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From the Damavand Vote to Nuclear Talks in WikiLeaks: Mohajerani Remains Silent; the Three Islands in the Persian Gulf

By Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz Online

In the wake of the most recent leaks of classified intelligence diplomatic cables belonging to Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry - posted on the WikiLeaks site - Iran’s minister of culture and Islamic guidance during reformist president Mohammad Khatami’s administration is mentioned to have received money from Saudi Arabia. When approached, Mohajerani chose to remain silent and said he would respond at a “suitable” time.

On another front, official Iranian media and security-affiliated websites have chosen to remain silent on other WikiLeak documents that speak of a deal between the Islamic republic in which it would quieten its aggressiveness over the three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration in return for UAE’s support for Syria’s Bashar Assad. The most recent Saudi documents published by the site touch on such topics as the “Damavand vote” of former president Khatami, Faezeh Hashemi’s trip to Saudi Arabia, nuclear talks, relations between the Islamic republic and al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood and also the bombing in Argentina and Mansour Arbab Sayar who was arrested in the US on charges of terrorist activity against the Saudi ambassador in Washington DC.

Last Friday WikiLeaks posted some 60,000 documents in Arabic which contain many translations, analysis etc. specifically belonging to Saudi embassies in various countries. The documents portray Saudi views and positions regarding other countries. Of these, some 1,288 documents relate to Iran. Two of the documents have become hot in Iran’s social network discourse and have been commented and protested by Iranians: Mohajerani’s receipt of money from Saudi Arabia and the Islamic republic’s reticence over the status of three Persian Gulf islands that are controlled by Iran but have been claimed by the UAE as well.

One of the documents, speaks of a request by officials of the Islamic republic of Iran for support for Bashar Assad. According to the document, the Islamic republic proposes to the UAE a quad quo pro through which Iran asks the UAE to support Bashar Assad of Syria in return for which Iran would remain silent about the status of the three Persian Gulf islands (of Abu Musa, Greater Tonb and Lesser Tonb) which the sheikhdom also claims. The document writes that not only did the UEA accept the deal, it also helped Iran receive oil money as a way to circumvent the international sanctions against the Islamic republic.

What has angered Iranians is that the Islamic republic is willing to give up Iranian territory to gain support for Bashar Assad.

Farahmand Alipour an Iranian journalist writing on the Middle East however interprets the document to show that the Islamic republic was applying pressure on the UAE. He writes that Iran has in fact asked the UAE to oppose military intervention in Syria. It is the UAE that uses this request by Iran to extract its own benefit by asking Tehran to quieten down on the status of the three disputed islands in the Persian Gulf.

The other leaked document is about the payment of 65,000 Pounds as education scholarship and silence of the son of Ataollah Mohajerani in London by Saudi Arabia. According to this document, on orders of the then foreign minister of Saudi Arabia Saud alFaisal, the Saudi ministry of treasury paid this amount. In the document Mohajerani is mentioned as Iran’s former minister of culture. While remaining silent on the document, Mohajerani recently told the BBC that he would respond at the right time. But there is also another document on Mohajerani in which alFaisal writes to the Saudi minister of haj to invite Mohajerani to participate in a large haj conference in 2012. Yet another document shows that Saudi Arabia exerted its influence so that Mohajerani could be on the governing council of an international institute on religions and dialog between civilizations. Ali Mohtadi, a journalist resident in Paris twitted that in addition to providing financial scholarship and financing the residency of Mohajerani’s son in London, there are another five documents in the WikiLeak posts about Mohajerani.

What is not clear through these documents is what the Saudi’s expected from Mohajerani when they accepted to help him financially. Alef website in Iran belonging to right-wing elements wrote that the 65,000 Pounds had been paid on Mohajerani’s own request, and not as a proposal by the Saudis. Still, the document has been used by pro-regime sites such as Raja News - which opposes the current administration of Hassan Rouhani - to write that “the puzzle of financial support of Iranian seditionists by al-Saud is now solved” and it claims that “When in 2010 ayatollah Janati revealed during a Friday congregational prayer in Tehran that the al-Saud family had provided a billion Dollars to Iranian seditionists so the Green Movement in Iran could topple the Islamic regime in Tehran, many media outlets questioned this and few in those days could believe that in a few years documents would emerge to show that the son of Ataollah Mohajerani, the minister of culture during the reformist administration, would receive money from the Saudis.”

Kayhan newspaper too used the document to show that Saudi Arabia was an accomplice in the anti-regime “seditionist” activities in 2009. Pointing to the document that mentions Faeze Hashemi Rafsanjani, Kayhan wrote that the document says that the daughter of Iran’s former president Hashemi Rafsanjani appeared at a private dinner in Riyadh on June 13, 1999, unrecognizable in appearance with short hair and spoke for 30 minutes.

Another WikiLeak document mentions writes that during parliamentary elections in Iran, seyed Mohammad Khatami cast his vote in Damavand; a vote that was negated subsequently but which caused controversy and protests. The commentary by the Saudi embassy in Tehran on the vote was that the vote was viewed by the Americans as an indication of the defeat of the Green Movement which paved the way for direct talks between the US and Iran.

Saudi Arabia has blocked access to these newly posted documents by WikiLeaks.

... Payvand News - 06/14/15 ... --

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