Iran is trying to leverage its foreign policy and diplomatic connections to isolate Israel in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack. Hamas and other terrorists massacred 1,400 people. In the month that followed, Iran encouraged its proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen to attack Israel and also to attack US forces.
Now, after dozens of attacks in Iraq and Syria on US forces, and numerous missile attacks from Yemen and Lebanon by the Houthis and Hezbollah against Israel, Iran is shifting gears. The key leaders in Iran’s efforts are Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi and chief diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
Iran’s president and foreign minister have been doing outreach. Amir-Abdollahian first met with Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh in Qatar in the wake of the attacks. Then Haniyeh came to Iran for meetings. Iran also reached out to Turkey to coordinate policy against Israel on November 2. On November 7, the Iranian foreign minister continued to incite against Israel and the US, bashing it for backing Israel. Tehran has tried to combine its messaging against the US and Israel since early October, seeking to create a regional conflict against both countries.
The Iranian president has also done outreach. He phoned the Prime Minister of Norway to slam Israel; now he is heading to the Central Asian states of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran also invited the Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani to Tehran for consultations. The Iraqis had just hosted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Iraq is a close ally of Iran.
While Raisi reached out to the Vatican over the weekend, Amir-Abdollahian also reached out to BRICS countries to encourage them against Israel. These include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. China called this week for a closed-door session at the UN to discuss Gaza.
In addition, Iran may want to do outreach to Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It may also be trying to broker deals for the hostages of foreign countries held in Gaza, such as Thai workers kidnapped by Hamas.
Al-Jazeera reported that “a veteran Thai politician from Thailand’s Muslim minority has said he met Hamas officials in Iran in an effort to secure the release of the Thai nationals being held captive in Gaza by the Palestinian group. Former lawmaker and education minister Areepen Uttarasin said on Friday that he held two hours of “direct talks” with Hamas officials in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on October 26.”
French 24 reports that Raisi may visit Saudi Arabia for a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has 57 members. It would be his first visit to Saudi Arabia since China brokered reconciliation between Riyadh and Tehran.
Iran believes it has an opportunity after October 7 to leverage the Hamas massacre and ongoing war in Gaza to its advantage. It uses proxy groups in the region to carry out attacks while it uses diplomacy to try to leverage the war and isolate Israel. While the US seems keyed into some of this, moving naval and military assets to the region to deter Iran’s proxies, Iran is not deterred.
In Iraq, the proxies increased their attacks. There have been almost forty attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed proxies since October 7.
Clearly, many things are in the works.
Source » jpost