Iran's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Dec. 13, 2009 AP
Iran's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Photo by AP
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Someone in Tehran must have read Amir Oren's column in Haaretz yesterday on the growing confluence of interests between Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as their joint front against Iran. Either that or the Iranian regime is feeling more isolated than ever, despite getting a five-week "freebie."

On Monday morning, the Fars News Agency published several anti-Saudi stories. One revealed that the Saudis training and arming Somali refugees, then sending them off to kill Shi'ites in Northern Yemen. There is no way to verify any of the details in the story, but the last paragraph of the story certainly rings true -
Since Saudi Arabia shares long joint borders with Yemen, it has interfered in the country's internal affairs and still continues meddling. The revolution of the Yemeni people has worried Saudi Arabia because Riyadh is worried that the flames of the revolution may spread to Saudi Arabia too.

Whether or not there is any truth to the report, it is interesting that official Iranian sources never seem to mention the fact that the original inspirations for the Arab revolutionaries - in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen - were the brave Iranians who took to the streets in the 2009 Green Revolution.

But the more outlandish report is the one accusing Saudi Arabia and its Arab neighbors of standing aside while Israel occupies land. That may sound like a story you have heard a thousand times, but the report is not referring to the West Bank or Gaza, rather to the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, in the strategic Straits of Tiran. It is true that Israel occupied the Saudi-owned islands, (administered by Egypt) in the 1967 Six Day War but they were evacuated thirty years ago as part of the Camp David Accords. The only foreign presence on the islands now is that of the multi-national force which oversees the peace treaty.

Maybe there is a secret Israeli base on the Tiran islands, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia both turning a blind eye. But it is more likely that Iran realizes that while the world-powers are trying to negotiate a diplomatic solution to the nuclear impasse, some of its Arab neighbors are eager for the talks to fail and for the U.S (or Israel) to attack. That is why they are clutching at conspiracy theories, trying to direct the anger of the "Arab street" at their governments, and they may yet be successful.