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Jordan's position towards regional issues has shifted, especially on Iran

King of Jordan Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan on 8 June 2021 [JORDANIAN ROYAL COUNCIL/Anadolu Agency]
King of Jordan Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan on 8 June 2021 [JORDANIAN ROYAL COUNCIL/Anadolu Agency]

Jordan has recently increased the number of its statements about Iran and its role in the region. However, despite the differences between Amman and Tehran, the statements indicate the level of ambiguity in regional politics and relations, especially as an Arab-American summit approaches. It is certain that Tehran will not be absent from the agenda.

King Abdullah II revealed about a year ago that his country has been attacked by Iranian-made drones. Although they were dealt with, he told CNN at the time, such attacks were "on the rise", but he did not provide any further details. In May, the Jordanian monarch was interviewed by retired General Herbert McMaster, as part of the specialised military podcast Battlegrounds during his visit to the US. He mentioned the impact of Russia's presence in southern Syria, saying that it is a source of calm. "However," he added, "that vacuum will be filled by the Iranians and their proxies, so unfortunately we're looking at maybe an escalation of problems on our borders."

When asked about his previous warning in 2004 of what he called the "Shia crescent," King Abdullah said, "I would like to clarify that when I spoke about the Shia crescent, I meant the Iranian crescent from a political point of view."

The King's comments regarding Iran and its regional role did not pass without calls to remind Iran about the principle of "good neighbourliness" and "non-intervention in the domestic affairs" of other states. This indicates the Hashemite Kingdom's implicit concern about Tehran's policies, and fears of their repercussions for its own security and stability.

READ: Jordan says never regards Iran as 'national threat'

Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh also told the BBC Arabic network last Sunday that his country seeks good relations with Iran, and has never dealt with it as a threat to national security.

"Jordan has key observations on Tehran's dealing with some issues in the Middle East region," explained Khasawneh. "[This includes] Iran's intervention in brotherly countries as their national security is considered an integral part of Jordan's national security, including the brotherly Gulf States." Jordan, he pointed out, is looking forward to bilateral ties with Iran that are based on the principle of good neighbourliness.

He stressed that Jordan is open to a healthy relationship with Iran on the basis of the controls and provisions on which the international system is based: non-interference in the internal affairs of countries, respect for their sovereignty, territorial integrity and the principles of good neighbourliness.

The Jordanian position on Iran has changed, and is a clear signal and political message that raises more speculation about the map of upcoming alliances in the region, especially with the approaching Arab-American summit in Saudi Arabia in a few days with the participation of US President Joe Biden.

Jordanian-Iranian relations witnessed a rift lasting nearly two decades, after Jordan supported Iraq in its war against Iran in the 1980s. Iraqi government departments revealed recently that dialogue took place in Baghdad between representatives from Iran and Jordan. Neither side has confirmed this officially.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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