Iran reacts with glee and spies an opportunity in Brexit

Iran reacts with glee and spies an opportunity in Brexit
Iranian officials enter the post-Brexit debate.
By bne IntelliNews June 24, 2016

News of Britain’s exit from the EU has sent shock waves around the globe, not least in recently unsanctioned Iran, where its government spies an opportunity in the new division that has opened up between London and Brussels.

With the line drawn in the sand, Iran’s political centres have begun look into how to exploit the weakness of its once serious foe. Iranians of all spectrums have a general distrust of British politics and assume there is an ulterior motive to the Westminster government’s actions in many arenas.

With the Iranian government slowly figuring out its stance on the role of the UK outside the 27-member economic bloc, one government official has broken radio silence. 

Hamid Aboutalebi, a deputy in President Hassan Rouhani’s office, expressed “satisfaction with Britain’s choice to leave the European Union,” adding that while the exit is an omen of the demise of the economic and political union, it opens up an “historic opportunity” for Iran, according to Tasnim News Agency. 

He went further by adding that Tehran needs to eke out everything it can get from the UK’s exit from the EU in both political and economic terms. 

Describing the referendum results as a massive earthquake for Europe, Aboutalebi was also quoted as saying that Brexit could trigger a domino effect in the bloc, leading to its eventual downfall. 

He added that European citizens have long lost their trust in the politicians from the bloc, saying it was inevitable after southern European nations faced unprecedented economic turmoil, the migration crisis and terrorism. 

Iranian military commanders have also weighed into the post-Brexit debate with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commanders speaking on the issue. 

Masoud Jazayeri, one of the senior officials in the politico-economic powerhouse which defends the country’s revolutionary zeal, said he welcomed the UK leaving the EU, as it means a “no vote from the British public to the government on following US policies,” according to the journalist, Sobhan Hassanvand. 

The military official added that the British government should pay the price for years of imperialism and crimes against humanity, and the UK’s slow breaking up is the price it will pay for such deeds. 

He went on to say the “home nations” and the people of Scotland and Ireland have the legal right to free themselves from the “Yoke of the imperial regime of so-called Great Britain”.

Other military leaders have also added their voices to the debate, with the deputy chief of Iran’s armed forces, Gholam Ali Rashid, saying that Brexit shows the UK stood up the US, according to Bloomberg’s Tehran bureau.  

Britain has an unrivalled reputation in the Islamic Republic as the “Old Fox” for its several dozen moves on the country from the 19th century onward during its period as the world’s navy superpower. 

During the reign of the former Shah of Iran, who was deposed by the Islamic Republic in 1979, British companies enjoyed unrivalled access to Iran oil and gas reserves, even after the country nationalised the oil from British Petroleum’s (BP) grasp during the premiership of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq.