Iran Forms Parliamentary Committee to Focus on Countries It Boycotts Diplomatically

Iran Forms Parliamentary Committee to Focus on Countries It Boycotts Diplomatically

Monday, 17 September, 2018 - 11:30
Senior foreign policy advisor to the Iranian parliament speaker Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (AFP)
London - Adil Al-Salmi
A working group and a new mechanism has been adopted by the Iranian parliament to form a committee that will focus on people who are active in regional issues of countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Tehran.

These countries include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sudan and Libya.

The committee will operate in parallel to "known mechanisms" adopted by the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Department.

In an interview published by the Tasnim news agency, senior foreign policy advisor to the parliament speaker Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that in addition to the department practicing its role, he worked on launching a parliamentary group that includes individuals who are active in issues related to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

He noted that the committee will operate according to “national interests” and that it is not “necessarily a friendship group.”

Abdollahian, a member of the conservative bloc, gave no details on the scope of the work of the parliamentary group and its members. It was not clear whether it was cooperating with the parliamentary foreign policy and national security committee.

The senior official served as assistant secretary of state for Arab and African affairs between 2011 and 2016, a period which coincided with Iran’s expansion in the Middle East after the so-called “Arab Spring”. He is one of the "diplomats" affiliated to the foreign arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and its Quds Force, headed by Qasem Soleimani.

He was sacked after disagreements with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and replaced by Hussein Jaber Ansari. The Foreign Ministry later canceled the post as part of a ministry restructuring.

Months after his dismissal, Abdollahian assumed a post at parliament. It was reported that he was directly appointed by Soleimani, who enjoys strong ties with Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

Iranian media reported that Abdollahian had rejected an offer to be assigned his country's ambassador to Oman, citing “personal reasons”.

Abdollahian’s statements come at a time of heated debate in Iran over the weakening role of the government and growing power of agencies that operate in parallel to the ministries of intelligence and foreign affairs and others related to the economy.

The IRGC has been blamed for the emergence of these bodies.

Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei had recently stated that these agencies do not serve the government’s interests.

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