Iran Expands Regional "Empire" Ahead of Nuclear Deal

(Reuters) Samia Nakhoul - With Iran moving closer to a deal with world powers, Arab analysts are focused more on how Tehran is working unconstrained to create a new Persian and Shi'ite "empire" on Arab land. Sultan al-Qassemi, a commentator in the United Arab Emirates, says: "This deal is the grand bargain Kerry is denying it is. It is giving Iran carte blanche in exchange for empty promises. Iran is on the ascendant. Iran has the winning hand in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen." Riad Kahwaji, head of the Dubai-based INEGMA think tank, warned: "The events in Iraq, Syria and Yemen indicate that Iran is on a massive offensive...that has extended its areas of control all the way to the Red Sea and the Mediterranean." Meanwhile, Tehran MP Ali Reza Zakani, who is close to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, boasted, "The Yemeni revolution will not be confined to Yemen alone." It would extend into Saudi territories - a reference to the kingdom's Shi'ite Eastern Province where Saudi Arabia's richest oil deposits lie. "The Americans are not looking at the deal with Iran in terms of its regional impact," says Fawaz Gerges, Middle East expert at the London School of Economics.

2015-03-25 00:00:00

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