here is an inconsequential article from the Iranian press that, when analyzed, shows the Iranian goals of being the Islamic world superpower is still quite alive and well:
TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei called for the adoption of new methods of propaganda for the growth and exaltation of the Hajj pilgrims.

The Leader further reiterated the necessity for taking the opportunity of Hajj to practice cultural and spiritual activities, and called for the adoption of initiatives to propagate the Islamic values and increase knowledge of the Hajj pilgrims.

He underlined that cultural activities spark intellectual evolution, reminding that providing service to Hajj pilgrims is a precious opportunity.

Ayatollah Khamenei also underlined the importance of the spiritual and cultural effects of Hajj, and called for the adoption of new methods of propaganda to elevate the thoughts of the pilgrims to Mecca, the House of God.

At the beginning of the meeting, representative of the Leader and caretaker of Iranian Hajj pilgrims presented a report on the performance of Hajj rituals in Mecca this year, and said that the efforts and progress made by the Islamic Republic in the field of the nuclear technology and the victory of the Lebanese Hezbollah over the Zionist regime's aggression have encouraged the pilgrims from other countries to show more affinity with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
If one wants to be the leader of all Muslims, the best place to show leadership is at Hajj where millions gather annually. Iran grasped this and spends much effort and time to provide Hajj pilgrims with organized Iranian propaganda - both religious and political. Iran is clearly trying to usurp Saudi Arabia's position as the religious center of Islam, and it is trying to establish itself as the political center as well, a position that has been pretty much vacant since Egypt signed Camp David.

Saudi Arabia still has Mecca and Medina, of course, so it still owns the geographic center of Islam and the Hajj destination. But the holy cities of Shiite Islam are both in Iraq (Karbala and Najaf). And Iran has been trying to pump up the importance of its own holy cities of Qom and Mashhad. It would not be surprising to see Iran try to increase its influence on the Iraqi Shiite holy cities to push the Islamic world towards Iran and away from Saudi Arabia.