Originally published in Sputnik
The US must act to prevent Saudi Arabia from provoking more conflict in the Middle East, and in doing so also save its own reputation, which suffers from its association with the regime in Riyadh, says US-based Iranian academic and political analyst Hooshang Amirahmadi.
“The Saudis are out of control nowadays. They are in Yemen, they are in Bahrain, they kill Shiite leaders and ordinary Shiites. We must stop them. I think the US government must indicate clearly that the Saudis cannot continue,” Amirahmadi told RT in an interview.
“I want to point out that unfortunately the Saudis are out of control but they are an ally of the US, which affects the reputation of the US in the Muslim world. Not only the Shiite world but the whole Muslim world, because the actions of the Saudis does not correspond to Islamic rules.”
Amirahmadi is the founder and president of the American-Iranian Council, a research and policy think tank devoted to improving understanding between the peoples of Iran and the United States. He is also a professor of public policy and international development at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and put his name forward for to be considered as a candidate for Iran’s presidential elections in 2013.
The professor said that rather than being reduced to a national conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the current tensions in the Middle East should be seen in sectarian terms.
“It is not a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It is a conflict between Shiites and Sunnis. The Muslim world comprises about 1.6 billion people, of whom the majority are Sunnis. In addition, the terrorists that are damaging the world are Sunnis. Shiites were even trained in terrorist movements in Iraq and Syria.”
“At the same time, the conflict between Shiites and Sunnis has become, unfortunately, a stumbling block for Saudi Arabia and Iran.”
“I think all governments should pay attention to this problem and stop the confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia because these countries are ‘at war:’ the Saudis already killed hundreds of Iranians during the pilgrimage.”
In September, hundreds of Iranian pilgrims were among the thousands who died in a stampede in Mina, close to Mecca, during the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage. In a speech at the UN General Assembly, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani demanded an investigation into the disaster, in which at least 464 Iranians died.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who assumes the title ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,’ ordered a safety review, the outcome of which remains to be published. The investigation was last mentioned by the Saudi Press Agency on October 19, according to AP, whose own investigation estimates that at least 2,411 people died in the stampede, three times more than acknowledged by the Saudi authorities.