Ali Ansari on Iran-Hezbollah axis by Mitch E. Perry07/17/06
Ali Ansari is a member of the modern history faculty at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He spoke to WMNF today about Iranâ€™s connections with the Islamic militant group Hezbollah (roll tape#
AA: Well I think thereâ€™s no doubt that Iran certainly helps finance, Iâ€™m not sure about the Quantity of money these days but they certainly have been providing weapons to Hezbollah. I think where we have to be a little more careful about this is whether Iran had a direct hand in instigating this particular crises.
I think a number of assumptions have been made that are not invalid as hypothesis, but thereâ€™s no particular evidence that suggests the Iranians had a deliberate hand in starting this latest round of fighting.
MP: Do you believe that if members of Iranâ€™s government contacted Hezbollah,that theyâ€™d have some influence with them, in any fashion?
AA: I think thereâ€™s no doubt about it, that they do have influence â€“ those influences that they can use at any time, and this is one of the avenues clearly that can be used, certainly the Europeans should be active in Tehran and say â€œlook, use what influence you haveâ€?.
The relationship that Iran has with Hezbollah I always characterize like an increasingly distant set of relations â€“ theyâ€™re like cousins. So , itâ€™s not as if your relations always listen to what you say but you certainly have access that other people donâ€™tâ€?.
Thatâ€™s University of St. Andrews Professor of modern history Ali Ansari, discussing Iran and Hezbollah. Weâ€™ll hear more from him and about his new book, â€œConfronting Iranâ€?, tomorrow night on the Evening News.