Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, who is not only a grand ayatollah but also a strong defender of all of Tehran’s policies, said on December 19 that “British statements of support for the Arab countries” are only aimed at “making the Arab sheikhs give away their monies to London.”

Comment:

This is another example of how Iranian officials are unable to respect neighboring states. Shirazi’s comments were in reaction to recent statements by the British prime and foreign ministers made in Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia respectively. The notion of Arab gullibility is a constant theme in Iranian official line of attack against Iran’s Arab neighbors. Tehran depicts the deep concerns of its Arab neighbors about its regional interventions as imaginary. Meanwhile, it takes little concrete action to address the many Arab anxieties about its behavior in the Middle East.