Iran’s Next Rival: Turkey
Image Credit: Flickr / Axiepix

Iran’s Next Rival: Turkey


If you ask an Iranian the first thing that springs to mind on hearing the name Farid Al Din Hadad Adel, he’ll likely reply (if he’s heard of him) that he’s the son of former parliament speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel. And if you ask what else, then that he’s the grandson of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. There’s a good chance no one will describe him as one of Iran’s best-known journalists, because, in reality, he’s not.

So when Hadad Adel junior decided to write an op-ed for the Jahan News website (affiliated with Iran’s main Intelligence agency, VAVAK) in February, in which he predicted that another war may be about to be launched against Iran, not many people took notice. Nor did they pay much attention to his view on which country is most likely to be the perpetrator:

‘If we view the option of war as a possibility, we have to pay attention to the conduit for the imposition of such a war. Where is the country which has the suitable human resources? Which country can hope for the entry of its European and American friends into the arena of war, if it enters into war against us? Will NATO be considered as the supporter of our future enemy or the Arab league? The answer is clear. Turkey is the only option for the advancement of the West’s ambitions.’

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Iran’s relations with Turkey were in fact improving greatly at that time the piece was published. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had visited Tehran on October 28 the previous year, in what was a very successful visit during which he met Iran’s Supreme Leader as well as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These factors, plus Hadad Adel’s reputation as someone who received his post as head of the political council of the popular Hamshahri Javan magazine (Hamshahri for Youth) because of his family connections and not his skill set, led many to dismiss Hadad Adel’s controversial prognosis.

But actually, he may have a point.

While some in the West are worried about a new Iran–Turkey alliance being formed, they should also be aware that despite the seemingly close relations between the two, there are people in Iran who view Turkey with suspicion. Turkey may be a friend of today, but to the Islamic Republic, it’s the rival of tomorrow.

The evidence is there for all to see. The Iranian government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on support to Hamas. However, these days, the most popular foreign flag in Gaza is that of Turkey, not Iran. There are people who are calling their children Erdogan (and no one seems to be calling their child Ahmadinejad).

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