Sunday, September 27, 2009

Iran's Soft Power

Reidar Visser, in a post about the Iranian consul in Basra's influence, mentions this:
"Earlier this week, the head of the Daawa-led Basra provincial council announced that a solution for Basra’s freshwater crisis was in the making. Specifically, he had signed a deal with Iran’s consul in Basra, Muhammad Rida Baghban, according to which Iran will supply Fao with 1,000 tons of drinking water on a daily basis to compensate for changes the Iranians made to the river flow of the Karun (which empties fresh water into the Shatt al-Arab near the head of the Gulf and thereby affects the saline content of the water.) The water supplies will be shipped to Basra by Iranian vessels."

Many Iraqis, of all religious backgrounds, actually worry about possible Iranian influence in their country, even as the ruling parties all have close ties to Tehran from their exile during the Saddam years. However, Iran has proven apt over the years at providing support for infrastructure that meets the real needs of people in target areas, such as hospitals and reconstruction aid in southern Lebanon, roads and energy in western Afghanistan, and projects like this in Iraq. Those looking to understand Iranian influence would do well look as closely at these projects, and perhaps consider imitating them.

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