Middle East

6 Pointers For Business In The Middle East

Business between the West and the Middle East has an illustrious history. The obstacles are mainly miscommunication and the lack of understanding of each other’s culture.

The markets of the Middle East and North Africa have an abundance of wealth. And so, the more you know about the region, the better.

Learn about their culture through communication with natives. Also, read up as much as you can to limit culture shock. There are few invaluable resources like Will Ward in the search for useful information.

The Middle East is mostly Muslim, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same. There is as much diversity in culture as there is in Europe.

Don’t go in there with stereotypes that westerners know. At the same time, it’s wise not to offend any aspect of their religion. After all, you don’t want to lose out on golden opportunities over petty differences.

Muslims are good people who follow Islam, and Islam promotes honorable business. Fairness and firm commitment will land you life-long partners in business. Read on to know the six points you must know before doing business in the Middle East.

Source:vox.com

Acknowledge The Diversity of Culture

The West sees media that portrays the Middle East as a big desert with lots of camels. But that is not even close to what the real story is.

The Grand body has 20 countries that are each unique culturally with histories that intertwine. You go from Morocco to Yemen on the map to trace the span of the region.

There are 357 million people there, and that is like 6 percent of the entire world’s population.

So, it is quite hard to generalize such a great mass of people.

The Middle East and North Africa is also called MENA and is economically diverse. The area has a lot of countries that are rich in oil. However, other countries have a scarcity of resources.

Your prospects in doing well depend on what you are selling. You need to figure out if your service or product has relevance in the market. In other words, know if there is a need.

If you do have a good product or service, find a target audience for it. For that, you need to collect intelligence.

Get A Guide

You need to get yourself a professional guide before you start doing business in MENA. Why? Well, General Business practices are different there. This means what you do in the West will not work in MENA. This is especially true in Morocco or Egypt.

If you venture all by yourself, you will experience culture shock, and you might even lose potential clients.

Imagine someone being ignorant and rude to you. Would you do business with that person? That is how a lot of western businessmen seem to Middle Easterns.

A professional guide will help you understand the culture. As a result, you will be literate in social norms and values.

The understanding of foreign culture helps out in making contacts and networking. The next thing you need the guide to explain to you is the nature of the target market.

You need to know how to advertise and present your product and service. It has to be alluring but also culturally acceptable.

Source:middleeast.businesschief.com

Know The Host Country

The Middle East is diverse, just like business etiquette. If you are doing business with a country, try your best to know your host.

You will learn a lot by just walking around on the streets. See how they talk to one another, how they dress, and their surroundings. Also, pay attention to their media.

Engage in communication with as many people as possible and try to learn the language as fast as possible. However, if you are not good at picking up new languages, get a personal translator.

Another good idea is to visit the chamber of commerce and local law firms. They will help you do business in the country that you are in.

Once you know what your host country is like, you can get what you want. And the prospect of a profitable business is easier to materialize.

Networking

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, contacts matter. You must get your connections for your business to go anywhere.

MENA is a vast region, so you need to know people for you to make moves. And networking starts with the first person you meet. Each person you befriend is a potential portal to a new network.

Armed with the knowledge of cultural norms and values, go out there and make as many friends as possible. And as you make more friends in MENA, the more possibilities open up to you.

Friendly Talk

Source:inc.com

Arabs like to do business with people they are fond of. Regardless of cultural differences, we are all people who are vulnerable to love. Love your brother and what he values, and you will go far in making friends.

To show your love, you need to communicate verbally. And for this reason, you should be as friendly and respectful while talking. Also, you can share some of your old stories. The more you get to know about one another, the better the bond of trust grows.

Don’t be an introvert and avoid putting that extra effort into communicating. And remember that listening is a crucial aspect of communication. Try to understand your friend’s point of view.

Meet Face-To-Face

Westerners communicate over the email while making important business decisions. However, that is not the case in Saudi Arabia and other MENA countries.

The best form of communication for business purposes is a face-to-face conversation. And if that is not possible, a phone call is the next best alternative.

If you send an email, no one will read it unless you call to follow up. Written communication is for less urgent matters.

The best practice is to go and meet the person you need to talk to. This might be strenuous, but it’s worth the extra effort to sustain business relations.

Conclusion

Source:istizada.com

Remember that MENA is a land of diversity, so acknowledge it instead of stereotyping. It has great oil wealth but also a scarcity of resources in certain countries.

Learn as much as you can about the norms and values of doing business and society. It will serve you well to get a professional guide to teach you about your target audience.

Communication is vital, so make as many friends as possible and grow your network. To do so, be friendly and make a habit of making friendly conversation.

Finally, when it comes to important business communication, it is best to talk in person. MENA holds enormous potential for success that is a few steps away. We wish you the best in your business ventures.

Trump’s Decisions Are Leading Middle East to War

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After a meeting with Donald Trump, French president Emmanuel Macron made two statements. He said that Trump is going to pull the US from Iran deal and that as a consequence of that we are going to have another war in the Middle East. He got one thing right, and he’s not far away on the other.

Only hours after the US stepped out of Iran deal, the tensions escalated between Iran and Israel. The same day Trump made the announcement, Israeli troops were put on ‘high alert.’ The reservists are being called up, and bomb shelters are being prepared in expectations of Iran strikes.

Yesterday, Israeli officials went further and accused Iran of a rocket attack on Golan Heights, which was luckily an unsuccessful one. On the same night as a retaliation, Israeli bombers targeted Iranian outposts in Syria. The defense minister of Israel, Avigdor Liberman, stated that Israeli attacks on Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria were all on target.

Source: www.iranreview.org

The tensions between Iran and Israel are nothing new, but this time around, the conflict escalated too quickly. The new wave of violence is a cause to be concerned. The reporters from New York Times wrote: “While Israel and Iran have been conducting a shadow war in Syria for months under the cover of the civil war there, the conflict has now burst into the open.”

The conflict between these two countries is an ongoing matter almost for years, but due to the fact that it was shadow war on the territory of Syria, it wasn’t publicized. Iran is an ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and they are using this friendship to wage war against their enemy – Israel.

Israel is not accepting these actions, and since 2012 they have launched more than 100 attacks on Iranian targets in Syria. Their goal is to keep Iranians away from Israel border and to stop the weapons deliveries to Hezbollah.

Last month one of the Israeli attacks killed seven Iranian soldiers, and so far Iran hasn’t retaliated, but after what Trump did, it’s only a matter of time. Now that the US is no longer present in Iran in any capacity the conflict between the two countries will escalate without a doubt.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Ian Bremmer, the founder, and president of the Eurasia Group commented on the Middle East situation: “The Iranians have not responded, and I am sure a part of the reason for that is that they don’t want to give the Americans any reason to leave the deal. Now that they have done so, I assume that the gloves are off for the Iranians, and it makes mutual military escalation between the Israelis and the Iranians much more likely.”

Another pressing matter is the Iranian nuclear deal. Now, after the US stepped out of the agreement and imposed sanctions on Iran, they will be returning to their old ways. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talked about this possibility: “We have put a number of options for ourselves, and those options are ready including options that would involve resuming at a much greater speed our nuclear activities.”

If Iran fails to avoid an economic crisis, with the help of European countries who are willing to continue the agreement, going for nuclear weapons might be their only option. If Iranians start working on their nuclear arsenal Israel threatens that they will begin to target their nuclear facilities. This action would most certainly lead to war.

Source: thenewdaily.com.au

In the past, US administration wanted to avoid the war, but Donald Trump is not hiding from this option. Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is also ready for a full-scale conflict. With Saudi Arabia support, the war seems imminent at this point.

U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark is one of the people who believe so: “Israel has several times sought U.S. help, or at least U.S. support and backup in striking Iran’s nuclear program. Under the Obama Administration, the answer was, No. Under President Trump, and with the emerging condominium of interests between the Saudi’s and the Israeli’s, the possibility of war between Israel and Iran is rising.”

President Trump said that he doesn’t want another war in the Middle East, but his decisions are saying otherwise.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Stephen Walt’s view on the direction US policy is heading

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Stephen Walt is a professor of international relations at Harvard University as well as a very prominent figure in the international affairs field. He taught on at Princeton University and the University of Chicago and is a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-chair of the editorial board of “International Security.” Just recently he spoke at Iowa State regarding the direction that US policy is heading.

According to him, the strategy that the US still uses is dating from Cold War era, and it’s all about that famous “liberal hegemony.” That basically means that the US is trying to use its power to ensure and spread liberal principles of democratic governments, human rights and open-market economies. During this lecture he also addressed the turmoil’s the United States has with China (worse now than ever since Cold War), Russia, terrorist attacks that happen frequently and many others.

According to professor Walt “Instead of defending American territory and working to uphold the balance of power in key strategic regions, liberal hegemony seeks to spread democracy in markets around the world, peacefully, if possible, but if necessary, with military force.” As far as he is concerned the current US foreign policy now holds “more uncertainty on this topic than there has been in any time in recent history.” He feels that liberal hegemony is fundamentally flawed mainly because it adds to the number of places the US is formally committed to defend (which is a burden by itself), and secondly countries that are not liberal democracies may feel threatened when you barge in and force liberal democracy on their neighbor. He stated that “Some of those countries are able to do various things to get in our way. It’s one of the reasons countries are getting interested in acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Source:ceu.edu

Thanks to its many flaws, Donald Trump made it to the president spot by criticising the existing foreign policy which, truthfully, couldn’t be defended at all. Trump, even during his campaign, promised that he would give the US a new set of strategies and the “American First” policy, but as we can see it right now, his administration simply picked up after the previous one, and it is business as usual. “It’s true that he is paying much less attention to democracy promotion, to nation building and to human rights, but the differences here are not as dramatic as we might think,” Walt stated. He backs this up by the recent airstrike in Syria and states that “This is again a classic right out of the D.C. playbook. It’s not going to affect the situation in Syria at all, but it makes us look like we are doing something. One percent of the deaths in the Syrian civil war were caused by chemical weapons. We got very excited and energized over the use of chemical weapons, but the vast majority people lost their lives in Syria were killed by ordinary weapons. We are still following the same blueprint, but now being managed by the least competent president in my remembering.”

Walt, at the end of his thought, gave a piece of advice for Trump administration – the main goal should be to prevent any other country from dominating its region the same way America dominates the Western atmosphere. Don’t worry about Europe or even Russia, they are not the adversaries, military nor in economics. China is the one to worry about. “The bad news is that China is a potentially dominant power in Asia and our allies in Asia are not strong enough to balance against China. The United States has to still take the lead in forging a balancing coalition in Asia,” Walt stated. According to Walt, the US should not try to control the Middle East, take sides with countries there or have any “special relationships” because, basically, no country in the Middle East “deserves unconditionally, American support.”

Source:geostrategicmedia.com

Besides this, Walt suggests that there should be a huge deemphasize on the role of military power in foreign policy and put a greater accent on peace. Walt thinks that most politicians today forgot about the word peace simply because of the environment that makes you look idealistic and soft if you use a peace card. He also stated that “Peace time tends to elevate to prominent people who are good at promoting human wealth or good innovation and good invention. Warfare tends to elevate people who are good at using violence.”

In the end, Walt also made a notion that the US should (under the ideal government policies) get out of the business of nation-building and reduce their military footprint in Europe and the Middle East and turn toward the improvement of relationship with Russia and try and nurture more attention in creating a partnership in Asia.

Source: iowastatedaily.com

Trump’s Policy Wreaks Havoc in the Middle East?

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Many people are concerned that President Donald Trump is assembling a “war cabinet” with the addition of the new hawkish politicians to the team. With the airstrikes on Syria, Trump showed the poor Foreign Policy strategy. This kind of strategy can be defined as passive-aggressive. The United States is not doing anything concrete to solve the problems in Syria, yet the actions are aggressive enough to wreak havoc in the region.

The things which Trump and his administration are doing are not logical at all. Their goal is to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, defeat the Islamic State in Syria and prevent the Syrian government from using the chemical weapons again. However, as a country, America didn’t do anything to challenge Iran in the region, and once the Islamic State is dealt with, Trump intends to withdraw?! Furthermore, the airstrikes are launched onto Syria, but there is no clear strategy behind it. Most of the rockets were destroyed while in the sky, but as the country burns, Trump said that the mission was accomplished.

The examples of the contradictory politics are numerous. The US greeted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman when he visited Washington, but they wrote him a blank check afterward for continued regional conflict. Just as we thought that the United States had gained an edge, the president finds a way to mess things up. Let’s not continue with the examples.

Source:hindustantimes.com

The upcoming months will be crucial for the US. In May, Trump wants to open a US Embassy in Jerusalem, which is the time when Iraqis hold the national elections. Furthermore, POTUS plans to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, but let’s not forget that this was all before the supposed chemical attack in Syria when Trump was forced to react. With so much going on in the Middle East, Trump announced that he would withdraw the US army from the region. Could these be the biggest errors made by any administration?

Iran

Source:theduran.com

With ripping up the Iran nuclear deal, the tensions in the region would grow. Not only that. This deal blocks Iran from making the nuclear weapon in the upcoming years, and this is something the US must not do. While the European Union may stay in the deal together with Russia and China, the Iranians may abandon it. Trump has surrounded himself with hawkish politicians, and the changes in his cabinet are grave. The team consisting of Trump, John Bolton who is the new national security advisor and Mike Pompeo, the new CIA director who replaced Rex Tillerson after he was dismissed doesn’t look promising. Let’s not forget about newly-appointed warmongering National Secretary of State John J. Sullivan. With such a team, USA is bound to fail in diplomacy, and they can only rely on Special Forces, Air Force and the military in general. And that is not a good approach.

Anti-Islamic State

Source:vox.com

Trump has announced that he would remove the forces from eastern Syria in the future, but at the moment they are staying put. Withdrawing is not an option because this could spur further conflict in the region and let’s not forget that Turkey and Iran are also involved and not just the Syrian government, Russia, and the US. Leaving Syria would mark the beginning of bloodshed. The similar situation is in Iraq. Will the new president rely on the United States, or will he fall under the Iranian influence? The US could help the next president tackle the issues in the region and with the neighbors, but America isn’t showing too much interest. After investing so much money to combat and suppress the Islamic State, is the USA ready to withdraw from the Middle East?

Israel vs. Palestine

Source:pensivepost.com

The conflict between Israeli and Palestinians lasts for decades. The Trump administration promised a peace plan for the two sides, but nothing has happened so far. President’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem without the consent and any response from Israel may be a huge mistake.

The upcoming month or two would be crucial for the America and its interests in the Middle East. It appears that Trump is adding insult to injury with his decisions and the moves made by his administration while he should be putting out fires. Due to this, the position of America in the region might change significantly by the end of the year.

Source: foreignpolicy.com

Winston Churchill Was Right About The Middle East

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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, commonly known as Winston Churchill was a British politician, writer, and army officer. He served as a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955. Churchill was a brilliant political mind, and some of his quotes are being cited to this day. Today, we are going to talk about two things that he said on the situation in the Middle East. He was regarded as a great speaker, and some of his words resonate even today.

His two quotes about the Middle East were right on point. The first one was made back in 1929, and it is true now as it was back in the late 20s. It goes as follows: “The whole of the Middle East is intimately related. Beneath the smooth surface of British rule and the slender garrisons which normally sustain it are smoldering the antagonisms of centuries. There are always feuds and animosities. There are always scores to be settled and fanatical thirsts to be slaked. Any appearance of lack of will-power on the part of the British Government or of lack of confidence in its mission in these countries blows like a draught of air on the dull, fierce embers.”

Source: dailymail.co.uk

The Churchill knew what he was talking about. Britain had supremacy over the Middle East since the end of the World War I to 1956. They were the dominant force in this area with their influence stretching from Suez Canal to the Persian Gulf. The dominance lasted all till the end of the World War II. In between two world wars, there wasn’t bigger world power than Great Britain. But after the end of WWII, British influence disappeared, and its place as the super-power was taken by the U.S.

Later in 1958, long after Brits lost their control of Middle East, Winston Churchill made another remark regarding this part of the world: “The Middle East is one of the hardest-hearted areas in the world. It has always been fought over, and peace has only reigned when a major power has established firm influence and shown that it will maintain its will. Your friends must be supported with every vigor and if necessary they must be avenged. Force, or perhaps force and bribery, are the only things that will be respected. It is very sad, but we had all better recognize it. At present, our friendship is not valued, and our enmity is not feared.”

Winston Churchill hat
Source: indiansnews.com

Now, different words resonate in people’s heads: “Churchill was right.” He was, and what’s even worse he is right as we speak. After 1958 there were so many conflicts that it is hard to count. We’re going to name just some that were the most significant ones.

* 1958 Iraqi Revolution
* November 1963 Iraqi coup
* Black September in Jordan
* Lebanese Civil War
* Kurdish–Turkish conflict (still ongoing)
* 1980 Turkish coup d’état
* 1980 -1988 Iran – Iraq War
* 1990-1991 Gulf War
* 2003-2011 Iraq War
* 2011 Syrian Civil War (ongoing)

Here’s Why Asia Pivot Was Barack Obama’s Biggest Mistake

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During his tenure in the White House Barack Obama did many amazing things. The one that wasn’t all that great was the “pivot to Asia.” This move will most likely be remembered as his biggest mistake. At one moment during his reign, Obama called himself “the first Pacific president.” President Obama did so because he wanted to shift the foreign policy more in the direction of Asia (the economic center of the 21st century) away from the Middle East.

He felt that, after the disastrous Libyan revolution that ousted Gaddafi, the responsibility for keeping stability in the region should fall on the shoulders of America’s European allies. The Libyan campaign was mostly a product of French and British pressure, but neither of the two countries had sufficient resources to bring Gaddafi to heel and stop the civil war that tore the country apart. President Obama sensed that the American public was fed up with costly Middle Eastern adventures that drained blood and treasure and that other countries should step up to the plate.

This pivot turned out to be a complete failure. Not only for the U.S. foreign policy. It had an adverse effect on various parts of the world, mostly on Europe and the Middle East.

The reason that pivot failed was that it was based on wrong assumptions. Obama and his associates believed that U.S. foreign policy has been neglecting the Asia Pacific. This part of Asia had a substantial economic rise in recent years, and the president decided that he could assign more military resources to the region. Those same resources would be pulled from the Middle East and other areas. This caused the tension in Asia-Pacific while at the same time it brought chaos to the Middle East and The Old Continent.

So, what assumption was wrong? When Obama started his term in office, Asia-Pacific wasn’t neglected. The Bush politics in this part of the world was actually a success. It lowered the historically high tensions between China and Taiwan. The free-trade agreements were signed with Singapore, South Korea, and Australia. These agreements were the foundation of what’s today the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The deals with India regarding their nuclear arsenal were signed, parallel with negotiations with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some of these deals were later changed as apart of Obama’s pivot.

Source:globalresearch.ca

Obama’s Asian pivot did initiate new diplomatic relations (Myanmar), but it shifted its direction regarding security and defense policy. Making Asia the center of its security strategy annoyed the Chinese government. To Beijing, this move seemed like the U.S. is trying to contain their military power. Because of this China became hostile and aggressive. Before 2008, the relations between two countries were normal.

The situation escalated when the Air-Sea Battle doctrine became official. This doctrine was an effort to prepare the U.S. for a possible confrontation with China. The Secretary of The Defense at the time, Robert Gates publicly confirmed this, and as you can expect, authorities in Beijing weren’t glad upon hearing this. The doctrine was seen as a plan to contain China militarily and economically and to narrow the circle around them.

The first significant issue is that primary part of the pivot was militaristic. The second one was that it even had a military element to it. The Asia pivot promised that the U.S. is focusing on that part of the world for economic reasons, but they first started to arm themselves. The primary focus on military shows a little about the economy which was promised.

The premise that Chinese expansion could be checked by the use of soft military power was flawed from the start and only encouraged Beijing to start flexing their military muscles in return, using the American actions as an excuse. Its navy began a series of excursions further away from China’s coast in an effort to assert its dominance in the South China Sea, making securing the infamous 9-dash line its priority. Any objection from American allies in the region was checked with the statement that Beijing is merely responding to Washington’s action.

Source:theweek.com

When Obama declared in 2015 that “TPP allows America — and not countries like China — to write the rules of the road in the 21st century” the Chinese were assured that the primary goal of the pivot was to stop the rise of China. The United States officials publicly confirmed this. The situation was made worse by President Trumps refusal to sign TPP, thus further weakening America’s negotiating position in the region.

The matter didn’t have to go this way. Instead, America could join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. They were even invited by China. Instead, they refused and also criticized the U.K. for joining. By steering up military tensions, the U.S. missed on many economic opportunities.

The third mistake was that while dealing with Asia, America completely neglected Europe and the Middle East. When they took their eyes away from Europe, Russia went on the field trip to Ukraine glancing at the Baltic states at the same time. This move unsettled Poland and Hungary. In the Middle East, Syrian Civil war exploded causing thousands of deaths and creating 11 million refugees. Islamic State moved to Iraq, while the former U.S. allies in the Gulf fell under Iranian influence.

The power vacuum left by the U.S. withdrawal and its focus shift has only served to encourage Russia and Iran to increase their efforts aimed at obtaining influence in the region. Again, same as with TPP, Trump’s intentions of completely abandoning America’s allies by pulling even the modest number of troops left in Syria will only serve to invite both Moscow and Tehran to step up their game and increase pressure on surrounding nations. Syrian regime in the meanwhile holds steady and is closer every day to regaining full control of the country, with massive Russian and Iranian help.

In the end, the pivot failed. It didn’t stop China from rising. They are more aggressive now and have set their eyes on the South China Sea and to the Senkakus. Militarily they have never been closer to the U.S., and the economy is still on the rise. The TPP is no more, while China is signing trade agreements with its neighbors. It was essential to focus foreign policy to Asia-Pacific but not at the expense of Europe and the Middle East. Now America is at a disadvantage on both fronts. And it’s all thanks to Asia pivot which was Barack Obama’s biggest mistake.

Iran Renews Its Interest In Latin America – Javad Zarif Visits

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The U.S. and Iran signed a nuclear agreement, but this Middle East country continues to challenge America. The visit of their foreign minister, Javad Zarif to Latin America, is a sign of this. They want to create unrest and threaten the States by sponsoring terrorism, promote its radical Islamist ideology, and strengthen alliances with anti-American regimes. The U.S. had enough issues with Iranians in the Middle East they don’t want their presence in Western Hemisphere. This is why Obama’s administration should devise a strategy to eliminate Iranian threat.

Iran’s Goals in Latin America

Iran and their allies Hezbollah have long maintained a relationship with Latin America. Their primary goal is to create logistical support there, by financing Islamist regimes and terrorist operations in that part of the world. Iranians sponsor schools, mosques, and cultural centers in this region. They even go as far as to promote their Islamist messages to million viewers through HispanTV. On top of that, it has been reported that Iran is also involved in drug trafficking which is used for financing of their regime back home. Money is used to invest in ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

To achieve their goals Iran used the connections created through their embassies and consulates. It went unnoticed that in 2013 Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused Tehran of “infiltrating several South American countries by building local clandestine intelligence stations designed to sponsor, foster and execute terrorist attacks.” The Commander of U.S. Southern Command, Admiral Kurt W. Tidd went even further and declared that Hezbollah “maintains an infrastructure with the capability to conduct or support terrorist attacks.”

Source: www.rferl.org

In early 1990s Iranian suicide bombers attacked Israeli embassy and Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Society building killing 29 and injuring 85 people in the process. But they didn’t lay low since then. In 2007 U.S. Authorities stopped a terrorist attack on John F. Kennedy airport. The executors were four Latin American men with close ties to Iran. In 2011 Iranians tried to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington.

Joseph M. Humire of the Center for a Secure Free Society stated during a congressional testimony that Iranians spread their influence in cultural, diplomatic, economic, and military spheres. They go from building schools and mosques to creating connections to regional authorities, only to then try and get their hands on drug trafficking and money laundering needed for their global operations.

One of their goals is to find allies in countries that are suppressed by the United States such as Cuba and Venezuela. Hugo Chavez was known as a leader who supported Iran, and even stated that: “One of the targets that Yankee imperialism has in its sights is Iran, which is why we are showing our solidarity.”

Source: nytimes.com

The Significance of Zarif’s Visit

Now, the Iranian position in Latin America was strengthened after Foreign Minister Zarif visited. His visit lasted one week, and he was accompanied by a delegation which counted 120 members. He went to six different countries which included stops in Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi described this visit as “the beginning of a new chapter in relations between Iran and Latin America.”

Both Iran and Latin America benefited from his visit. They have signed various political and economic agreements. This is what it looks at the surface. Beneath, there isn’t much for anyone. Over the course of last few decades, Iran signed more than 500 agreements with Latin American countries. The economic gain wasn’t significant for anyone. It is evident that the visit had an intention of spreading Iranian military and ideological influence. The idea was to provoke some sort of Islamic revolution at America’s gates. During his stay in Latin America, Zarif shared the anti-American sentiment. Highlighting flaws of the United States while praising Tehran regime. He talked about the U.S. and their politic of “atrocities and unjust sanctions,” he praised Venezuela “for their revolutions and resistance against the pressures from outside.” He also and noted that these countries and Iran have in common the fact that both “have resisted against foreign pressure and arrogant powers.”

Source: www.orfonline.org

Even when bad-mouthing U.S., Zarif was also hopeful that after the nuclear agreement was signed, Barack Obama’s regime would start economic talks with Iran. While in Chile he stated: “If the banks eager to work with Iran are worried about negative behavior of the U.S. We are ready to get them letters from the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to feel comfortable and communicate with Iran.”

Needed: A New U.S. Strategy

So far, the U.S. officials haven’t seen the dark side of his Latin America visit. They responded with Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act which has a goal to stop the spreading of Iranian influence in Latin America. By 2013 they concluded that this Middle East country has lowered its presence in South America and that no additional action from the U.S. is necessary. The passive stance of America shouldn’t be the course of the country heads when it comes to the matter of Iranian presence in Latin America. They are still spreading their influence, draining money from down there, in order to build more ballistic missiles. The U.S. immediately needs to create a strategy for this situation and to resolve Iranian threat before it becomes too grave.