Smoke rises above Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, as seen from southern Israel, November 14, 2023.

Iran Hardliners Blame Foreign Minister For Being Soft On Gaza Issue

Wednesday, 11/15/2023

An ultraconservative lawmaker in Iran has initiated an impeachment against the foreign minister citing inaction by the diplomatic service before the Saudi authorities.

In a document disclosed by Tehran's Jamaran news website, Mahmoud Abbaszadeh-Meshkini criticized the "weakness in playing a central and effective role" in addressing the Gaza conflict. He expressed the expectation that Iran’s Foreign Ministry, being the "most powerful country in the resistance axis," should have convened an urgent meeting with members of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Tehran.

Taking issue with the performance of Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Meshkini, who sits on the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, asked: "How is it that until recently, the goal was to eliminate the Zionist regime, but now the discourse has shifted."

It appears that he is referring to the fact that Iran has recently twice accepted the two-state solution.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (left), Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Islamic Republic of Iran, meets with Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, United Nations Headquarters, NY October 27, 2023.

As part of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Palestine would be an independent state alongside Israel. There are still disputes over the border between the two states, and the Palestinian and Arab leaderships are demanding that Israel withdraw from territories it occupied in 1967, which is rejected by Israel.

Iran's public position, however, has always been to annihilate Israel as a state, rejecting a two-state agreement.

On October 27, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution calling for a "humanitarian truce" in Gaza. Back then, Iranian hardliner outlets attempted to justify Iran's vote in favor of that resolution, which also advocated a two-state solution.

“Did Iran vote for the two-state solution? Although some have expressed doubts regarding Iran's position towards Palestine and the formation of an independent Palestinian state following the recent resolution of the General Assembly, Iran's position remains strong,” Fars News wrote last week.

The paper then cited the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations as saying that if they hadn’t voted, it would have been “playing into the hands of the Zionist regime”.

“The Arab League presented this resolution to the United Nations General Assembly, but it was never discussed,” he explained according to Fars News.

More recently, in a summit of Islamic and Arab states in Riyadh, in which Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also participated, a statement was released that also referred to the two-state solution.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said Tehran had always expressed “reservations” in the past about some of the provisions approved during the Riyadh summit.

Hardliners in the regime still call for the destruction of Israel and claim they are eager to go and fight in Gaza, while the top leadership has been cautious so far, avoiding any direct involvement.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (left) and Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar (October 2023)

Referring to the war in Gaza, General Mohammad-Reza Naghdi, a deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, IRGC, said on Tuesday that while it’s true they have not sent any troops to Gaza, but that does not imply that nothing is being done.

“We eagerly await the order to deploy to Gaza,” he said rhetorically.

As more of a symbolic gesture, 150 members of the parliament have volunteered for deployment to Gaza, and the regime claims to have registered 6 million volunteers ready to join the war in Gaza.

The move to impeach Amir-Abdollahian resembles another attempt at posturing by hardliners.

With the next parliamentary election around the corner, this could also be a sign that hardliners such as Meshkini, who is sanctioned by the EU and UK, are appealing to extremists for their votes.

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