No country’s defence is confined to its borders.
Defence is not merely by military means but also by extending friendship, and thus influence, beyond its borders.
In the troubled world we live in, no country faces greater threats to its survival than the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In the 42 years since the victory of the Islamic revolution in January-February 1979, it has faced internal sabotage, an imposed war of aggression, vicious economic sanctions and assassinations of its top scientists and generals.
Thus, it is natural for Islamic Iran to establish close links with link-minded countries, movements and groups for self-defence.
Let us take the case of Iran’s support for the Palestinians struggling for their fundamental rights.
Islamic Iran’s opponents frequently raise the slogan that instead of supporting Palestine, Tehran should spend its money and other resources on its own people.
This slogan if applied to any country, would mean that no state would have foreign policy activities.
Social media and search engines have not only reduced people’s attention span, they have also created a culture where nice sounding slogans are taken as rational principles.
In no field is this more observable than in the news industry.
On December 29, the Washington-based al-monitor.com reported on the recollections of Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Palestinian politician and co-founder of Hamas, about an instance of Iran’s assistance in 2006.
Citing al-Zahar, al-monitor.com wrote that “in the meeting, I raised with him [General Qasem Soleimani] our problems with salary payments and social services in Gaza… Soleimani was quick to respond to our demand. The day after, I saw $22 million in cash inside suitcases each weighing 40 kilos. Since it was only nine of us, we couldn’t carry any [more].”
Of course, being a propaganda outlet, just like all media outlets, in the same article the publication immediately resorted to the standardized method of discrediting Iran’s principled position in Palestine by writing the following:
“Many Iranians, especially since the country’s 2009 post-election protests, ‘No to Gaza, no to Lebanon! I sacrifice my soul for the sake of Iran,’ they chanted. The slogan is rooted in the argument that at a time when Iran is suffering from multiple economic crises and sanctions, its own people ought to be prioritized.”
Al-monitor’s narrative opposing Iran’s principled position on the occupation of Palestine can be applied to any country’s foreign policy.
Every country faces internal challenges and problems, some more than others.
Yet every country spends financial, political and military resources to expand its influence abroad.
The US tries to expand its influence by maintaining more than 800 military bases worldwide at the cost of billions of dollars each year.
China is using the Belt and Road Initiative for a similar purpose.
Japan uses its car brands—Honda and Toyota—as its flagships of influence.
This is normative conduct of politics. Iran is no exception.
For example, the recent study by the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame points out that “poverty [in the US] rose by 2.4 percentage points from 9.3 percent in June to 11.7 percent in November, adding 7.8 million to the ranks of the poor. Poverty has risen each month since June.”
There are millions of homeless and underemployed people in the US yet Washington spends billions to support oppressive regimes like those in Israel and Egypt.
Surely, billions provided to the despotic regime in Cairo as “aid” could be spent on improving the living standard of millions of Americans at home.
The European Union funds training of police and security forces in North Africa’s autocratic countries in surveillance techniques in order to assist its dictatorial proxies there to remain in power.
The money used by the EU to oppress the people of North Africa could be used to resolve EU’s growing homelessness problem.
Yet, no corporate media outlet mentions these factors when covering the EU and Washington’s destructive foreign meddling across the globe.
It should be kept in mind that Iran’s neighborhood is infested with Western military presence of state entities openly advocating the destabilization of Iran and overthrow of its elected Islamic government.
If Tehran does not confront its regional and non-regional opponents abroad, it will have to face them on Iranian soil.
This is something the NATO regimes dream of all the time thus they need to invent narratives to undermine Iran’s foreign policy.
Such narratives, however, have limited impact inside Iran.