Iran’s standing in the Middle East has been bolstered by President George W Bush’s “war on terror” and its power will continue to grow unless stability is restored to its neighbors, a top think tank said on Tuesday.
London’s Royal Institute for International Affairs said wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and with Lebanon’s Hizbollah had put Iran “in a position of considerable strength”.
“There is little doubt that Iran has been the chief beneficiary of the war on terror in the Middle East,” the RIIA said in a report on the region.
“The United States, with coalition support, has eliminated two of Iran’s regional rival governments — the Taliban in Afghanistan in November 2001 and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in April 2003 — but has failed to replace either with coherent and stable political structures.”
Seeing a regional political void opening, Iran had moved swiftly to fill it, the report said, and now has a level of influence which cannot be ignored.
“The U.S.-driven agenda for confronting Iran is severely compromised by the confident ease with which Iran sits in its region.”