ABU DHABI, 19th August 2016 (WAM) – Iran’s persistent interference in the internal affairs of several Arab states is a serious cause for destablisation in the Middle East, a United Arab Emirates newspaper has said.

“The fact that Iran has come to an arrangement with the international community over its controversial nuclear programme has not stopped it from pursuing its dangerous regional objectives,” the English language daily ‘Gulf News’ commented today.

Both, United States President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry were being disingenuous when they claimed at various times that they hoped the nuclear deal would lead to a better overall relationship with Iran and they were closer to the truth when they insisted to a suspicious US Congress that the nuclear deal was exactly that nuclear and nothing else.

This is one reason why Russia is making a mistake by working with the Iranians. The United Nations sanctions on Iran over the nuclear programme may be ending, but by and large, the international community has rightly preferred to see how Iran is going to implement the deal before rushing to start doing business with the regime.

By using an Iranian air base to host some of their bombing missions in Syria, Moscow is indicating to Tehran that it is happy with developing a military partnership. Russia would be better advised to refuse such a link, join the world community in criticising Iran’s sectarian ambitions in the region and start to work more closely with the Arab states to find a way to reduce regional tension.

Russia is also making a mistake by using its air force to attack the Syrian opposition forces rather than Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Russia’s intervention in Syria has lost its way by focusing almost entirely on supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad against the opposition forces, rather than joining the international coalition to fight Daesh.

The Russians claim that they have attacked two Daesh bases in command points and training camps, killing more than 150 militants, but reports in Syria indicate that Moscow’s increased activity may well be triggered by a desire to halt the recent successes in Aleppo of Syrian opposition forces in breaking Al Assad’s siege of the eastern half of the city.

Russia is playing an increasingly significant role in the Middle East, based mainly on its military intervention in Syria. But such action carries great responsibilities and Moscow needs to focus on defeating Daesh rather than promoting their various allies in the region.