The news of protests in Iran topped the attention of the world last week. The protests still fluctuate between opponents and supporters of the revolution and those who see such public protests as destructive and chaotic. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting at the request of the United States to discuss the situation in Iran following the protests that erupted on Dec 28, which resulted in deaths and injuries as well as the arrest of hundreds of protesters and the outbreak of rioting and looting.
In this article, I am not analyzing the actual reasons for this unrest – what is important for us is to emphasize the protection of our internal security in Kuwait in light of the worrying situation there, especially since we have a large community of Iranians living among us. Will these protests lead to real reforms or more sanctions to thwart any possible protests in the future?
The official Iranian response rejected the international intervention by the US, as the Iranian foreign minister considered the meeting of the Security Council at the request of Washington regarding the protests in Iran as a mistake of the US administration’s foreign policy. The Russian delegate agreed with the statement that Washington is exploiting the Security Council, adding the situation in Iran is not the responsibility of the UN. Meanwhile, the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations expressed her country’s position, saying that the US stands with those who seek freedom for themselves and dignity for their people.
I believe the situation is similar to the common expression: “Is the glass half empty or half full?” It is normal to see those who support or even applaud chaos in the streets and demands for change by force as an expression of the desire of young people for more freedom. It is also natural to see those who fear that such demands in a system like Iran will often clash with the regime and the way the state and its institutions are run. Therefore, calls for freedom indirectly imply regime change. Naturally, those who support such claims are considered a threat to the security of the country.
I think that the international reactions that came out as a response to the Iranian situation are usual in the event of any public protests, regardless of the country. International attitude is set by interests and not sentiments, especially among big countries such as the United States and Russia, when dealing with Iran. The most prominent proof of this is the issue of Syria. I think this should be an indicator of the Arab role in this matter. We as the international community should not add fuel to the situation between two main international forces and a strong state with an extended history like Iran.
How should we approach this issue in Kuwait? Kuwait has a long history with Iran as a neighboring country, with friendly ties. Therefore, the Kuwaiti role has always been that of calling for peace and dialogue in all crises in the region. A rationalist cannot support a country’s ruin because demands for change and reform shouldn’t threaten the lives of innocent people or send more people to prison. Both of these can lead to doubling the anger.
I think international mediation should be by a neutral European country. I hope to listen to an official Iranian side seeking to reach an understanding with the protesters and real reforms aimed at calming and resolving the problems that led to these protests in the first place, because the region can no longer tolerate more tension and violence. I wish peace to all and hope we can live together without fighting.
By Muna Al-Fuzai