“Reliable sources have confirmed that after the defeat in Syria and Iraq, terrorist groups, including the ISIL, are sent to other places, specially Afghanistan and North Africa,” Kharrazi said on Sunday, addressing the Seventh World Peace Forum held at Tsinghua University in Beijing themed ‘Constructing a Security Community: Equality, Equity and Justice’.
The senior Iranian foreign policy official underlined that the ISIL activities in Afghanistan is a threat to Iran as well as other countries such as China, Russia and Pakistan.
The full text of Kharrazi’s speech at World Peace Forum is as follows:
“In the Name of God
I am delighted to speak in this panel today on an important topic: The International Fight against Terrorism. I have to thank Tsinghua University which has provided me with this opportunity.
Ladies and Gentlemen
As you are aware, in recent decades, we have witnessed the emergence of large and horrific radical terrorist groups in the Middle East and North Africa who claimed to be Muslim, while doing against the teachings of Islam. Some of these groups managed to capture lands and form their own governments and states.
Al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIL, Al-Nusra, Boku Haram and others are examples of such savage groups. Among them, Taliban and ISIL managed to form their governments, but due to their extremely violent and barbaric behavior, they soon lost their public support.
ISIL was the strongest and most violent group which managed to spread its rule in the Middle East and elsewhere by recruiting people from 80 countries. However, the question is: How these radical groups emerged so rapidly?
Who supported them to set the region on fire? Wasn’t that planned by regional and international powers?
In order to respond to these questions, one should find what is the background and ideology of these groups, and explore who provided them with finance and arms.
As a matter of the fact, the root ideology of these radical groups who are named Salafies is Wahhabism, which has been founded and promoted in Saudi Arabia. However, during the past years, many Wahhabi preachers have been dispatched to seminary schools across the world to make the Muslims informed about the basics of that ideology.
For more clarification, I would like to draw your attention to an interview by Mohammad Bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince who told the Guardian on 24 October 2020 that: “After the Iranian revolution in 1979, people wanted to copy this model in different countries, one of them is Saudi Arabia. We didn’t know how to deal with it. And the problem spread all over the world. Now is the time to get rid of it.”
Yes, it is true. Saudi Arabia based on its long-run strategy had been trying to attract the youth from the Muslim world and even non-Muslim countries to the University of Medina to receive Wahhabi-Salafi teachings.
However, these students returning to their countries after graduation worked as Imams in the mosques set up by Saudi Arabia to promote Wahhabism. In Pakistan, in particular, thousands of seminary schools were established to train the students who were later recruited by radical groups such as the Taliban, Sepah Tayebbeh, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and other groups.
On the other hand, the chaotic atmosphere after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war, led to the growth of Takfiri Wahhabi groups in the Middle East by the financial, logistic, intelligence and training contributions of some Persian Gulf Arab states, and the political support of some western powers. Albeit, now that these groups are defeated, all of their supporters claim to be against them.
As you are aware, Donald Trump the president of the United States, during his election campaigns exposed that ISIL was created by Hillary Clinton, the then Secretary of State. In another case, Joe Biden the then-US Vice-President, in a televised address in 2015 confirmed the role of Persian Gulf Arab states in supporting ISIL. Moreover, the former Prime Minister of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim confessed in an interview with Al Mayadin on 26 June 2020 to the cooperation of Qatar with the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to provide support for armed groups in Syria.
Ladies and Gentlemen
With the sacrifice of the Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian and other voluntary forces, Daesh (ISIL) has been disintegrated, but not yet eradicated. According to the authentic information, they are now being relocated to Afghanistan .
The growing attacks of ISIL in Afghanistan show that they have now targeted Afghanistan which is neighbor to Iran, China, Pakistan, and Russia.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The regional experience of Iran in resisting against Wahhabism which considers other ideologies as false and entitled to eradication has a long history. The founder of this ideology was Mohammad Bin Abdul Wahhab, a Saudi clergy, lived in the eighteenth century. His school of thought was then announced as the country’s official religion by the Saudi rulers in 1744.
The first regional confrontation with Wahhabis was in 1802 when they attacked the city of Karbala in Iraq from Saudi territory, killed many innocent people and destroyed the holy shrines of the Shia Imams. They also flooded the city with water so that such holy places are being totally destroyed.
In that time, Fath Ali Shah Qajar was ruling Iran and the Ottoman Empire was in power in Istanbul, having Iraq under its control. Iran government and the Ottomans sent their army to Karbala. As the result, Wahhabis left the city and fled to Saudi Arabia. Since then, our region has experienced similar incidents on various occasions with its peak being the recent wave of violence by Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Taliban, Boku Haram, Jeish-ul Islam, ISIL, etc.
To conclude my remarks, I believe the following measures are necessary to be taken against such radical terrorist groups:
It is necessary for strategic think tanks to work on the roots of such an extremist ideology, and their findings should be shared by other countries. Conferences, seminars, and meetings should be convened to discuss various aspects of Salafi-Takfiri ideology.
Since the presence of ISIL is rising in Afghanistan , it is necessary to exchange views and hold regular meetings on how to confront this vicious phenomenon. Iran, Pakistan, China, Russia and the Central Asian countries should be pioneers in planning for coordinated measures against it.
As this ideology may attract the youth in other societies, it is necessary for the media to inform the public opinion in general, and educate the youth in specific, about the destructive role of this school of thought. ”
Seventh World Peace Forum was attended by former politicians and opinion leaders of think tanks from across the globe. Current solutions to the security challenges faced by the international community are discussed during the forum. Besides topics such as anti-terrorism and anti-nuclear proliferation, security issues– including trade conflicts and economic security, AI technology and its impact on international relations–are also to be high on the agenda this year.