This fascinating article by Bahman Aghai Diba in Persian Journal is a reminder that Iran and Israel have much in common, not least the fact that Arabs have territorial claims against both (with thanks: Hossein):
1- Iran, like Israel, is a non-Arab country in the Middle East. Amir Taheri, a prominent Iranian journalist, has mentioned in his recent article (dated March 24, 2006): “If Israel had never appeared on the map, the energy of the pan-Arab nationalism movement, which dominated Arab politics in the post-war era, would have been directed against two other neighbors: Turkey and Iran. To a certain extent, it was anyway. Even today, the Arab League claims that the Turkish province of Iskanderun is ‘usurped Arab territory’ and regards the Iranian province of Khuzestan as ‘occupied Arab land’.”
2- Iran and Israel both follow a religion that is different from the Arabs. Israelis are mostly Jews, and Iranians are mostly Shiite (Sunni do not consider Shiites as a branch of Islam in many Arab countries). Iranians are not serious Muslims (compare the behaviors of Iranians to the people of the Arab countries) and it is accepted by some researchers that Shiite sect was “invented” by Iranians as a kind of instrument to be different from the Sunni Arabs.
3- Iran, like Israel, is accused by the Arabs for being an occupier of the Arab lands. The case of Israel is clear and the case of Iran is related to the three Islands in the Persian Gulf that the UAE has put a claim on them. (The UAE did not exist before 1971).
Therefore, the two countries must have the best relations. However, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran claims to be the first enemy of Israel. Why? Because: the government of the Islamic Republic is also the worst enemy of the Iranian people.