Hardliners Threaten Further Action
January 5, 2016: In the aftermath of attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran by angry rioters, diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and other Arab States have been broken off. A look at how hardline media in Iran covered the attacks on the embassy in Tehran helps shed light on the direction that the rising tensions are taking.
The newspaper considered the most conservative in Iran, Kayhan, highlighted the attacks on its front page—using the opportunity to send a stark message of revenge to Saudi Arabia for Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr’s execution. “The unjustly spilled blood of this martyr will soon show its effect and vengeance on Al Saud” cited Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech on the matter, along with an interview given by Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of Hezbollah. Nasrallah stated, “We won’t forget Al-Nimr’s martyrdom easily.”
Inflammatory remarks and threats were showcased on the front page of another hardliner newspaper Resalat with an article that covered protests across Iran entitled “We will burn Al Saud.” An affiliate of the regime’s Revolutionary Guards, Fars News Agency, referred to Saudi Arabia as a “frog” in the region.
According to IranWire “Frogs in the Peninsula Use Revolvers” was a sarcastic reference to Saudi Arabia’s size and significance. “The region is in chaos, from Syria to Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen,” the article said. “In this situation, the frogs of the region became armed. But we shouldn’t be afraid, because the dignity of the Iranian civilization is far beyond a few Arab countries that came to exist after the world wars.” It should be noted that despite the attempts by Rouhani and others to pacify international outrage at the failure to protect the embassy through empty statements of distancing the regime from the violent mob attacks, the article in question did not condemn the attacks on the embassy and consulate in Mashhad.
The position of the ultraconservatives towards the embassy attacks has been made clear, and the links to fanatical regime-supporters and the regime itself certainly cannot be denied. Questions have risen about the willingness of the police to step in to protect to embassy and consulate from rioters, and the media coverage of the attacks further strengthens these doubts.
As the relations between Iran and the Gulf States continue their downward spiral, the positioning of the regime and its supporters blatantly continue to incite tensions that may soon reach a breaking point.