Sunnis Concerned over Wider Impact of Iran Accord

(Washington Post) Liz Sly - Sunni Arab states don't object to a deal that could curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, but they worry about the ramifications of warming ties between Tehran and Washington, said Mustafa Alani, the Dubai-based director of security and terrorism studies at the Gulf Research Center. The big worry, he said, is that a long-term deal normalizing ties between Iran and the U.S. would come at the expense of Sunni influence. "We have concerns about what sort of concessions the Americans will give. Will they anoint Iran as a regional superpower?" Alani asked. "The idea of Iran having hegemonic power is an absolute red line for all the Arab states." With a population of nearly 80 million, Iran far eclipses in size all its Arab neighbors except Egypt. With international sanctions easing, Sunnis fear, Iran may feel emboldened to increase assistance to the widespread network of allies it has cultivated over the decades, including Lebanon's Hizbullah, numerous Shiite groups in Iraq and others from Afghanistan to Yemen. Iran is unlikely to match its compromises on the nuclear issue with concessions on other fronts, Obeid said. "Iran will not leave Hizbullah, it will not leave Assad, and it will not leave Iraq."

2013-12-05 00:00:00

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