At a time when the world is in turmoil and rulers of predatory states repeatedly issue threats of war, the Islamic Republic of Iran has come up with a message of hope. Called the ‘Hormuz Peace Initiative’ (HOPE), Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced the plan during his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 25. Preliminary details of the plan were revealed upon arrival in New York on September 23. Speaking to reporters before leaving Tehran, President Rouhani had said the Hormuz Peace Initiative (HOPE) was designed to include all countries of the region and its aim was to expand cooperation beyond regional security.
“This plan is about collective work within the Persian Gulf region and we want all countries of the region to partake in it,” the Iranian president said. The plan also includes political and economic cooperation between regional countries.
Instead of being a zone of peace, the Persian Gulf has been turned into a zone of conflict because of the presence of foreign military forces. The US has played a leading role in creating instability. It has military bases in almost all regional countries on the Western shores of the Persian Gulf and deliberately scares Arabian rulers into buying more weapons from it that only add to instability. The armies of these countries are incapable of using such weapons except against fellow Muslims—Yemen or Syria, for instance. By buying billions of dollars worth of weapons they have impoverished their own people increasing their suffering while American warmongers rake in tens of billions of dollars.
If regional countries were to come together and work for collective security, there would be no reason for outside predatory powers to intervene. This is what Iran’s plan proposes. “We believe the solution for the region comes from inside the region and those who come from the outside can never bring peace and security,” President Rouhani said on September 23. Referring to US military interventions in the Middle East, the Iranian president said since entering the region in 2001, the United States has failed to bring calm to any of the countries where it has deployed forces. The presence of US forces is in fact a source of instability and feeds into the resentment that exists because of its oppressive policies.
While Iran has not attacked any country in the last 2,500 years, it has been subjected to aggressions numerous times. Last month, the people of Iran commemorated 39 years of Saddam Husain’s aggression against the Islamic Republic. That war lasted for eight years (1980-1988). Iran singlehandedly defended its territory and people while Saddam was backed by all the Arabian regimes as well as the entire Western world. His army used chemical and biological weapons against Iran. The Western world—Germany, Britain, France and the US—supplied these banned weapons to Saddam. When the war ended in August 1988, Islamic Iran did not resort to seeking revenge from such neighboring countries as Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. Even Iraq was forgiven after Saddam Husain was overthrown and finally hanged in December 2006.
Despite suffering repeated aggression from its neighbors as well as countries far afield (the US, Britain et al), Iran has come forward with an olive branch at least toward its neighbors. It will serve these countries well if they were to grasp it and work with the Islamic Republic for the collective security of the region. Failing to grasp this opportunity will only bring more suffering and humiliation to these regimes and will ultimately lead to their demise.
The choice is theirs. One hopes they will make the right choice, for their own sake.