February 27, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8592

Veteran Saudi Journalist: The Iranian Regime Is 'The Deadliest Virus' – And The West's Lenience Towards It Endangers The Region

February 27, 2020
Iran, Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 8592

Four days after the February 21, 2020 elections for Iran's parliament, the Majlis, veteran Saudi journalist Tareq Al-Homayed, former editor of the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, published an op-ed in the Saudi daily 'Okaz headlined "The Virus of the Khomeini [Regime]." In it, he criticized Western media, leftist organizations and U.S. Democrats for hypocritically turning a blind eye to "the farce of the Iranian parliamentary elections" in advance of which thousands of reformist and moderate candidates had been disqualified by the regime.[1]

Attacking the Iranian regime for its destructive activity in Iran and in the countries of the region, Al-Homayed warned that this "deadly virus" is wiping out all progress and reform. He added that the West's puzzling lenience vis-à-vis Iran's activity endangers not only Iran but the entire region.

Cartoon in Al-Arab daily: The coronavirus is dwarfed by the virus of the Iranian regime (Source: Al-Arab, London, February 25, 2020)

The following are excerpts from Al-Homayed's op-ed:

"The farce of the Iranian parliamentary elections ended without [sparking] a commotion in the West... There was no media uproar and no articles in the major press outlets in recent days.

"This is despite the fact that the [Iranian] Guardian Council, whose 12 members are appointed by the Iranian Supreme Leader, prevented 6,850 Iranians from running for election for 290 parliamentary seats, on various [false] claims including 'disloyalty to Islam!' The regime of the ayatollahs has done all this, yet we have seen no storm of criticism or of [newspaper] editorials in the West. Even the [U.S.] Democrats did not protest – not even as much as they [protested] after the Trump administration assassinated the terrorist Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the destruction in Iran and in the region...

"I am not talking here about the hypocrisy of the left, or of the Democrats, or of some media institutions and organizations in the West – but about the risk of ignoring the Iranian danger that threatens not only the Iranians but also the region, and of underestimating it.

"The Iranian regime, the regime of [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini [founder of Iran's Islamic Revolution], is a virus that is deadly for progress and reform in our region. It is more deadly than any other virus. When 6,850 Iranians are prevented from running for election, it endangers not [only] Iran itself but the entire region. Indeed, this is what Iran has been doing in Iraq as well, since 2003; worse yet, it is doing this in Lebanon, as the government is being put together, or as its allies [i.e. Hizbullah] eliminate their [political] rivals, beginning [in 2005] with the assassination of [former Lebanese prime minister] Rafiq Al-Hariri. Worse than all this is what Iran is doing in Syria, Gaza, and Sana'a [in Yemen].

"What this Khomeini virus means, and what some in the West are ignoring, is that there is no hope of progress and reform in the region, and that the resources, the positive aspects, and the hopes of the peoples of Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria are at risk. It also means that the hothouses of extremism and ignorance are at work around the clock, and that as long as Iran's political corruption continues and [as long as] the Khomeini virus is widespread in the region, ruin will impact everyone.

"For some puzzling reason, this election farce in Iran, despite the scope of the [Iranian] public's boycott of it [and even though] the regime prevented thousands of people from running for election, appears to have gone unremarked by editorials, reports, and detailed articles in the West to clarify the danger of what is happening [in Iran], both for the Iranians themselves and for the entire region. The truth is that the leniency of the [U.S.] Democrats, of the left, and of the [international] institutions and organizations vis-à-vis Iran is the worst possible propaganda [for promoting] democracy in our region, and [instead promotes] the dangerous spread of the Khomeini virus that eradicates any chance of a better future."[2]

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