22 June 2016: Browsing through the Politico-Defense tab on the semi-official Fars News website, it becomes obvious what Tehran’s “foreign policy” priorities are: inciting hatred and undermining stability in the region.
Qassem Soleimani, who has been designated as a terrorist by the United States on more than one occasion, outwardly threatened the leadership in Manama on June 20, 2016, following the decision of the government to revoke radical Shia cleric Isa Qassim’s citizenship.
“They certainly know that trespassing the sanctuary of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim is a red line whose crossing will set fire to Bahrain and the entire region and leave people with no other option but armed resistance. The Al-Khalifa will pay the price of such an action whose endpoint will be nothing but annihilation of this tyrannical regime,” Soleimani warned.
The impact of Soleimani’s comments didn’t stop there. Several Iranian officials hopped on the bandwagon, using the opportunity to advance the narrative that Iran will set fire to Bahrain and the entire region. Considering the devastation being wrought in Syria, Iraq and Libya, these threats should not be ignored by any party interested in preventing the spread of more violence or stemming the proliferation of failed states in the region.
A senior political official of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and advisor to the Supreme Leader’s Representative at the IRGC, underlined the importance of the “warning” issued by Soleimani. Even Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif echoed the sentiment of the designated terrorist.
Rapporteur of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini said that “the formation of such a move will lead to the al-Khalifa’s annihilation.”
The IRGC itself released a statement that read, “This move will result in inflaming Bahrain’s Islamic revolution and will expedite the collapse of the puppet regime in the country.
The desire of Tehran’s foreign policy establishment to see yet another Arab country go up in flames is telling. Sectarianism, generally considered as a major destabilizing factor in a volatile region, is not a phenomenon to be avoided by Tehran. Instead, it is embraced with open arms to fan the flames of even more destruction and war.