The Persian Empire Reborn
“Today, Iran has become an empire again, as it was throughout history. Its capital is Baghdad, the center of our culture and identity as in the past. The geography of Iran and Iraq is indivisible, just as our culture is indivisible. All of the Middle East is Iranian and its people are part of Iran. We intend to form an Iranian Union in this region.”
(Rudaw News) - Iran is once again an empire whose influence extends to Iraq and beyond, a top Iranian presidential advisor said Sunday, days after Saudi Arabia expressed alarm that “Iran is taking over Iraq."
“At the moment Iraq is not only the bastion of our civilization, it is also our identity, culture and capital and this is true now as in the past,” Ali Younesi, an advisor to the Iranian president said at a forum on Iran’s ethnic identifies.
“The geography of Iran and Iraq cannot be divided,” said Younesi, a former intelligence minister, speaking at a Tehran forum titled “Iran: nationality, history and heritage."
“All of the Middle East is Iranian,” Younesi declared, warning that no one had the right to oppose Iran’s influence in the region.
He said that people now living in neighboring countries are also Iranian “because their countries were separated from the empire east and west."
“Protecting our security and historical national identity would not be possible unless we look at our influence in the region,” the ISNA news agency quoted Younesi as saying.
Iran “does not eye beyond its borders but a natural unification in the region is on the table right now,” he declared.
“I do not mean that we should once again conquer the world, I mean that we have to remain vigilant and know where we stand,” he said. “We have to think globally but act Iranian."
Younesi said that, as Iranian forces back the Iraqi army in its war with Islamic State (ISIS), “our historical rivals are upset and they help our enemies to spite us."
In a clear jibe at archrivals Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Younesi said Tehran’s military involvement in the region is to “protect the Iranian people against the Wahabis and Ottoman rule.”
Iranian influence has grown tremendously in Iraq and beyond since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq upset the regional balance.
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|The Persian Empire in 1722|
The entire Tigris and Euphrates river valley of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) was part of the Persian Empire for thousands of years. It is only natural that they would have a fierce interest in the region for military, cultural and economic reasons..