Iran isn’t happy with US’ plans to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, reports confirm this emotion expressed by the foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on a sideline of a conference in Doha, recently.
All this is coming, despite the fact that there are glaring gaps due to religious differences between the Sunni and Shia strongholds within Iran itself.
The move comes on the behest of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, who expressed sense of pressure for whom the Brotherhood feels like a source of political opposition. In a private meeting without reporters and photographers, Mr. Sisi had urged Mr. Trump to take a step and join Egypt in branding the movement a terrorist organization.
Political analysts believe that such a designation will impose wide-ranging economic and travel sanctions on companies and individuals who interact with the targeted group.
The proposal has not gone down well within the Trump administration including at a senior-level meeting of policymakers from various departments convened last week by the White House’s National Security Council. The proposal, if it comes through will have adverse effect on the existing relations of American and American Organisations with the target group.
In a statement on its website, the Muslim Brotherhood, or Ikhwan al-Muslimeen, remained undeterred by the news and is saying that “The Muslim Brotherhood will remain stronger – through God’s grace and power – than any decision. We will remain … steadfast in our work in accordance with our moderate and peaceful thinking and what we believe to be right, for honest and constructive cooperation to serve the communities in which we live, and humanity as a whole.
Founded in Egypt in 1928, the Brotherhood is one of world’s oldest and most influential Islamic movements. It came to power in Egypt’s first modern free election in 2012, a year after long-serving President Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign amid a popular uprising. It was declared a “terror group” by Egypt in 2013 after el-Sisi led a military coup against Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood member and the country’s first democratically-elected president.
Two of Egypt’s closest allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, also blacklisted the group but several western powers, including the United States, did not, for both legal and policy reasons.
For four decades, Iran’s main strength has been its militant proxies around the Middle East. Close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood has only extended Iran’s reach and provided the Islamic Republic with a softer political power within nearly 80 countries where the group operates, especially in regions inaccessible to Iran such as Europe and the United States.
The potential designation of Muslim Brotherhood will cut such an access to Iran.
A stronger Muslim Brotherhood is beneficial for the Iranian regime and the Islamist axis, which now includes Iran, Turkey, and Qatar, said Egyptian-based Iranian affairs expert Mohamed Banaya.