Iran is one of the central strategic players in the region, and in the case of ISIL , it has gone insufficiently noticed in the Western capitals because of the bad relations which have existed between the West and Iran, member of parliament in Britain says here in Tehran.
The very first international conference on WAVE (World Against Violence and Extremism) was held in Tehran on December 9 -10 and welcomed by government officials, political and religious figures as well as researchers from all four corners of the world, from Britain, the U.S., Brazil, Sweden to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The WAVE initiative was proposed by President Hassan Rouhani to the UN General Assembly in New York in 2013. A few months later the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to approve the proposal, which called on all nations across the globe to denounce violence and extremism.
I had the honor to interview Richard Bacon, a member of parliament in Britain, who came across an extraordinary friendly person and frankly more like an American than a Britisher.
Following is the text of interview:
Mr. Bacon, do you think ISIL poses a threat to Europe which is an immediate neighbor to the Middle East?
ISIL is a very serious threat. I think for many people in Europe the growth of ISIL has come as a surprise. The way it was reported or rather was not reported in the last few years. ISIL exists as a fully formed entity with armies, vehicles, access to very large amount of money, finance network, even oil wealth which is getting cash. People are asking themselves how this happened. All of a sudden you blink one day and the next day it happened.
I think the truth of the matter is, a lot has been happening for some years and some people even warned about it, but it didn’t make itself in the Western media as a general part of the Western discourse or narrative.
I don’t think it should’ve been a surprise but it has been a surprise.
If you have a failed state then this is the sort of thing that happens. In the last few years, Iraq smashed to pieces and became a failed state.
There has been a lot of efforts trying to put it back together, but in my personal view what if we hadn’t broken it in the first place.
When we had the vote in British parliament in 2003, I was a fairly newly elected member of parliament, I might’ve been there for only 18 months, I voted against the invasion of Iraq because I thought it would probably make things worse and I think the evidence is that it did make things worse and we are now dealing with the consequences.
What is the role of Iran in countering ISIL in the region?
I think Iran has a very important role to play. Iran is one of the central strategic players in the region, and in that case, it has gone insufficiently noticed in the Western capitals because of the bad relations which have existed between the West and Iran.
And it yet turns out that whether you look at the situation to the east in Afghanistan or whether you look at Iraq or Syria, that Iran has a very, very important role to play to ensure stability. It is very striking that Iran across an area in the Middle East that is characterized by considerable instability, torment and civil war.
Iran is now a beacon of stability which I think will come to even more surprise to people in the Western governments. But I think it is an accurate description that Iran is a place where you come to in safety; Iran is a place where people can go back their business.
I think this conference is a very significant step. It sends an important signal of Iran’s willingness to use its influence and to engage with the world and it is tremendously welcomed and I am pleased to have the opportunity to come here.
Source: Tehran Times