Glenn Greenwald and the Leveretts Talk Iran—and How Two Former Spear-Carriers for Empire Got “Radicalized”

Glenn Greenwald interviewed us for a “Podcast Discussion with Two of America’s Leading Iran Experts:  The Leveretts,” now published by the Guardian (click on the podcast screen above or here).  We admire Glenn deeply for all he has done and continues to do to bring reality and principle back into America’s ongoing debates about national security and about civil liberties—and to explain, tirelessly, how those two debates are inextricably linked.  If our children inherit a republic still even marginally worthy of the name, it will be, in no small part, because enough people were motivated by Glenn to demand that American elites stop eviscerating our country’s international position through a counter-productive quest for imperial dominance, and stop shredding the Constitution in pursuit of an illusory notion of “security.”

Our discussion with Glenn covered some of the myths about the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy and internal politics that warp America’s Iran debate.  It also explores, as Glenn’s subtitle for the podcast post puts it, how did “two former officials of the US National Security State become the most vocal critics of US policy toward Tehran.”  We’ve been reluctant to talk, or even really think about ourselves as having been “radicalized.”  But Glenn has a definition of radicalization that describes our experience very well:  it is a “re-examination process” that some went through after the 9/11 attacks and the disastrous choices that the United States made in responding to them—a process “of going back to scratch and rebuilding your belief system, with the understanding that so much of what it contained was propagandistic, or mythological, or otherwise false.”

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett 


151 Responses to “Glenn Greenwald and the Leveretts Talk Iran—and How Two Former Spear-Carriers for Empire Got “Radicalized””

  1. Nasser says:

    Mr. Wolfowitz on Iraq:

    It is tempting to dismiss this stuff as just ranting of some neocon but many American strategists still think like this. They haven’t given up on Iraq and consider Syria a prelude to what must follow there.

    Some comical excerpts:

    “Contrary to a common belief, the U.S. failure to act was not the fault of the Saudis. To the contrary, when I accompanied Secretary of State James Baker on his first trip to the Gulf after the cease fire, I heard Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi Foreign Minister, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., plead with Baker to support the Shi’ite uprising.”

    “Although it is very late in the day, perhaps it would not yet be too late to forge a coalition, one which includes Iraq, to bring an end to the bloody conflict in Syria and provide international support for a new Syrian government. But that would require real U.S. leadership, whereas the U.S. is not even “leading from behind” as it did in Libya.”

  2. James Canning says:

    Greenwald sees the undermining of the Republic brought about by endless war in the Middle East. And grotesque spending on “defence”, by the US.

  3. James Canning says:


    Are you arguing that Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Prince Saud al-Faisal did not seek US backing for Shia revolt in Iraq after the Gulf War?

  4. nico says:

    Mister 20%

    Do you suggest the Al Yamamah defence contract never existed with such money used for corruption of all UK political class and financing of UK supported putsch in the region as well as destabilization of the whole ME ?

  5. nico says:

    It is widely believed that the Al Yamamah contract between KSA generated from it inception in 1985 to this day and going on more than 120 billions revenue. (600 000 bpd delivered by KSA to UK for more than 25 yeard).
    While the cost of the weapon sold from UK to KSA is estimated 30 to 50 billions.
    Thus it makes at least 70 billions used from 1985 for bribery and secret services operations.
    Equal to roughly 2 billions a year for corrupt UK polticians and Arabian kleptocrats as well as for the financing of wahabis all accross the ME.

    Rule of law ?…

  6. Nasser says:

    Some acknowledge of realities from Iran’s enemies

    The notorious Patrick Clawson on the sanctions:

    On the effects of Syrian civil war and sectarianism on Turkey

  7. James Canning says:


    You object to my asking whether a challenge was made to Wolfowitz’s statement that the two Saudi princes sought US backing for Shia revolt in Iraq (after Gulf War)?

    Are you arguing that giant arms deals, with apparent kickbacks, mean the Saudi princes did not seek overthrow of Saddam by Shias in Iraq?

  8. Kathleen says:

    Great interview. So appreciate what Glenn Greenwald and the Leveretts have done to bring the American people accurate information about Iran and so many other critical issues. Glenn makes it on Rachel Maddows once in awhile wonder if he can ask Rachel why she has not had the Leveretts on? Have been working on Chris Matthews for years now. Wondering why the Diane Rehm show who has had Flynt on in the past has not had the Leveretts on? But Rachel Maddow you know that way leftie (cough) has not had the Leveretts on. That would be because Rachel follows Israel’s script on Iran and has on many occasions repeated unsubstantiated claims about Iran. But still important to keep pushing these outlets….to have the Leveretts on to discuss Iran

  9. Nasser says:

    From Stratfor:

    “Sample Article: The U.S. Struggles for Influence in Iraq


    A publicized effort by Iraqi officials to intercept Iranian planes bound for Damascus appears to be an act by Baghdad and Tehran to ease U.S. pressure on the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The United States has a strategic interest in maintaining a foothold in Baghdad to manage the region and is leaning on Turkey to aid in this effort. However, Iraq’s alleged plane interceptions actually reveal a much tighter relationship between Baghdad and Tehran as the Syrian conflict continues to widen ethnic and sectarian fissures in the region.


    Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast on April 10 criticized the Iraqi government for its recent inspection of an Iranian plane carrying humanitarian materials to Syria, calling Baghdad’s actions “a violation of international law.” The United States has been pressing Baghdad to stop allowing Iranian aircraft to pass through Iraqi airspace en route to Syria. After the Iraqi government pledged to do more random searches to intercept weapons heading for Syria by land and air, Iraqi officials claimed that they forced two Iranian cargo planes to land this week at Baghdad International Airport. The Iranian cargo plane intercepted April 8 was allegedly carrying humanitarian supplies. Iraqi officials did not elaborate on the contents of the plane intercepted April 9.
    Convenient Interceptions

    Since the U.S. withdrawal that left Iraq in control of its airspace, Iraq still lacks the air force capability to scramble jets and force the landing of an aircraft. Instead, the Iranian airliners that were purportedly forced to land did so willingly. Though Iran is now expressing outrage at the supposed interceptions, the Iraqi government was likely closely coordinating with Iranian authorities. Conveniently, the interceptions that Baghdad has publicized so far reveal only humanitarian supplies destined for Syria. However, it is an open secret that Iran has been funneling weapons and fighters in civilian aircraft primarily through Iraq to reinforce the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

    The al-Maliki government is not simply doing its Iranian allies a favor in allowing Iraqi territory to be used for this purpose. The Shiite government in Baghdad can already see increased movement by Sunni fighters between Syria and Iraq’s Sunni-concentrated western provinces and is carefully manipulating the Sunni political situation in Iraq to prevent the return of a Sunni nationalist insurgency that could threaten the Shia’s hold on Baghdad. The more the Syrian conflict intensifies, the more reason Baghdad has to align itself more closely with its sectarian allies in Iran and Syria to keep the Sunni rebellion contained.

    But al-Maliki must also manage perceptions in the region. The Iraqi government does not want to give the United States, Turkey or other regional governments a reason to reinforce al-Maliki’s own political adversaries in an attempt to weaken Iran’s link in Baghdad. Al-Maliki also understands that the United States has a strategic interest in maintaining a foothold in Baghdad to balance against Iran, and he can exploit that interest to try to secure economic and military aid from Washington. But even the assets the United States currently has in Iraq and increased aid from Washington cannot compete effectively with Iran’s extensive political, intelligence, security, religious and business relationships in Iraq.
    Turkey’s Role

    The United States’ attempt to keep a working relationship with Baghdad can also be seen in the growing tension between the U.S. and Turkish governments over the latter’s attempts to unilaterally engage with the Kurdistan Regional Government in defiance of Baghdad. Though Turkey sees the need to continue dealing with Baghdad, it is trying to fashion a strategy to develop a reliable source of energy in northern Iraq and use that economic leverage to secure cooperation from Iraqi Kurdish officials in neutering a Kurdish insurgency.

    Though the United States is interested in seeing Turkey play a bigger role in Iraq to counter Iran, Washington sees the danger in the Turkish policy of alienating Baghdad and fragmenting Iraq. Washington has thus been encouraging Ankara to temper its interactions with the Kurdistan Regional Government and to re-engage with Baghdad, particularly in the energy sphere. The United States is also trying to push Baghdad into striking a compromise with Ankara, as was seen April 5 when al-Maliki — a day before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Turkey — issued a statement expressing his desire for a rapprochement with Turkey. The Turkish diplomatic rumor mill suggests that al-Maliki’s gesture was made with a nudge from the United States and that Ankara’s relationship with Baghdad was a major theme during Kerry’s visit to Turkey. This remains a sore issue between Turkey and the United States, but it will likely be discussed further when Kerry returns to Turkey in two weeks and when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads to Washington on May 16.

    Washington has no easy or direct way to influence Iraq in the current geopolitical environment. Though it shares with Turkey a common aim to use Iraq as an arena to balance against Iran, Turkey will put its own interests first — including curbing Kurdish militancy and pursuing alternative energy resources — when developing its strategy for Iraq. Turkey is not interested in alienating itself from Baghdad — after all, it still needs Baghdad to keep a check on the Kurdistan Regional Government — but it is finding it difficult to maintain a good relationship with Baghdad when it is also pursuing a strategy to develop closer energy ties with the Kurdish government in Arbil and when the regional environment is pushing Iran and Turkey into more competition. Turkey will try to balance its current Iraq strategy by maintaining its own relationship with Iran by, for example, continuing to help Iran circumvent sanctions (much to the United States’ discontent). The United States is trying to rectify this disconnect through its increased interactions with Ankara, but Turkey will probably require much more U.S. involvement in the region before it feels compelled to change its strategy, and the United States is unlikely to have the appetite for that at a time when it is trying to recalibrate its position in other parts of the world.

    Meanwhile, al-Maliki will continue to engage with Ankara and Washington to try to discourage either from reinforcing its support for Iraq’s Sunni and Kurdish factions. Ultimately, this does not amount to much of a balancing act by al-Maliki. As the plane interceptions reveal, Baghdad’s interactions with Washington are unlikely to be carried out without coordination with Tehran. That is a reality that Turkey has already acknowledged but one that Washington will struggle to adapt to.”

    – The only thing I will add is that the Shias will be well be well advised to let the Kurds be and focus on fighting the Arab Sunnis.

  10. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The ‘Great Game’ in Levant

    Notable Quote

    On the other hand, a Turkish-Israeli rapprochement does not mean that the two countries will have an easy ride in realizing their joint pipeline project, if this is decided on. Haaretz recently quoted industry sources saying that such a pipeline would have to pass through the economic zones of Lebanon and Syria before reaching Turkey, which is bound to be problematic.

    The future of Syria, however, is in the balance today. Meanwhile, Lebanon is also searching for the vast offshore reserve it believes exists in its own economic interest zone in the Eastern Mediterranean. If proven, these reserves will have to be exploited with international cooperation.

    A Turkey, that has consummated its ties with Israel by means of a strategic pipeline will have every reason to use its influence over Lebanon in order to convince it to join the network of cooperation in the Levant Basin for the sake of its own economic future and regional stability.

    End Quote

    So, you see, there are reasons BEYOND the upcoming war in Iran why Israel wants Syria and Lebanon “out of the way.”

    In the end, as always, it is about MONEY.

  11. kooshy says:

    I am worried for folks like Scott Lucas in a European station, could cutting back on “heat” in the night help? Or better does a job in local paper writing a weekly travel article on “How to discover Birmingham in weekend walking tours” help to make up the cut in pay?

    Obama proposes cuts in funding to US spy agencies in 2014 budget

    “The proposed budget, unveiled on Wednesday, showed that Obama is seeking $48.2 billion for US spy agencies, an eight percent drop from the president’s $52.6-billion request for fiscal 2013, AFP reported.”

  12. nico says:

    Mister 20%,

    Are you arguing that Blair, Cameron, Thatcher etc are/were not as corrupt and criminal as the Bush/Cheney Cabal or for that matter the Saudi kleptocrats ?

  13. imho says:

    I salute Leveretts for their consistent responses backed by solid arguments. Good job and thank you

  14. Nasser says:

    A little dated and not much useful info, but observe the is an Indian fellow LOL

  15. imho says:

    fyi says (from previous thread):
    April 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

    “The thing is, when the Ba’athist state attacked Iran, in the response of the Iranian people over 8 years once could clearly see that they were largely and stronly committed to the war effort because of deep belief in Islam.

    I think this must be understood and accepted.”

    I’m not going to dispute this fact and accept it obviously.

    However one must also remember what Saddam Hussein said when beginning the hostilities : that he will teach a lesson or two to those Persians. Although we would never know if nationalism alone would have saved Iran from this aggression, the strong sens of cohesion between Iranians to save their old nation and identity must not be underestimated. This shows in my viewpoint that the issue of nationalism and political Shia is so much intertwined in Iranian society.

    Again, to be clear, I’d like to emphasize the huge sacrifice of Iranians defending their nation in that war that probably would not have been possible without a strong belief on religion and a strong sens of their unique identity.

    “I think it is more profitable to concentrate one’s efforts on improving the Rule of Law and the protection and enforcement of the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran rather than search for yet another system (as you put it).”

    I can’t agree more.
    Actually, I think you misunderstood my thoughts. I never suggested to try to find yet another system but believe that this will come rather naturally as an evolution of the current system. Also, I strongly reject any form of violence in trying to remodel the system for I believe what Iranians need is tolerance and dialogue in order to establish a stable and democratic system.
    What I am saying is in fact not far from what Leveretts say in their podcast that I agree completely. That is, Iranians don’t want a liberal system based on western models. They want to make work their own system tailored to their way of life and to their beliefs. This, in my opinion, is what western elites are fighting against and they will try to crush any nation rejecting their liberal model and not adopting their financial system by which they’re used to rule the planet.
    The way high level Iranian politics and above all Mr Khamenei are managing foreign policies and resistance to imperialism is admirable. Yet at the same time it is hardly disputable that the system needs maturity, institutions and know-how

    “But even that will take a long hard slog among a population that equates power with arbitrariness and enjoys it.”
    This is yet another aspect of Iranians’ view that need time to mature thanks to more pluralism compared to the Shah’s era (as Leveretts say in their podcast). Actually I believe a system needs to tolerate political pluralism for its own survival.

  16. Neo says:

    imho says: April 11, 2013 at 5:18 am

    “This shows in my viewpoint that the issue of nationalism and political Shia is so much intertwined in Iranian society.”

    I would go one step further than that, imho. Nationalism has been the root of political Islam in Iran, since the time of Ferdowsi. In fact, there is a case for claiming that Iran (Ferdowsi) invented modern nationalism in that period.

    And the Iran-Iraq war would have been fought perhaps even more ferociously and effectively on the Iranian side if the Iranian military had not been undermined by the more hotheaded of the Shia revolutionaries, and if many of those eligible and competent to fight had not been executed or exiled from the country. In fact, the war probably would not have happened at all.

    There is a parallel here with how the US invasion of Iraq shot itself in the foot by disbanding the Iraqi military. But unwise US decision-makers didn’t want any powerful military to exist at the time. And, in the same manner, Khomeini and his followers wanted to destroy the Iranian military in order to remove any chance of a challenge arising, based on the experience of Mossadeq.

    But I would agree with you and fyi that evolution is better than yet another revolution. Revolutions tend to fail. Iran’s has survived. But it’s hard to claim that it has ‘succeeded’. We are just managing to withstand the foreign bullying today, but at an extremely high cost. This cost could have been much lower, imho.

    This is not about lament. I’m just warning against arriving at false conclusions based on Shia clerical propaganda. Few countries’ citizens have the depth of nationalism that Iranians have.

  17. James Canning says:


    I take it you accept that Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Prince Saud al-Faisal urged the George H. W. Bush administration to back the Shia effort in Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War.

  18. James Canning says:

    Gary Samore, former adviser to Obama regarding nuclear dispute with Iran, claims Iran’s enriching to 3.5% at Natanz is a larger problem than Iran’s enriching to 20%.

    I think this position is dubious, to say the least.

    Roula Khalaf cites Samore’s contention in the Financial Times today (“Deadlocked talks with Iran are better than the alternative”).

  19. Kathleen says:

    I am in Boulder Colorado attending part of the Univ of Colorado’s Conference on World Affairs. Just attended a panel discussion on Obama and foreign policy

    4111 Obama’s Foreign Policy: Audacity or Hope

    9:00-10:20 on Thursday April 11, 2013
    Macky Auditorium
    Gordon Adams
    Guy Benson
    Phillip James Walker

    During the question and answer period I was able to mention that I spend time reading and following what Former Bush administration officials and middle east experts Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett have to say about US foreign policy with Iran. Mentioned that the Leveretts have written a great deal about the misconceptions about Iran and how they are fueled in the main stream media. Also mentioned how absurd it is that Israel a non signatory to the NPT are the ones pushing hard for an attack on Iran a signatory to the NPT. Asked them to address this hypocrisy. Folks will be glad to hear that Valerie Plame said very clearly that she too follows what the Levertts have to say about the situation with Iran as well as on other foreign policy issues. Both Valerie and two of the other panelist pushed more negotiations with Iran. Valerie referenced Iran as a “rational actor” One panelist representing the warmongers said that I had morally equated Iran with Israel (well I would have said I had promoted Iran more than Israel) and that that was wrong. He then went onto say that Iran had threatened to annihilate Israel yada yada.

    Valerie Plame had spent most of her time promoting Hillary Clinton and her foreign policy focus on women’s issues around the world. She was pushing hard for Hillary. My question which I politely directed to Valerie Plame ” I have deep respect for you Valerie but could you please explain how then Senator Clinton’s vote in support for the Iraq war resolution was good for women in Iraq or for that matter anywhere in the world” Plame fumbled a bit by saying that a lot of Senators had voted for the Iraq war resolution, but did go on to say that they had not read the full NIE report and had not done their homework adequately. But did not answer how that war was good for the Iraqi women or women anywhere.

    Valerie Plame Wilson

  20. Richard Steven Hack says:

    West faces chemical fait accompli in Syria


    As the diplomatic dust began to settle it became apparent that a single home-made rocket had been fired at a military checkpoint at the entrance to the small town of Khan al-Assal, west of Aleppo, killing about 26 people, approximately six of whom were Syrian Army soldiers. The rocket appeared to have been fired from a district controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra, a jihadist group linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq. The rocket had been carrying, not a chemical weapon, but a caustic type of chlorine known as CL17, commercially available for swimming pools, which, when mixed with water, forms hydrochloric acid.

    Then the Russians and Chinese, suspicious that the West would try to stack the inspection team with its own loyalists in order to predetermine the outcome of the investigation, objected to the selection of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and insisted on being involved.

    Rebel groups and US intelligence have now upped the ante by claiming that the Syrian government twice used CW in Damascus on March 19, although they also expressed uncertainty about whether CW or incapacitating agents were used.

    Last but not least, the UN Secretary-General has puzzlingly stated that the investigation will look “at whether chemical weapons were used and not at who may have used them.” This takes the cake, even for the Byzantine UN Security Council. Even if CW are found to have been used, no one will be held responsible. What, then, was the real purpose of the investigation?

    End Quotes

  21. Smith says:

    On the possibility of North Korean deployment of miniaturized Fusion Boosted Nukes:

  22. Richard Steven Hack says:

    US belittles Iran’s nuclear offer


    The illogic of Western approach is now risking a major escalation of the nuclear crisis, in light of new Iran sanctions in the works in the US Congress that aim to limit Iran’s access to foreign markets and set up an Iraqi-style oil for food program for Iran. In response, Tehran has opted to make the West more aware of the sunk costs of pseudo-negotiation tactics by accelerating the nuclear program, reflected in this week’s announcements regarding the opening of two new uranium mines and advancing enrichment activities.

    End Quote

  23. Richard Steven Hack says:

    As predicted…

    Move to Widen Help for Syrian Rebels Gains Speed in West


    In Washington, administration officials said President Obama had not yet signed off on a specific package of measures, but had agreed in principle to increase assistance to the military wing of the Syrian opposition that could include battlefield gear like body armor and night-vision goggles, but not arms.

    “Our assistance has been on an upward trajectory, and the president has directed his national security team to identify additional measures so that we can increase assistance,” a senior administration official said.

    In London, where the British foreign secretary, William Hague, hosted a meeting with the Syrian opposition on Wednesday, there were signs that Britain and France were prepared to let the European Union arms embargo expire by the end of May so that they could increase their assistance.

    “We certainly believe that it’s necessary to continue, if the situation continues to deteriorate, to increase the practical help we give to the Syrian opposition,” Mr. Hague told reporters. “We think that as things stand today, there is going to be a very strong case for further amendments to the embargo or the lifting of the embargo.”

    The European Union’s embargo on shipment of arms to Syria will expire at the end of May, unless all 27 members vote to extend it — an unlikely situation, diplomats said, given the strong opposition of Britain and France to the ban.

    End Quotes

  24. nico says:


    Thanks for the stratfor link. Very interesting.
    It confirms that the kurds are the wild card in the region.
    Their support is needed by each party, however nobody want to provide them to much independence.
    I guess the kurds are a major lever held by the US against Turkey to dictate their ME policy.
    Meanwhile the US cannot play the kurdish card in Irak as much as they would desire whithout alienating Turkey.

    It also confirm that Irak is solidly bound to Iran and that the US do not entertain useless hope about it.

    The question remaining unanswered is the western plan for the day after in the event the takfiries take power in Syria.
    I am not sure to see how the US intend to manage them and what is the long term plan.
    It seems a very short term nihilistic policy only aimed at building chips to negotiate a grand bargain with Iran.

  25. fyi says:

    Neo says:
    April 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Iranian milirary, at the time of the Shah, say in 1978, was not prepared for a massive war with Iraq.

    Iraq had many many mechanized, armored divisions than Iran.

    Iran had 3, if my memory does not fail me, and they were not at full strength.

    Iraqis did not attack because they did not want to risk US reaction.

    The late Mr. Khamenei was not against Iranian Armed Forces – there were others – religious and non-religious, including a variety of leftists – that wish to dismantle the Iranian Armed Forces.

    In regards to the 3 majors of Islamic Revolution in Iran: Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic; 2 have been met: Independence and Islamic Republic.

    The third, Freedom, unfortunately has not be realized to the extent that one would wish for. In my opinion, what prevailed during the first Spring of Freedom has not been repeated since.

  26. nico says:

    At the end of the day it seems the US interest in Syria is neither the takfiries or the resistance axis to win the war.
    In a pure devide and conquer policicy, the Western interest is to roll the current situation over as long as possible and bring both parties to fight and anihilate each other.
    The final goal being a ruined Syria no more and no less.
    This is truly immoral and cynical.

  27. nico says:

    And once again, the Iranian leadership is speaking the truth when they describe the west support of the sunni shia devide as a devil plot coming from and faned by ill intended west.

  28. nico says:

    Total has sabotaged the South pars gas field phas 10 which is unusable for 10 years… According to Iran.

    If confirmed that would be quite an ugly behaviour.

    That is truly against all common decency.
    An act of sheer agression on Iran soil that could not be justified by some invented nuclear fear.
    Amazing… and desgusting.

    That is another qualitative leap in the enmity against Iran and cause of open war.
    Actually it is obviously planned by western intelligence agencies on western political command.

  29. Neo says:

    fyi says: April 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    “Iranian milirary, at the time of the Shah, say in 1978, was not prepared for a massive war with Iraq.”


    just about the only thing that the Shah did achieve with real competence was in building up Iran’s military power, albeit under foreign control, but certainly enough to keep Iraq under control.

    From Wiki:

    “In April 1969, the Shah abrogated the 1937 Iranian-Iraqi treaty over control of the Shatt al-Arab, and as such, Iran ceased paying tolls to Iraq when its ships used the Shatt al-Arab.[23] The Shah justified his move by arguing that almost all river borders all over the world ran along the thalweg (deep channel mark), and by claiming that because most of the ships that used the Shatt al-Arab were Iranian, the 1937 treaty was unfair to Iran.[24] Iraq threatened war over the Iranian move, but when on 24 April 1969 an Iranian tanker escorted by Iranian warships sailed down the Shatt al-Arab, Iraq being the militarily weaker state did nothing.[25] The Iranian abrogation of the 1937 treaty marked the beginning of a period of acute Iraqi-Iranian tension that was to last until the Algiers Accords of 1975.[25]”

    So Iraq accepted defeat against Iran in 1975. If you are stating that the Iranian military had become significantly weaker under the Shah only 3 years later, I would have to ask you to explain how. If anything, it would have been stronger, and significantly so. Nuclear weapons were in the works too, had the Shah remained.

  30. Ataune says:


    “Few countries’ citizens have the depth of nationalism that Iranians have”

    The same general sentence can be said about religion in Iran: Few countries’ population have the religous fervor that Iranians have.

    Ferdowsi couldn’t have known about the concept of nationalism neither could have invented it, since nation-state, with delineated borders to be defended and a state representing a national sovereign didn’t even exist in germination at his time and wouldn’t for forseeable future. What he was calling Iran applied to what he had heard (or maybe read in Daghighi) in stories about tribes and clans living in historical ancien times fighting for territories in the greater Khorasan (mostly the current Afghanistan). Just remember he intended his whole “Book of the Kings” to a Ghaznavid Turk from Central Asian Stepps.

    On the other hand there can easily be a claim tracing back the birth of Nation-State to the times of Safavid with their judicious combination of the twelver branch of Islam with territorial delineation of their state on top of the Iranian plateau. Then one can infere that since the 17th century, at least one of sources, if not the main, of legitimacy for a sovereign national state in Iran was religion.

  31. James Canning says:


    Why would “the West” want a “ruined Syria”?

  32. James Canning says:

    “Capitulation [in nuclear talks] is seen as a greater threat to the regime’s survival than even a military confrontation with the United States.”

    [Recnt study by NIAC, quoted in New York Times April 6th]

  33. Nasser says:

    nico says: April 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    “The question remaining unanswered is the western plan for the day after in the event the takfiries take power in Syria.
    I am not sure to see how the US intend to manage them and what is the long term plan.
    It seems a very short term nihilistic policy only aimed at building chips to negotiate a grand bargain with Iran.”

    – There is no plan! What was their plan in Afghanistan in the 80s? There was none. They just wanted to hurt the Soviets then, they just want to hurt Iran now. And since they have zero regard for the populace living in these places, there isn’t much moral consideration going into their decisions either. They just have a narrow focus on harming their adversaries. Some cautious types amongst them would warn against blowbacks they judge the risks to be worth it, at the end of the day. It seems their anti Iran fervor made them forget 9/11. Yes, truly deplorable.

  34. Nasser says:


    The kurds are not a threat to Iran or to the Shias. They are a threat mainly to Turkey. But since Turkey has thrown its lot with the anti Iran front why should Iran go out of its way to protect Turkey’s interest. I have said repeatedly that Baghdad would be well advised to make nice with the Kurds and focus the entirety of its energy on the Arab Sunnis. Those that can be accommodated (bribed), should be accommodated (please refer to the link I posted earlier). The others need to be taught who is boss.

  35. Nasser says:

    Smith says: April 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Things just got more serious. A US lawmaker made parts of the DIA public which seem to confirm North Korea has nuclear weapons.

  36. Smith says:

    From a poster above:

    “Iraq threatened war over the Iranian move, but when on 24 April 1969 an Iranian tanker escorted by Iranian warships sailed down the Shatt al-Arab, Iraq being the militarily weaker state did nothing.”

    That is ridiculous. To say the least. Iraq had only Arvand river as an outlet to open seas. Thus it did not have a navy. Iran had a navy, though a very small and laughable one but still had one. No wonder a small Iranian corvette escorting an Iranian tanker backed by US navy could not be stopped by Iraqis then. If Iranian was so powerful and its navy so glorious then why it had to give up Bahrain when British colonial imperial military left it? All they had to do was to go in. Bahrain was let go, years after Iran supposedly scared Iraq in Arvand river “all by itself”. Preposterous.

    But Iraq had upper hand in almost everything else. It had more armor, tanks, artillery and by the time it attacked Iran, it also had ballistic missiles on top of a professional core military trained in the lines of much more superior Soviet “Operational Art”. By comparison, Iran had a conscript army and a highly foreign dependent air force. Actually, Iran did not even have the capacity to train its own pilots, both civilian and fighter. For training, Iranians used to be sent to US and Pakistan. When the war started, Iran learnt that its small air force is the only asset that has some superiority over Iraqis but this air force also had very limited ammo and spares so just after a few months, Iranian air force stopped being a “decider” in war.

    Towards the end Iran tried to use its small and poorly equipped navy against Iraq which had no navy, but this move was quickly put Iran at heads with US which terminated in shooting down of flight 655. The only asset Iranians had over Iraqis was the numerical superiority of humans. In almost every other aspect, Iraqis were superior to Iranians at the beginning and more so by the end of the war. Iraq had more fighter jets, bombers, air defense, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, tanks, artillery, armor etc etc.

    Shah had made a military that was gigantic on paper but in real fight, it was useless. Much like Saudi Arabia today. On paper they are gigantic, on battle field, I am not so sure. Shah on many fronts meant well. But he lacked the strategic and intellect to understand that Iran would never become a secular European state, neither it would accept a minion role as a regional agenda-push-clerk for American foreign policy like Turkey. He had underestimated his own nation. The biggest folly a ruler can make.

  37. Don Bacon says:

    Why would “the West” want a “ruined Syria”?

    Perhaps for the same reason the US/West has promoted ruin in Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan, to name a few in that area.

    The US — Instability ‘R Us. It’s good for MIC profits, is the main reason.

  38. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    April 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Oh, that much we know that they have nuclear weapons since 2006. The question always was whether those weapons were small enough to be carried on fighter jets or on top of missiles as well the question about how big they were in yield.

    US has been downplaying North Korean and the US regime media have been ridiculing North Koreans. For example on every North Korean test, US has said, it has under reported the yield eg. in 2009 test US said the North Korean nuke yield was 2.3 Kiloton of TNT. Russia said it was 20 kiloton. In 2013 test, US said the yield was 6 kiloton. Germany said it was 40 kiloton. US has been consistently under reporting the yield giving the minimum possible values.

    But the more interesting thing is North Koreans have developed the fusion boosted nuke technology which is similar to the technology Pakistanis have chosen for their nuke arsenal. It means, North Koreans have advanced. They were not sitting on their bottoms all this time. The fusion boosted technology is the intermediate step between the fission nukes and thermonuclear weapons. It can then be extrapolated that we might see a thermonuclear test as well in near future (now to 5 years).

    A nation that can solve the monstrous theoretical physics calculations for a thermonuclear device can safely be assumed to have the capability to miniaturize the nukes as well, which means North Koreans either already have weaponized their nukes or are on the verge of. Now, of course North Korea might choose at any moment to prove this capability beyond doubt by doing an upper atmospheric nuclear test, strapping a nuke on top of a missile and explode it 120,000 feet above North pacific ocean. That will surely catch some attentions.

  39. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    April 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Instead of “Arab Sunnies”, I would really urge the use of “wahabis/salafis”, Arab or not.

  40. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    April 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I agree. There are alot of people who do not realize what a military is and what is its function. A military must be a cohesive institute that does not become paralyzed if some of its small or big members run away to California or are executed because of their treason (percept or real). The Soviet military in WWII, was excellent and successful, despite continuous executions and purges during Stalin’s furious rages. It shows the high capacity for a military to suffer losses without affecting its war making capability. It was not uncommon to call a general to Moscow from a battle front and execute him on cooked up stuff.

    By comparison, Iranian military never went through such things in its history. Iranian military was a weak, super foreign dependent with a pampered officer core who knew more about the ethics of eating fine food in their mess uniforms, with sparkling forks and knives at the table with ladies than they knew about Operational Art and Strategic Planning.

    The Nazi military still had kept its cohesion even when Berlin was captured. It had enough cohesion for its commanders to negotiate peace and call a ceasefire which the field German troops obeyed. Without any question. The same goes for Japanese military. The Russian military after Soviet fall. And many other militaries around the world. The most important thing Iran Iraq war taught Iranian military and which no Iranian military historian (does Iran even have military historians?) has yet researched on, is the fact that Iranians learned how to fight using their own capabilities rather than the capabilities of other nations. Since the end of Safavid era, Iran had stopped to have a military.

    All it had were darbari uniformed toy soldiers. That is why Iran had to beg French to protect them from British and to beg British to protect them from Russians and beg Americans to protect Iran from every one, all through 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It was the IRI that put a stop to this. Today at least Iran has a military that is self dependent and is capable of seeing both internal and external threats in eye. It has developed its own Operational Art and calculates its own strategic planning. That is something which would not have been possible without Iraq war.

  41. Smith says:

    From above:

    “On the other hand there can easily be a claim tracing back the birth of Nation-State to the times of Safavid with their judicious combination of the twelver branch of Islam with territorial delineation of their state on top of the Iranian plateau. Then one can infere that since the 17th century, at least one of sources, if not the main, of legitimacy for a sovereign national state in Iran was religion.”


    Iranians should pray for the soul of Safavid rulers who made Iran a Shia state that is today. Every day and every Iranian. Otherwise, the wahabis would be running across Iran today. I can not think of a better religion for Iran than the current form of shia Islam in Iran.

  42. Smith says:

    Don Bacon says:
    April 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    It is a religious war. US has declared a war on Islam.

  43. Nasser says:

    Smith says: April 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    “Oh, that much we know that they have nuclear weapons since 2006. The question always was whether those weapons were small enough to be carried on fighter jets or on top of missiles as well the question about how big they were in yield.”

    – Yes that is what I meant. We already knew they had nuclear devices and can create underground explosions but the article said American intelligence apparently judges they have “actual” nuclear weapons. As in nuclear tipped missiles.

    “In 2013 test, US said the yield was 6 kiloton. Germany said it was 40 kiloton. US has been consistently under reporting the yield giving the minimum possible values.”

    – I didn’t know they under reported it by that much. I am getting more used to Western media’s ridicule, lies and distortions:

    “A nation that can solve the monstrous theoretical physics calculations for a thermonuclear device can safely be assumed to have the capability to miniaturize the nukes as well, which means North Koreans either already have weaponized their nukes or are on the verge of.”

    – What a disciplined and remarkable people!

    “Now, of course North Korea might choose at any moment to prove this capability beyond doubt by doing an upper atmospheric nuclear test, strapping a nuke on top of a missile and explode it 120,000 feet above North pacific ocean. That will surely catch some attentions.”

    – This must be why US has been sooo polite to them lately. I thought North Korean nuclear devices proved a danger only to South Korea and that is why. But if they have actual weapons that can be fitted onto missiles that would be a complete game changer. It doesn’t even need saying that Iran should increase cooperation with North Korea and start providing substantial energy aid as you suggested.

    Question for you: Why are the Japanese and South Koreans getting more provocative if this is the case? The article you posted earlier suggested US misleading them with faulty intel, but they should have good intel on North Korea themselves.

  44. neo says:

    Smith says:April 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Laughable. Iran didn’t even exist before Islam, right?!

  45. neo says:

    ataune says:April 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    “Ferdowsi couldn’t have known about the concept of nationalism neither could have invented it, since nation-state, with delineated borders to be defended and a state representing a national sovereign didn’t even exist in germination at his time”

    Actually, the Shahnameh is all about these concepts. It delineates ‘Iranzamin’ quite clearly, and romanticises Iran and Iranians and ‘love’ for the land of Iran and a ‘need’ to ‘defend’ the LAND from start to finish. Try a read.

  46. Bussed-in Basiji says:


    “Iran” as it is conceived today did not exist before Islam. The “Iranzamin” of Ferdowsi is something different and is defined more vis-a-vis “Turan” and the Mongols.

    There were attempts by Nader the Butcher (Sunnism) and the Pahlavis (Achamenid-Sassanid, then racial Aryanism, finally Europeanism) to create an Iranian identity without Shiaism but they failed miserably.

    There is no such thing as Iranian identity without Ahlul Bayt (as), even for the Sunnis, Jews, Armenians, Assyrians and secularists who live currently in Iran.

    Since the advent of Islam, Iranians have used to the Alavi version of Islam to distinguish themselves from the Arabs, the majority of whom are Omaris.

    They did it during the Ummayid and Abbasid dynasty with there support for the Imams (as). Ale Buye- Abbasid bureaucrats from Daylam- established the first proto-Iranian-Shia state which included Baghdad.

    The Teymouris were Mongols who became good Persianized Shias.

    The Safavids invented modern Iranian identity as we know it today.

    They combined Azeri Turks, Persian-speakers, Lurs, Kurds and of course Arabs under the banner of Ahlul Bayt (as).

    Lest we forget that the architect and planner of “Isfahan Nesf-e Jahan” was an Arab- Shaykh Bahai’ whose father emigrated from what is today Lebanon.

    The term “Bakhtiari” originates at the time of Shah Abbas who used the Greater Lur tribes to fight the Qizilbash- the original Safavi army made up of various “Turks” and “Tajiks” (meaning Persian speakers). These Lurs became the basis for the later Zand rule.

    The Safavis used Shia Islam as the glue that bound together various ethnic and linguistic groups until today.

    It has been a resounding success.

    Cyrus and Darius did not inspire us- Persians, Lurs, Turks, Arabs and even Jews and Christians- to fight at the time of the war. Imam Hussein (as) and his blessed companions did. That includes the Sunnis, Jews and Christians that fought and were martyred- may God bless their souls.

    After the Safavis and the nightmare of Nader’s rule, let us not forget that Karim Khan’s main political strategy was saying he will rule based on the example of Imam Ali (as) versus the “disaster” of Nader the Butcher that preceded.

    May God bless Karim Khan’s soul, the only “king” whose name was not removed from public places after the revolution.

    The Qajar who were a disaster also but less than Nader, at least made an effort to maintain the appearance of devotion the school of Ahlul Bayt because they knew to do otherwise would mean their end. Among them at least Prince Abbas Mirza and Amir Kabir made some good efforts.

    The bottom line is that it is only because of the devotion of the various ethnic and linguistic groups on and around the Iranian plateau towards the Ahlul Bayt (as) that we have a measure of dignity- in the past and today- in this world and the next. No other factor is significant.

    This is versus the state of various other peoples with “ancient civilizations” of which there are a dime a dozen in the region (Greeks, Turks, Syrians, Egyptians, Ethiopians, norther India etc.).

    And of course the Ahlul Bayt (as) themselves have said so much in various revayat concerning Fars and Khorasan.

    God gave what is today Iranzamin to the Ahlul Bayt (as) and the lease ends on the Day of Judgement.

    Condolences on the martyrdom anniversary of our mother, Hazrat Zahra (sa).

  47. Don Bacon says:

    Smith says:
    April 11, 2013 at 9:40 pm
    “It is a religious war. US has declared a war on Islam.”

    Hurriyet, Apr 12
    Turkish president warns of Holocaust if intolerance continues

    Racism and a lack of tolerance of different cultures and lifestyles are some of the chronic diseases in Western societies, says Turkish President Gül.

    European countries will face new humanitarian tragedies leading to mass killings of people if they continue in their failure to embrace tolerance toward different cultures and religions, President Abdullah Gül has warned.

    “Islam and migrants have been a reality in Europe for centuries. As long as the continent of Europe doesn’t approach segments which are different from the majority with tolerance, particularly in regards to religion, an occurrence of new inquisitions and Holocausts, as well as incidents evoking Srebrenica, are probable,” Gül said yesterday.

    His strongly worded remarks came as he delivered a keynote speech at the opening of a two-day international symposium on “Migration, Islam and Multiculturality in Europe” arranged by Hacettepe University’s Migration and Politics Research Center.

    Racism and a lack of tolerance of different cultures and lifestyles are some of the chronic diseases in Western societies, Gül said, drawing attention to the increase in support for political parties which portray migrants as the main reason for societal problems in European countries such as safety, unemployment, crime and poverty.

  48. imho says:

    Smith says:
    April 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Smith says:
    April 11, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Your judgment lacks some fairness although you raise some important aspect nobody would counter (because everybody knows).

    I’m maybe among people who don’t realize what a military is but in the Shah’s time, few would say that Iraqi military has always had the upper hand. If Iranian military was mainly dependent on US, the Iraqi one depended on Soviets. I don’t have real number of tanks, armored vehicles and so on at that time but I remember Iranian army was said to be one of the strongest in the middle east without real objections from friends or enemies, unless they were all propaganda that even Soviets and Iraqis believed! At a point that US military presence in the region was at a minimum because Iran was saying to be policing the region.

    Comparing the Shah’s army with Israel of that time is imo more fair than comparing it to the KSA one. Iranian soldiers were also fighting in Yemen at the time so they were not without any battle experience. I wonder what was exactly the Iraqi experience and if they did have any military industrial base. With all the experience they had gained in Iran-Iraq war, Saddam army didn’t really fight against Americans and talking about military vision he had none. I’d like someone to explain me his move in surrendering all those Soviet-built fighter jets to his ancient enemy.

    I agree that IRI did a good job in creating an indigenous military industry but first they did it out of necessity because few countries (compared to Iraq) sold them weapons, and second IRI were happy to buy weapons if they could, be it from US (Iran-Contra), Israel or anyone willing to sell them.

    Today, even the countries able to build and sell weapons don’t hesitate to buy some more advanced ones if they can, with numerous examples one of which being the IRI. I’m not only thinking about S-300 but if they could buy American jets from somewhere, they would do it. No ideological things here.

    All in all I’m no military expert and my goal in my first post wasn’t to discuss military strategies but social and religious progress and governance system. I recognize the IRI achievements in creating a military industry and in having a good tactical and strategical vision mainly based on independence from other powers (until some bearable levels) but I can also see what they did that was wrong with the Iranian army which they themselves recognize a posteriori as some pilots that were busy shining their uniforms came back to fight against Iraqis in their US made F14. It is one thing to measure how an army resists to its decapitation and another thing to insinuate it must also bear the responsibility of it. After all revolutions, there have been errors and abuses. There is no shame to recognize it.

  49. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Lately I see armchair generals here view the ominous news of the scariest of the scary weapons deployment to Persian Gulf – the laser weapon that can shoot down UAVs and fast moving boats – as US’ readiness for war.
    Of course these scary weapons can shoot anything that moves above water (yet to be proven – prototypes), but they are mounted on a ship, and therein lies the problem: can they detect 200 MPH torpedo?
    I think not. Any ship deployed to PG is a sitting duck. It’s like shooting fish in barrel/kettle/bathtub called Persian Gulf.
    Yes, please keep underestimating Iran’s capabilities. It is why admirals (Fallon) would rather resign their post than attack Iran.

    Unrelated but interesting:

  50. Ataune says:


    No doubt “Shahnameh” is a masterpiece and had a central role in keeping alive the Farsi language but it is not correct to claim that “it is all about” the concepts of nation-state and nationalism. Ferdowsi was a uniquely talented story teller, he obviously had the temerity, and one would say the luck, to go, search, find and tell the stories, some mythical others historical, of the kings and families ruling the land before the advent of the Islamic time. But it was not his intention to conceptualize a political construct, i.e. a nation-state, which he couldn’t have imagined even slightly, since it didn’t exist before him, nor wouldn’t be there long after him. It is maybe more accurate to say, as he mentions it himself too, that he was aiming at several things: preserving the Farsi language, his own fame and immortality, and beyond all offering the sovereigns of the land, existing and to come, words of advice and wisdom on how to rule.

  51. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    “Why would “the West” want a “ruined Syria”?”

    Are you suggesting Hague wants to bring sharia law to London???

    “Hague Happy to Fund Sharia Law in Syria, Now See How You Like It….”

  52. Smith says:

    Don Bacon says:
    April 12, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Turkish regime is in a coalition in the war against Islam.

    Like any other war, this war too has its own share of traitors. Turkish regime and wahabis are both among those traitors. As is Saudis. His statement is meaningless. It is better he stops supporting the Salafi terrorists in Syria.

  53. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    April 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    They do have their own intels but not as extensive as Americans, Chinese and Russians. Even Iranians might know more about North Korea than Japanese. You have to realize that these two nations do not have truly independent states. They are still under occupation.

    From their point of view the reason for Japanese and South Korean’s behavior has to do with them wanting to regain their sovereignty back from Americans. Next year, South Korea is to negotiate its nuclear treaty with US which is about to be expired. South Koreans want the Americans letting them have uranium enrichment and reprocessing capability something South Koreans are not allowed to under their current treaty with Americans.

    Japanese likewise understand that they live in a neighborhood, which despise them for right or wrong reasons. They would not mind to regain their old imperial powers even if they be less glorious than the past. The kingdom of Japan might aspire to become a nuclear weapons state if the conditions are right.

    Both these nations can use North Korea to become free and immensely powerful but Japan even more so. There are already talks in both these nations over acquiring nuclear weapons. Let’s see how US responds.

  54. Smith says:

    neo says:
    April 12, 2013 at 3:12 am

    You are a clueless secular (with Cyrus mythology tinge) leftist Shah sympathizer. I have nothing to say to you that you are capable of understanding it.

  55. James Canning says:


    Do you think the desire on the part of “the West” is for Syria to be “ruined”?

    I am confident William Hague is not trying to bring sharia law into effect in Britain.

    Civil war in Syria is regrettable, in my view. And, I am confident, in Hague’s view too.

  56. James Canning says:


    How does a country declare war on “Islam”? What religion took the hardest hit due to the US invasion of Iraq? Christianity. Was the invasion of Iraq part of this US “war on Islam”?

  57. Smith says:

    imho says:
    April 12, 2013 at 9:22 am

    You profess in your above post to me that you do not know about military matters and then you go on and form strong judgement on military matters. I see a logical fallacy there which fundamentally destroys the argument you are putting forth. If you do not know about military matters then it is better not to opine on them.

    At the time of the Shah, US had a vested interest to show Shah as a dominant power in the region, that he was certainly not. Today they are trying to give this role to Saudis (weapons sale, saudi proxy formations, coalitions around saudi state, etc etc). But the reality remains that during Shah’s time, several of Iran’s neighbors were much more powerful than Iran eg. Soviet Union, Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq.

    Counter insurgency operations like the one carried by Iran in Oman are not wars and as such are meaningless. Besides all these operations had been done with British officers running the theater of war and not Iranian Generals. Much like Saudis hitting Bahrainis and Yemenis today.

    Comparing Iran to Israel? You are really funny.

    At that time, US presence in the region was low because short of some disagreements with Iraq, US had no reason to be there as all the nations in the Persian Gulf were US colonies. Even today if IRI ceases to exist, US will not have any reason to be there. They can just control their minions over the phone from Washington DC.

    With regard to why Saddam did not fight Americans: It is one thing to fight for your masters and completely another to fight against them. And the reason for Iraqi jets flying into Iran was because, they had no where else to do. All the neighbors of Iraq had turned against it with Iran being neutral. Saddam’s family (wife, daughters and all) had taken shelter in Mashhad during that war. You certainly do not know about Arab culture and way of thinking. In oral Arab tribal military rules and traditions, enemies are not forever. Rival tribes make coalitions over night and fight a more despised tribe. Saddam thought of Iran as another “tribe”. He was wrong. Iran had moved on from tribalism since the time of Safavis.

    Iranian revolution is perhaps the kindest one the world has seen. Compare the Iranian revolution to revolutions in Russia, China, France etc etc. Then you would know the meaning of real mistakes. Yes, I agree that there has been some “mistakes”. For example the import mafia with its obnoxiously close political links. For example the cancelling of Iran’s nuclear program by the Iranian atomic energy agency director who was appointed after the revolution (he had famously said: A country that has oil, does not need nuclear technology!).

    Or for that matter, the attempts by some revolutionaries to sell Iranian military equipment for scrap since as in their Utopian ideological fever of the time, Iran was not at war with any county so it did not need to have any military equipment as these were seen against “peace” (these were mostly leftist peace activists). Some of these peace activists had suggested to melt the military equipment to make iron bars for construction of houses for poor. But I would not call these “mistakes” in your context for the word. These were the birth pangs of a new nation.

    The Utopia and its visions were necessary for people to come out of slave mentality of being a minion of secular western imperialistic interests. Soon all these were replaced with realism, though not because of a conscious effort of Iranians or their leaders, but because of constant, untiring and miraculous divine help guiding the people. Without God and his numerous interventions to keep Iran safe, Iran would not be.

  58. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Stupidity on the part of the Bush administration, on a epic scale, created the catastrophe in Iraq. But this catastrophe was not what was intended.

    Financcial Times leader today in effect calls for Israel to get out of the West Bank and accept the 2002 Saudi peace plan. And for Obama to press Israel to do this.

  59. Smith says:

    Racial Maddow vs. the Islamic Republic of Iran:

    Iran helping Iraqis with electricity generation:

  60. nico says:

    Truly perceptive article it summs it all. I agree 100% with the laser eye analysis.
    It is the most convincing piece of geopolicy and metapolitic I ever had to read.
    And it is right in line with what I am advocating.
    (Sorry for the long exerpt but I I believe it is worth reading. Full text with the link.)

    “Americans like to think of their country as first in the world for freedom, humanitarian principles, technology and economic prowess. The truth is more brutal and prosaic. The US is first in the world for war-mongering and raining death and destruction down on others.

    If the US is not perpetrating war directly, as in the genocide of Vietnam, then it is waging violence through surrogates, such as past South American dictatorships and death squads or its Middle Eastern proxy military machine, Israel.

    That bellicose tendency seems to have accelerated since the demise of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago. No sooner had the Soviet Union imploded than the US led the First Persian Gulf War on Iraq in 1991. That was then swiftly followed by a bloody intervention in Somalia under the deceptively charming title Operation Restore Hope.

    Since then we have seen the US become embroiled in more and more wars – sometimes under the guise of “coalitions of the willing”, the United Nations or NATO. A variety of pretexts have also been invoked: war on drugs, war on terror, Axis of Evil, responsibility to protect, the world’s policeman, upholding global peace and security, preventing weapons of mass destruction. But always, these wars are Washington-led affairs. And always the pretexts are mere pretty window-dressing for Washington’s brutish strategic interests.

    Now it seems we have reached a phase of history where the world is witnessing a state of permanent war prosecuted by the US and its underlings: Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq (again), Libya, Pakistan, Somalia (again), Mali and Syria, to mention a few. These theaters of criminal US military operations join a list of ongoing covert wars against Palestine, Cuba, Iran and North Korea.

    The question is: why has the US such an inordinate propensity for war? The answer is: power. The global capitalist economy mandates a fatal power struggle for the control of natural resources. To maintain its unique historic position of commanding capitalist profits and privilege, the US corporate elite – the executive of the world capitalist system – must have hegemony over the world’s natural resources.

    The cold logic of this propensity was articulated clearly by US state planner George F Kennan in 1948: “We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”
    In other words, Kennan was candidly admitting what US political leaders often dissimulate with fake rhetoric; that the US ruling elite has no interest in defending democracy, human rights or international law. The purpose is control of economic power, in accord with capitalist laws of motion.

    Kennan, who was one of the main architects of US foreign policy in the post-Second World War era, also noted with candidness and prescience:
    “Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”
    Thus we see how after the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union collapsed the US has been flailing to contrive a replacement “enemy” and pretext for its essential militarism. The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent “war on terror” has fulfilled this purpose to a degree, even though it is replete with contradictions that belie its fraudulence, such as the support given to Al Qaeda terrorist elements currently to overthrow the government of Syria.

    The present threat of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula is not really about North Korea or the US-backed South Korean state. As in 1945, Korea was the site of the US flexing its military muscle towards its perceived main global rivals – Russia and China. As the SecondWorld War drew to a close, the advances made by Communist Russia and China in the Pacific against imperialist Japan were a cause for deep concern in Washington with its eyes on the post-war global carve-up.

    That is why the US took the unprecedented step of dropping atomic bombs on Japan. It was the most far-reaching demonstration of raw power by the US to its rivals. Russian and Chinese advances on the Korean Peninsula against the Japanese, which were welcomed by the Korean population, were halted dead in their tracks by the twin nuclear holocausts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The partition of Korea in 1945 at the behest of Washington was also part of the post-war demarcation for global influence and staking out control of resources. The American-instigated Korean War (1950-53) and the subsequent decades of tensions between the North and South states afforded Washington a permanent military presence in the Pacific.

    Rhetoric about “defending our allies” reiterated again this week by US defense secretary Chuck Hagel is but a cynical chimera for the real purpose and rationale for Washington’s presence in Korea – strategic control of Russia and China for hegemony over natural resources, markets, transport, logistics, and ultimately capitalist profit.

    Tragically, North and South Korea are still caught in the cross-hairs of Washington’s geopolitical war with Russia and China. That is what makes the present tensions on the Peninsula so dangerous. The US could gamble that a devastating strike on North Korea is the best way at this historical juncture for it to send another brutal message to its global rivals. Unfortunately, North Korea’s nuclear capability and truculent attitude – amplified by the Western mainstream media – could serve as a superficial political cover for Washington to again take the military option.

    Iran, however, presents a greater and more problematic challenge to US global hegemony. The US in 2013 is a very different animal from what it was in 1945. Now it resembles more a lumbering giant. Gone is its former economic prowess and its arteries are sclerotic with itsinternal social decay and malaise. Crucially, too, the lumbering American giant has quandered any moral strength it may have had in the eyes of the world. Its veil of morality and democratic principle may have appeared credible in 1945, but that cover has been torn asunder by the countless wars and nefarious intrigues over the ensuing decades to reveal a pathological warmonger.”

  61. nico says:

    It is right in line with the Marxist definition of capitalism and materialism being the source of imperialism.

    What is truly sad today in the western world is that there is no more great secular (and for that matter religious) humanist thinkers.

    The western civilization is in a state of necrosis and denial :

    The materialistic paradigm (whether being capitalism or communism. Which are truly the two faces of the materialistic coin) driving it having somehow reached the apex of the cycle and whatever would be done, there is no way the shining past past could be returned.
    The environment definetly changed and the present era is not the same as yesterday.

    The west is ill prepared to face such change, with no intellectual or conceptual alternate framework in their thinking, and refuse to accept the future.

  62. Don Bacon says:

    Victor Davis Hanson, a self-styled “classicist” academic, has written and published a new polemic which just might get him another presidential Medal of Freedom like the one he got from George Bush.

    Hanson has done what many might find difficult if not impossible. He has yaken the concocted scary Korea “crisis,” stirred in most of the Israeli false propaganda on Iran, and come up with Scary Iran 2.0! It’s a classic, in one sense. Classic rubbish! Hanson is so buried in the classics that he doesn’t know that Ahmadinejad will soon be gone!

    Iran’s North Korean Future
    A Tehran armed with nukes can play Pyongyang’s game — but with no Beijing to keep it in check.
    By Victor Davis Hanson

    The present crisis with North Korea offers us a glimpse of what, and what not, to expect should Iran get the bomb. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would gain the attention currently being paid to Kim Jong Un — attention not otherwise earned by his nation’s economy or cultural influence.

    We should assume that the Iranian theocracy, like the seven-decade-long Kim dynasty in North Korea, would periodically sound lunatic: threatening its neighbors and promising a firestorm in the region — if not eventually in the United States and Europe as well.

    If North Korea has been a danger, then a bigger, richer, and undeterred nuclear Iran would be a nightmare.

  63. fyi says:

    nico says:
    April 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    “The western civilization is in a state of necrosis and denial…”

    You cannot be serious.

    Everytime Sultan Mahmoud’s treasury was empty, it was time for Jihad against poor Hinuds; robbing their temples, destroying their families, and distributing their women among his soldiers.

    [I think there was one of his courtiers that was given the title “Amir Tooman” – the leader of a thousand – since he had obtained 1000 war-booty females in India.]

    And the slaving Qadi state – the Ottomans – just like the Romans before thm – had to keep expanding their wars for slaves and land until they were met by a superior force. And just as Romans, once they were stopposed by Germans, they started decaying and shrinking.

    I wonder what Hindus thought about Islam or “Muslim Civilization”.

  64. fyi says:

    Smith says:
    April 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    The late Mr. Khomeini actually said as much: “I am not doing these things, these are all God’s doings…”

  65. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    April 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    A country declares war againstIslam by consistently and over 3 generations opposing a core Muslim interest.

    The Pax Americana – jus imperium americana – created a new country for Jews in the Middle East.

    This project has been opposed, first by Palestinan Arabs, and now by every Muslim country in the world except former USSR posession and the theree rented Muslim states of Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey.

    Without Israel there would not have been a 9/11/2001 attack on the United States.

    Just as without slavery there would not have been a civil war in the United States.

    The United States and her allies have been pursuing, vigorously and actively, wars of one form or another in Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Paksitan, Mali, Yemen, Lebanon, Sudan and Somalia.

    Given that all these states are predicated on Islam and that Islam recognizes no distinction between Political & Religious, and given the fact that those who oppose US & her allies are opposing her on basis of Islam, it is going to be pretty difficult to maintain that the American Block (a.k.a. the Axis Powers) is not at war with Islam – or a big part of it.

    This is a fool’s errand since as it continues, it sucks in more Muslims and their countries into religious opposition to the United States and the rest of her allies in the name of Islam.

  66. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    April 12, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    How apt and modest.

  67. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    April 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Iran today is the only Muslim civilization. The rest of Muslims are “in a state of necrosis and denial”.

  68. fyi says:

    Neo says:
    April 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

    The Shahnameh – the Kingly Book – was a common heritage of the educated and urbane people of Iran, India, Central Asia, and Anatolia; just like Homer’s epics were known – both in Ancient Greek and in Latin – to educated and urbane members of the Roman Empire.

    The Safavids gave money to itinerant story-tellers to recite Shanameh and thus revived the name of Iran.

    The Afghan Kings, never did that, although Elburz( Alborz) Peak of Arash, Kabul, Namangan and other such place names from Shahnameh arein that country.

    So, like the United States that has pirate the name of a continent, contemporary Iran has pirated the name of an ancient concept.

  69. fyi says:

    Smith says:
    April 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I think Tribes and Tribalism, as a social force, died in Iran under the late Muhammad Reza Shah.

  70. nico says:


    Why do you compare the muslims and the hindus with the western civilization ?
    There is nothing to compare, each has its merit.
    I compare western situation with western standard not with other civilizations.

    I know for long that you admire the liberal system and the materialistic world.
    Good for you to fancy about comparing the superiority of one against the other.
    However, somehow, it is the same mindset as the neocons or other superiority thinkers, and lacks some spiritual or secular humanism.

    What I argue is that with the victory of the capitalist liberal democracy over the other 2 main alternate western ideologies in recent history, namely communism and fascism, the western civilization needed to surpass itself.
    Fukuyama’s End of Hisyory is a try to provide an answer to such dilemma.
    My take is that the unchallenged ideology in western world is deleterious as it bring a 1984 like dictatorship.
    There is no room in the maintream debate for alternate thinking and I again assert that it brings necrosis.

    As all unchallenged power, it is experiencing “degeneration” or corruption as yourself tell time and again.
    If the system does not get better (and it can not whithout being challenged) then it can only get worse.
    And unfortunetaly there is no new alternate ways offered by western thinkers.

    That is the issue.

  71. Kooshy says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    April 12, 2013 at 8:27 am


    With due respect the statue of Nader Shah is the only statue of any post Islam king still erected and standing in Iran.
    I wonder if majority of Iranians thought of him like you do he would be still standing there next to holiest site in Iran, or if anybody in Iran can have the balls to pull it down?

  72. James Canning says:


    A very peculiar “war on Islam”, by the US. Idiotic destruction of the Christian communities of Iraq. This was intentional part of a “war on Islam”?

    Was the vicious civil war in Algeria part of this “war on Islam”? Is the civil war in Syria part of it?

    I agree, of course, that foolish American “support” for Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, and Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, did a great deal to bring on the “9/11” attacks.

  73. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Yeah, you can say that. But I think Safavis by founding a solid religio-national identity separate from all tribes and religions inside and outside of Iran, basically had laid that to rest. Though MRS did alot to promote a unified nation which is a controversial matter now.

  74. James Canning says:


    The US asked the Soviet Union to attack Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea. At the time, Truman did not see that the war would soon end due to dropping two atomic bombs on Japan in early August 1945.

  75. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Iran accused in far-reaching plot to evade international oil sanctions

  76. nico says:

    Smith says:
    April 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Maybe, but the Arab nations have been helped by the west in that.
    This is, not only, but also the result of external manipulations and influences.
    All MENA borders are the results of the past few centuries colonialism by the imperialist powers.

    You surely know something about it with the Iran-Russia conflicts in the 19th century.
    And the western intervention in Iran to depose a secular government in 1953 is not an isolate event.

    All secular regimes, and the more or less representative regime of arabian real interest, were undemined by the west.
    Recently in Syria and Lybia, in Egypt with Nasser few decades ago.

    However I agree with you that Iran is striving to build a truly autonomous and specific way of governance bent toward progress.
    It is not perfect yet, however it is not brought by external powers as would like fyi who is not satisfied by the level of liberty in Iran.
    Well nothing serious come in one day and the arab nations where maybe lmore fragile than Iran and more to external influence.

    That does not mean that arab should not make their own critic, but your position lack of nuance.

    Like fyi what you admire sheer power, and your remarks against the arabs are near racism.

  77. fy says:

    James Canning says:
    April 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Mere collateral damage; the Axis Powers did not expect that.

    The civil war in Algeria started when the military annulled the results of the election that Muslim parties had won.

    EU states supported the Junta to the hilt; yet another case.

  78. fy says:

    nico says:
    April 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    A civilization is akin to a machine; designed based on a collection of meta-physical beliefs and principles.

    And like all man-made machines; they decay and die and a new machine must be constructed.

    The European civilization, that of Hindus as well as Muslims is not free of defects.

    Were the Ottomans conforming to the Revelations of Quran when enslaving Christians?

    Were the Iranians teaching Islam to the inhabitants of Delhi when Nader Shah ordered them massacred?

    “Hypocrite, and why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye, and not notice the beam which is in your own eye?” as Jesus had stated.

    Men cannot live in perfection since they

  79. Nasser says:

    “Mere collateral damage; the Axis Powers did not expect that.”

    Not that they care. Like you said, as far as the Middle East is concerned they only care for the Jews. All else are pretty much sub humans. that is exactly why they didn’t care about Saddam gassing the Kurds or encouraging a sure to fail Shia uprising turned massacre. The Arab Sunnis haven’t figured this out yet it seems.

  80. fy says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    April 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Yes, it was a good joke.

  81. Smith says:

    Shortage of petroleum products may force a blackout in the country and spark widespread protests:

  82. M. Ali says:

    So I come to work this morning and do a google news search on Iran and realize that the west has something new to ridicule Iran. Time Machines.

    Do a google search with “iran time machine” and see how many results pop up. The media in the west watches reads every single news article printed in Iran, listens to every news programme, and watches every interview ever broadcast on state tv and then grabs ANYTHING they can find to mock Iran with. Its like our country is responsible for the actions of every single person that is Iranian. A random American making a random claim in USA would not be attributed to the whole nation, but in Iran, a random person making a silly claim becomes the official voice of all of Iran.

    Such news events might seem harmless, but all these play hand in hand, with anti-Iranian movies, to create an anti-Iranian narrative. Everyone plays a part.

  83. Neo says:

    Ataune says: April 12, 2013 at 10:20 am


    What is the definition of a ‘nation state’? Western academia routinely claims ‘firsts’ for the West in almost every branch of science. This is yet another. If you look at the actual definition of the term without any cultural bias, it relates to a defined territory, with some unifying or common cultural and political characteristics. Essentially, the concept brings the idea of a ‘nation’ and that of a ‘state’ together.

    The Shahnameh was precisely such a project. It is far more than a work of poetry. It was a part of a political movement that was larger than Ferdowsi himself, and sought to repel foreign rule over Iranian territory, language and culture. Its project to revive ‘Persian’ was as much a political project as it was a cultural one.

    Most objections to this view come not from a coherent application or critique of the concept of the nation state. Rather, they are based on technological issues, and at the same time are expressed in terms that fall weakly back on the idea of what is ‘modern’ and what is not.

    There couldn’t be a ‘modern’ map of Iran then because cartography was less advanced. Yet the Shahnameh expressly mentions the border areas of Iran. They talk about ‘modern’ media (printing press), but Iran had a vibrant and commonly shared tradition of oral media that served the purpose of creating commonalities in culture. Some even bring in the idea that ‘capitalism’ is a necessary element in defining the ‘modern’ nation state. However, just like the ‘nation state’, capitalism too didn’t emanate from the West. It was falsely claimed to have come from the West. Iran and India, for example, had capitalist relations a long time ago.

    Such definitions and taxonomies help ‘academics’ claim to have clarified the world we live in, and politicians to devise ‘policies’ that serve their own better. But they are hardly convincing, and ultimately fail the test.

    Going back to an earlier comment you made: I mentioned the ‘depth’ of Iranian nationalism, not its ‘intensity’ or ‘fervor’. It is true that Iranians have great religious fervor, but this is a different matter. In my view, Iranian nationalism has subsumed religion, especially because of the revolution. Shia Islam has always been entwined with Iranian nationalism, and even more so since the revolution. In the long run, this damages the spiritual content and religion and turns it more into a purely political project. This, I believe, is the reason for the major objection that the ‘quietist school’ (e.g. Montazeri’s followers) in Qom have had to the ‘Supreme Leader’ idea. To them, this hurts spirituality and religion itself in the long run. I fully agree with them. Nationalism continues to defeat religion, and will kill it in the end.

  84. Neo says:

    Smith says: April 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    @Our resident, ‘religious’ nuclear bomb-cartoonist, an apt quote for you:

    “The nuclear bomb is the most anti-democratic, anti-national, anti-human, outright evil thing that man has ever made.

    If you are religious, then remember that this bomb is Man’s challenge to God. It’s worded quite simply: We have the power to destroy everything that You have created.

    If you’re not religious, then look at it this way. This world of ours is four thousand, six hundred million years old. It could end in an afternoon.”

    By Arundhati Roy

  85. nico says:


    The fallen state of man is an easy escape and excuse.
    It could be argued for every and each deed.
    You could as well defend all the worst crime with such void sentence.

    The man is not perfect, true.
    However they aspire to improve.
    Otherwise you could as well deny the word of the profets and tell it is all nonsense.
    Is that your position ?
    Well, that is maybe the problem of the materialistic western civilization.

  86. nico says:

    Good demonstration of the post USSR orwellian US led world order.

  87. Sineva says:

    Nasser says:
    April 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm
    I agree

  88. Neo says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: April 12, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Bussed-in-e aziz,

    Iran as it is conceived today did not exist ever before, even before the revolution. All countries change over time. Why claim false historic epochs over an ever evolving trend?

    The point about “Iranzamin” is that it mentions “zamin” and is by definition a project to define the state and its territory against others. It is not talking about ‘culture’ or ‘religion’ or ‘language’, but about ‘zamin’ – the Land. So this is clearly a State by any definition. And it is the first of its kind in history, as far as I am aware.

    I agree that at a certain level there is “no such thing as Iranian identity”, and would add: even with “Ahlul Bayt”. National identities are myths, again, by definition. Adding the Ahlul Bayt is just another myth on top of others. The point is whether it works in the political sphere. And as you can clearly see, it does with Ferdowsi.

    I don’t quite understand why you say “…for the Sunnis, Jews, Armenians, Assyrians and secularists who live currently in Iran”. They are Iranians who are Jews, Armenians etc, and have always been a part as much as other faiths.

    That many Iranians ‘have used the Alavi version of Islam to distinguish themselves from the Arabs’ clearly demonstrates the hold of nationalism over religion. However, this has Not been the case since the ‘advent of Islam’.

    Omar Khayyam’s first name and fame, and the fact that the first non-Sunni dynasty ruling Iran were the Safavids clearly shows that the majority of Iranian muslims were Sunnis right till the 16th century, and perhaps till the 18th century when the Safavid rule and their Shia conversion project ended.

    They certainly had a big role in shaping an Iranian identity, but to claim that they ‘invented’ it in the face of predecessors like Ferdowsi (who was also a Shia) is unconvincing. After all, where is the Safavid equivalent to the Shahnameh? What did they leave behind other than a multi-ethnic political structure that was the hallmark of Iranian dynasties since the beginning? And in the Iranian context, what choice did they have other than a multi-ethnic approach?

    Your claims that Cyrus and Darius did not inspire us to fight at the time of war negates history itself. Iranian defeats came during the rule of Darius III (200 years later than Cyrus), and onwards. Iranian defeats also came some 100 years after the Safavids. Iran is only just recovering from these, and tenuously so.

    Ahlul Bayt hardly seems relevant when you compare the various periods.

    It is certainly the case that the Shah’s regime manipulated history to bolster a certain ideology. But the same is true of the Islamic Republic. We don’t have to swallow either mythology.

    Thanks for the condolences. A bit wasted on me, aziz, but the sentiment is appreciated.

  89. Neo says:

    fyi says: April 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    “The Safavids gave money to itinerant story-tellers to recite Shanameh and thus revived the name of Iran.”

    Sharp operators they were, especially considering that they were Turkish speaking.

  90. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm
    The degree of western self delusion evident in articles like this would almost be funny if it were not so depressing

  91. fy says:

    nico says:
    April 13, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Men cannot improve their lot beyond a certain limit.

    Every attempt at Perfection leads to other undesirable side-effects.

    Only God could get mankind out of this by his Grace.

    But he has not.

    So men will suffer and will die until the Day of God’s Judgment.

  92. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    The fact that the majority of Iranians don’t know or don’t care about the massacres conducted by Nader the Butcher doesn’t change the fact that it happened.

    How would Iranians feel if the Iraqis were to construct a Saddam theme-park in Tikrit or the Macedonians one for Alexander or as the Mongols have done one for Genghis?

    This is how the Indians feel about that abomination in the city of Imam Reza (as).

    Remember that Nader’s theme-park in Mashhad was constructed during the Pahlavi era who had a very similar agenda, namely decreasing and eventually ending the Shia element in Iranian identity. Bebin che badbakht boodan that they had to resort to glorifying an animal like Nader in order to grasp for some “glory” of some king. It’s more than sad, it’s revolting.

    Let me add that I and many others have the balls and would be more than happy to burn the whole crap down if necessary but I have a better suggestion:

    Let’s turn it into an educational museum about the crimes committed by Nader the Butcher- who know just to name some highlights:

    -the killing and eye-gauging of his own sons (just saying it makes me sick and I’m guessing anyone who has children).

    -the plundering of Isfahan after he reconquered it from the Afghans. Funny how in Iran they always mention the part about freeing Isfahan from the Afghans- in fact that’s his claim to fame- but never the part about how he proceeded to plunder it right afterwards.

    -the episode where he had delusions of being the khalif declared the Jafari school the fifth school of Sunnism and then had his ass duly handed to him by the Ottomans.

    -the killing, pillaging and massacres in northern India- which most historians say paved the way for British and French colonialism and imperialism in the sub-continent.

    -And let’s not forget his pathetic death at the hands of his own guards whom he had threatened with execution and who decided to end the whole matter while he slept.

    All-in-all a dirty beast rarely seen in human history.

    The relevant question kooshy-jan is what would possess a cultured, civilized peoples such as the Iranians (by that I mean all the ethnic groups in Iran) to glorify such a hayvan?

    Think about how sick the society, culture and yes civilization has to be to seek glory with such an a-hole.

    Just think about how sick the Pahlavis were- I mean sick internally- to build a monument to this turd.

    Now compare that to all the rulers and governing systems that emphasized school of Ahlul Bayt- Ale Buye, early Safavi, Karim Khan, Islamic Republic. Clearly the mentioned have been more “glorious” than Nader and the illiterates who built monuments to him.

  93. James Canning says:


    Are you arguing that “the West” or “Axis Powers” should have supported the insurrection in Algeria?

  94. James Canning says:


    I can assume you know that Britain opposed Russian annexation of more provinces of the Persian Empire, and in fact did its best to keep Russia from annexing some that were taken. During the 19th century.

    After the First World War, Persia would have liked to annex Georgia, or at least gain control of Batum, but did not have the means to achieve this.

  95. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Neo-jan wrote:

    “Going back to an earlier comment you made: I mentioned the ‘depth’ of Iranian nationalism, not its ‘intensity’ or ‘fervor’. It is true that Iranians have great religious fervor, but this is a different matter. In my view, Iranian nationalism has subsumed religion, especially because of the revolution. Shia Islam has always been entwined with Iranian nationalism, and even more so since the revolution. In the long run, this damages the spiritual content and religion and turns it more into a purely political project. This, I believe, is the reason for the major objection that the ‘quietist school’ (e.g. Montazeri’s followers) in Qom have had to the ‘Supreme Leader’ idea. To them, this hurts spirituality and religion itself in the long run. I fully agree with them. Nationalism continues to defeat religion, and will kill it in the end.”

    Ah where to begin azizam…

    First I think you are aware that Aghaye Montazeri (r) wrote the book on Velayate Faqih- AFTER the revolution- in much more detail and using way more arguments in favor of VF than Imam (r) ever did. I hope you know that.

    The difference was that in addition to the revayat used by Imam (r) to prove VF directly and without the need for intermediary steps, Aghaye Montazeri spends reams on proving VF indirectly by way of elections- using mainly Sunni arguments mind you.

    He also spends many many pages giving “aqli” daleel for VF, the only problem is that he seemed to confuse “aqli” with “uqalayi” throughout the whole book- oops!

    You should read it, it’s very interesting and way more “Khomeinist” then Imam (r) ever was. Sorry, just letting you know in case you didn’t know.

    In terms of his “followers”, do you mean his muqaledeen or his “students”?

    I know, grew up with and have spent inordinate amounts of time with his muqaledeen before and after “the fall from grace” and my understanding is that many of them would be enthusiastic supporters of VF if their “Agha” had become Supreme Leader.

    Well he didn’t- for a good reasons namely that he was not a very good politician and strategic thinker and he was easily influenced. Very nice man one-on-one, crappy political leader.

    If you mean students, the only one to claim studentship is Kadivar and he has spent his career disproving his ostad on the very subject his ostad spent the majority of his academic life.

    I know, Kadivar in his book keeps referring to his ostad for his arguments, but his ostad’s own book says the opposite- funny isn’t it.

    Also in the heyday of Kadivar during the Khatami admin and before Kadivar emigrated to his spiritual homeland- North Carolina- Ayat Kazem Hairi spent a sunny afternoon in Qom carefully dissecting each every argument raised by Kadivar until only skin and bones were left.

    Of course Kadivar was invited to debate with Ayat Hairi but like the other coward Soroush he, well, didn’t have the bayzatayn as they say to debate Ayat Hairi.

    So much for his student (can’t really use the plural form here).

    In terms of “In the long run, this damages the spiritual content and religion and turns it more into a purely political project”: well that all depends on your definition of religion doesn’t it?

    I mean this the whole argument between Ali(as) and Omar, Abu Bakr and Muawiya.

    Islam as taught by the Prophet (sawa) and Imam Ali (as) ayne siassate. Just read Sura Tauba- the final Sura revealed, then tell me Islam isn’t political. Read Sura Hadid, read Sura Fath, Sura Fajr, read Sura Muhammad…

    The whole point is that Omar and Abu Bakr were the original secularists and dividers between religion and politics and Ali(as) insisted on the opposite- religion as the basis of legislation, judiciary, executive, military, economic affairs, etc. just read his Letter to Malik Ashtar.

    That Islam is political is clearer than the sun at noon. The problem is that so-called Muslims would claim otherwise. Much better to be straight up anti-religious, atheist, secularists than a Muslim who perverts the deen in the name of some false “purity”. Imam (r) had a term for these types in “Hukumate Eslami”- “khoshk moqaddas” and “akhunde darbari”. Guess which darbar Kadivar is the akhund of…

    My guess is your view is more secularist and thus the religious arguments are not really important to you and my suggestion is just stick to your secularist arguments and forget about Montazeri, Soroush, Kadivar et al.

    In terms of “In my view, Iranian nationalism has subsumed religion, especially because of the revolution” I tried to familiarize you a little with the history of our dear Iran, going way back to the beginning of Islam, the Ummayads, the Abbasids, Ale Buye, Teymouris, Safavids, Nader the Butcher, Karim Khan, Qajar, Pahlavis and the current blessed Islamic Republic- you know nearly 1,500 years- and the only logical conclusion I reach is the exact the opposite of what you say:

    Religion- specifically Twelve Imami Islam- has subsumed Iranian nationalism.

    We agree, don’t we, that many “Iranians” of diverse ethnic background feel connected because of Islam and more specifically because of Shiaism- not because of ethnic, linguistic, racial or tribal affiliatopn. Well isn’t this a clear case of religion subsuming, overriding, dominating, outwitting ethnic, tribal and national identities? I mean this is one the main reasons that Islam was revealed in the first place- to get over tribal, racial and national identities.

    Remember the Pahlavis for 50 years really really tried to kill religion with nationalism and look who won.

    It follows furthermore that contrary to your conclusion: religion will kill nationalism. It already has in many ways in Iran if we examine history- and globally this will happen as well as this is one the main reasons that Islam was revealed in the first place. You know what they say about God winning in the end…

    Do you get it Neo-jan? Mind you I reach this conclusion looking at history of the last 1,400 years which you know is a good historical sample. I suspect your conclusion is “a priori” as they say and not really affected by examining history.

    The reality is that in the 20 century CE, Shia Islam dealt the chauvinistic, racially-tinged secularists Iranian nationalism a la Pahlavi era, the final fatal blow and it’s time we all move on to better and brighter pastures opened up to Iranians because of their devotion to Ahlul Bayt (as).

    Like I told you, Iranzamin az hamoon aval was given by God to the Ahlul Bayt (as) and the lease runs out on the Day of Judgement.

  96. fy says:

    James Canning says:
    April 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I am not arguing.

    I am stating that the Algerian people, in a fair and free elections, chose Islam-centered parties to rule them.

    The Military Junta annulled the results of the free elections.

    Civil war ensued; with EU supporting the Junta to the hilt.

  97. Smith says:

    “Blah, blah, blah ….

    By Arundhati Roy”

    It is really funny about these secular myth pushing people. A novel writer whose sole fame is because of a novel whose promoting theme is communism and incest is lecturing here on God and his visions about strategic defense. Just when I thought it can not sink any lower than this, it just went down a few thousand feet. Carry on.

  98. James Canning says:


    In the piece by James traub you linked, he appears to argue the sanctions are intended to cause Iran to stop enriching uranium to any level, no matter how low.

    Russia and China have made clear their primary concern is Iranian enrichment to 20%.

  99. fy says:

    Nasser says:
    April 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Yes another silly piece from Carnegie Endowment.

    The fact is that Americans destroyed NPT – and now state security among the Non-aligned states is predicated on nuclear weapons.

    The world will have 20 more nuclear-weapons states – probably before 2050.

  100. Neo says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: April 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm


    Nice response. I chose the wrong example with Montazeri, but you know there are those Grand Ayatollahs who are opposed to the Velayat concept, like Saanei and Sistani. There is a strong Shia quietist school, and this cannot be dismissed as a Sunni versus Shia dispute (in fact the Taleban and Salafis are in agreement with you about the political role of religion) or with a reference to Ali and Omar’s time.

    The part of my comment that you do not address is the issue of spirituality versus political religion – if you like: Sufism versus Political Islamism. Political Islam destroys the personal and the moral in religion, and takes it out into the public sphere, thus reducing religion to national or political symbolism – a religion for the public eye and for political and economic ends rather than a religion lived as a personal, spiritual experience. A religion that is turned into nationalism by insisting on public displays like Friday prayers, demonstrations, wearing a beard, limiting the participation of ‘non-muslims’, and forcing hejab on women. It is no longer important whether someone is righteous or honest or humble under political Islam. Rather, their religion is defined by attending mass demonstrations and mosques, public fasting, wearing a tattooed ‘mohr’ print on the forehead, touring Mecca and Karbala repeatedly, voting for the most ‘truly Islamic’ candidate, stopping youngsters from being youngsters in public, banning music and dance, sweeping all signs of ‘unislamic behaviour’ under the carpet, and mobilising underprivileged children to serve the elite’s political purposes as Basijis etc. These are political symbols that are outward signs for belonging to a movement. Regimented, compartmentalised, neatly packaged, off-the-shelf ‘Islam’ serving political and economic ends, at the direct expense of respect for diversity, personal freedom and, i would add, the very essence of religious morality. This is how nationalism is killing religion. Put differently, this is how religion is committing suicide by insisting on being political.

    Now, if your claim is that Islam transcends and overwhelms nationalism (and leaving aside the place of other faiths in all of this – an issue that clearly makes you uncomfortable to discuss), then where is the evidence for this? Are Iranians any closer to Afghans or Palestinians or the Saudis on a religious level today? And the credibility that Iran enjoys on the Arab or Turkish Street: does it come from a religious perspective or a nationalist one? Nationalism is something that can be shared across borders, for example in its anti-imperialist imperative. Isn’t this what gives Iran credibility today? Are Venezuelans keen on Iran because of Islam? Or is it the nationalism and independence of Iranians that they admire and can identify with?

  101. Nasser says:


    Do you comment on other forums? I would please like to ask you some questions on religion, in a more private setting.

  102. Persian Gulf says:


    I think Iranians’ resistance during Iraq-Iran was a blend of religious fervor, nationalism and yes state’s mandate to participate in the war. Undoubtedly, the dominant factor was religion and the defense of Islam articulated in the words of Imam Khomeini and injected passionately to the mass by people like Ahangaran. often the ones doing most of the scarifies were religiously inspired. that was at least the case for people going to the war from my region, including my own family members.

    Nationalism certainly had a big effect. However, I dare say the ones ranting here and there nationalistically would ran away if another war erupts. I remember few years ago a good friend of mine told me, with deep regret, that he washed his hands after shaking hands with an Iranian Jew that was going to the front line. that guy became martyr during that war. May he rest in peace.

    As for the mandatory military service, again I remember visiting a friend in Toronto few years ago. He told me that he fought in the front line for almost 30 months because he had to, not that he believed in the Islamic Republic system. A system that executed his brother in those tumultuous days without convicting him for any crime. a brother he said was not involved in any wrong doing. I think my friend, and to some extent his brother, had some MEK tendency in the past or at least Montazeri version of it (I couldn’t figure that out). apparently he didn’t want to piss me off by revealing much of his past tendencies as he knew my political thinking very well. he was and still is a very religious person anyhow. To me state’s mandate to participate in war is fully justifiable as a state’s security can’t just be taken for granted specially when push comes to shove.

  103. Castellio says:

    Neo asks a pertinent question: “Are Venezuelans keen on Iran because of Islam?”

    No, not for that reason. But not simply “nationalism” either. More like – popular sovereignty – and how that becomes a push back (resistance) against both colonialism and hyper-capitalism.

    Note that the issues of popular sovereignty refer mmediately to issues of the common good and the relationship of that to economic policies, including social ownership (of oilfields, banks, media or currency) and policies of redistribution, public education and public health.

    Thatcher was a nationalist, so is Obama. Neither had or has much use for the concept of public sovereignty. Both are firm supporters of colonialism and hyper-capitalism, guided by a self-serving elite.

    It’s not a dichotomy of nationalism vs religion, it’s a question of whether the elite of a state or the elite of a religion will genuinely support and work for the welfare of the people. When they work together on this, it is a blessed time. Chavez understood this very well, so did, more than 2000 years ago, Confucius

  104. nico says:

    fy says:
    April 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    So what ?

  105. Karl.. says:

    The sunni dictator in Bahrain getting desperate, now label shia Hezbollah a terrorist group. The first state doing so in the arab world.

    Although I wonder why havent EU yet labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization? Not even their armed wing.
    Taken in regard how easy it seems for west to get groups on that list, how come EU havent taken that step?

  106. BiBiJon says:

    Modus vivendi? We already got one!

    Benjamin Alter and Edward Fishman write:

    “Despite the rhetoric of crisis, the impasse over the Iranian nuclear program may have reached a balance — imperfect and fearful, to be sure — but one that will prove resilient.”

    Their conclusion is based on:

    a) “… the Iranian regime [government] believes it has more to gain from preserving the status quo than acquiescing to a deal that would effectively preclude it from ever possessing the ability to quickly build nuclear weapons — a position that in and of itself can deter aggression. Encircled by wealthy Sunni monarchies and U.S. allies, Iran would rather hold on to its partial nuclear deterrent than cave to Western demands. … in the past, economic self-interest has often trumped the international community’s will to maintain sanctions over time. With surging demand for energy in such countries as China and India, multilateral sanctions against oil-rich Iran are more likely to fray than intensify in the years ahead.”

    and, b) “Even a limited strike could pave the way for a larger war, inflame the already unstable Middle East, and unravel the international coalition working to prevent Iran’s nuclearization. The Obama administration has made it abundantly clear that it will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. But so long as Iran refrains from taking clear steps toward that end — such as enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels — Washington will naturally prefer to avoid war.”

    There you have it.

  107. Persian Gulf says:


    Nader Shah is widely seen as a crazy man, somebody in the state of sheer paranoia (at least among my generation). particularly in what he did to his son. His craziness overshadowed his military ingenuity specially his initial success against the Ottoman. next time in Iran we can announce that we want to destroy his statue and nobody would stop us except ,I suspect, the police. his stupidity in blinding the successors as well as his Sunnism insured a civil war after his death and the eventual rise of the damn Qajar dynasty. The rise of Qajar is generally seen as Nader’s craziness. and the dislike of Qajar in Iran does not need any explanation.

  108. James Canning says:


    The EU wants stability in Lebanon, and this object likely would not be avanced by labeling Hezbollah a “terrorist organisation”.

  109. James Canning says:


    China wants North Korea to get rid of its nukes.

    Your belief Iran could build nukes is simply quite mistaken.

  110. James Canning says:


    Lora Saalman argues that China does not seek an “enduring solution” to the problem of North Korea. I think she is dead wrong on this point.

  111. James Canning says:


    Iran would do well not to stockpile too much 20U. You may have noticed Gary Samore has been preaching the line that Iranian enrichment to 3.5% at Natanz is dangerous.

  112. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    April 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I am certain Iran will do whatever it takes to deter aggression. Currently, the best course of action is to increase 20U stocks significantly.

  113. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Again it all depends on your definition of religion. I don’t accept your dichotomy between personal and public religion.

    Religion is both personal and public, both inner and outer. If you look at the Holy Quran and the practice of the Holy Prophet (sawa)- particularly after hejrat- Islam is mainly about building community and establishing a government with all its duties.

    In fact that is the beauty of Islam and why it is superior to other religions- it’s a complete package addressing all needs of humans in this world and the next. UU wrote some nice posts about these things way back.

    Rahbar had a great speech about this a few years ago at Mab’ath were he rejected both views- the one that says Islam is separate from politics and the one that says Islam is only politics. Both are wrong.

    Religion can mobilize the poor and edify the rich, it can educate the intellectuals and teach literacy to the illiterate, it can send the arif to spiritual ecstasy and send the murderer to hell- again it’s a complete package.

    The things you describe as signs of “suicide” I see as signs of a healthy vibrant religion. Many of those with those “public” signs of religion might spend hours in private praying and reflecting on the greatness of the their Lord and or they might spend their hard earned money helping a friend, relative or neighbor in need without anybody knowing. You should try to be careful how you judge others if you are sensitive about others judging you.

    My definition of religion is the following:
    A program for the perfection of humans and humanity, a program to complete our humanity- as individuals, families, communities, nations, Ummah and as humanity as a whole. This and all the logical consequences that flow from this.

    And here I have to add a very important point which is that this HAS TO BE the definition of religion, otherwise there would be no logical point in religion. What kind of God would send a religion that only deals with prayer, dhikr and fasting and not social justice and executing murderers? Religion has to be all-encompassing and holistic or not at all. Think about it. In fact that “religion” of the Sufi vaqat be darde khodesh mikhore. and nothing else- how supremely egoistic is that.

    And yes of course religions has helped Iranians feel closer to Arabs Turks Africans Central and East Asians and they to us versus when we were the superior Aryan race and “akh al-yahud”, when it was in our so-called “national interest” to sell cheap oil to Israel when it was fighting wars against other Muslims. Well turns out it really wasn’t in our national interest.

    And let me add that thank God our political culture has shifted to an Islamic won after the bs racialism of the Pahlavis and the racist culture of that time. For God’s sake some of these pathetic nationalist still talk about their own relatives in terms of who is more light skinned and who is more sabze. Less so among religious folks because other factors are important- as Islam teaches us even if the aql of some didn’t get it at first.

    And yes it would have been better for Iran, Turkey Egypt if instead of the Reza Khan Ataturk and Nasser ruling that moderate Islamist systems had ruled in those years. It would have been better for us for the region and for the world. That sort of nationalism was a dead end for us and only strengthened whoever wanted to control the resources- human and natural- of the region.

    And now I’m gonna tell you something which might really upset you- take a deep breath, get a glass of water and then continue reading.

    When I say the Allah (swt) gave Iranzamin to the Ahlul Bayt (as) I mean that literally, not figuratively.

    When the Sassanids collapsed- and it might be good to look at why they collapsed so quickly- Yazdegerd was killed because of a women (go figure) and his young son Piruz fled to China and became a minor military commander pledging allegiance to the Chinese emperor. So much for “Iranian nationalism”.

    Shahrbanu his sister and daughter of the last Sassanid emperor- married Imam Hussein (as) and they had a blessed son called Ali (as)- Imam Sajjad. You know what, surprise, that makes Imam Sajjad (as) a Sassanid prince through his mother. In fact that makes Imam Sajjad the righful heir of the Sassanid dynasty- you know all legal and for real according to dynastic rules and customs.

    In other words Neo-jan the Ahlul Bayt in the line of Imam Sajjad are the legal and rightful inheritors of the Sassanid throne and the lands that it encompassed.

    If one were to claim the right to rule Iran based on pre-Islamic dynastic succession then this would be the right of Sayyeds descendants from Imam Sajjad (as).

    And you know the really funny thing is that Ayat. Khamenei is just such a Sayyid descended from Imam Sajjad (as). I mean, talk about the irony…

    The dynastic politics of Imam Ali (as) wow mashallah- marrying Imam Hussein (as) to Shahrbanu- yani harf nadare- the Habsburgs could learn a few lessons. Victoria, Maria Theresa, Elisabeth I, Catherine the Great- peanuts compared to this dynastic move.

    In fact Imam Sajjad (as) in his blessed and holy person united the ruling “crown” of the Arabs with the ruling crown of “Iranshahr”. That’s just awesome, isn’t it? That would make anyone else laying claims to such things pretenders- Arab or Ajam.

    And now a final point which is that the Sassanids claimed direct descent from the Cyrus- I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s what they claimed- which yep, you guessed it, makes Imam Sajjad (as) and his direct descendants the legal and rightful dynastic heirs to Cyrus.

    Good that we hezbollahis don’t believe in dynastic succession, right?

  114. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Sorry to nit-pick but Sanei and Ayat Sistani are not against VF, in fact no faqih is “against” VF, there differences are about the scope of velayat of the faqih in the ghaybat.

    Sanei is straight up “Khomeinist”- in fact he claims VF motlaq. Like Montzeri he is not against the concept of VF, he’s against the current VF. He would like to be VF himself.

    Ayat. Sistani whenever asked about VF only says that it is conditioned on the support of the people- the exact wording of Imam (r). Oh, these willy akhunds…

    The extent of the “quietist” school is highly exaggerated…

    Ayat. Khoei is a special case because even though he denied VF in public during Saddam’s rule he then proceeded to act in the exact opposite manner during the ’91 uprising where he established and formally led the revolutionary council.

    That and the fact that he was the only faqih at that time to say that offensive jihad is permitted in the ghaybat- even Imam (r) didn’t go that far- leads me to the inescapable conclusion that he was saying the things he said about VF based on taqiyya because of Saddam’s rule.

  115. James Canning says:

    Some of us may have missed a remarkably foolish comment by Thomas L. Friedman, the staqr columnist of The New York Times, April 6th: “Do the Russians really believe that indulging Iran’s covert nuclear program, to spite us, won’t come back to haunt them with a nuclear-armed Iran, an Islamist regime on its border?”

    Obama has noted he values highly the perspective of Friedman, in his NYT columns.

    What a preposterous notion, the the Russians would in effect encourage Iran to build nukes “to spite the US”!

  116. James Canning says:


    Your course of action likely would be virtually certain to bring about a blockade of Iranian oil exports.

  117. fy says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    April 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    This is not a true statement:

    “Shahrbanu his sister and daughter of the last Sassanid emperor- married Imam Hussein (as) and they had a blessed son called Ali (as)- Imam Sajjad.”

  118. Dave says:

    A Journey to IRAN by ISA at Penn State University

  119. fy says:

    James Canning says:
    April 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    That is accepted risk; Iranians, as far as I can gather from public statements, are preparing for the day that they will not be exporting any oil.

    Let us see how the world does without Iranian oil over a 5 year period of time.

    Blockade duty; let us see how long US, UK, and France can keep their ships on blockade duty.

  120. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Bussed-in Professor: Have been enjoying reading your comments to Neo-ji. As you would say, bonus points for use of the dual form for ‘bayzatayn’. Had to LOL on that one :o)

    And yes, Kadivar is serving the darbar of the Nobel Peace President.

    And you are also right, of course, in correcting Neo-ji’s inaccuracies regarding the so-called quietists. It is not that Sistani et al are against VF; it is just that they do not believe that the aqli and naqli proofs are sufficient to warrant nass (designation) of the velayat-e aameh of the olama during the occultation. That does not mean, however, that they still do not believe in the velayat of the olama. SOMEone has to have velayat, they say, and by God, the olama are head and shoulders above anyone else when it comes to qualifications for that post. So it is just a question of how VF is *justified* or arrived at: the mashhur opinion (vast majority) are for specific designation, and a small minority (latched onto out of context and distorted by darbari akhunds such as the three clowns: kadivar sorush and shabestari and their megaphones, BBC Persian and VOA) arrive at that same velayat az baab-e hasbeh (by way of meritocratic expedience in light of occultation-induced exigence).

    And yes, Seyyed Ali Khamenei is the heir to the “Farr-e Izadi” of the Sassanids, via Imam-e Sajjad ;o)

    Lastly, I would be interested in reading your thoughts on “the only problem is that []Montazeri] seemed to confuse “aqli” with “uqalayi” throughout the whole book” if you care to elaborate.

  121. kooshy says:

    fy says:
    April 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Bussed-in Basiji says:


    In my opinion throughout their post Islamic history Iranians have done great, and have gone a long way to connect Islam with Iranian mentality (in a uniquely Iranian form) they have done a good job, and there is nothing wrong with doing so, it seem it worked, both in protecting Iran from other Islamic countries (Sunni Governments to north east west and south) and protecting Iran from her own extremist Islamists. The example is that they did not let extremism of likes of Mr. Khalkhali to become a permanent part of Iran’s traditions. Here I truly thank god that Ayatollah Khamenei who I know truly believes, values and is an expert of Iranian history and literature is the leader of the revolution, otherwise the extremist would have destroyed valued parts of the glue that is our common Iranian culture. This about Ayatollah Khamenei I am sure and I actually know.

    The other example is that after the conquest of Mongols Iranians were able to make this new conquerors Muslims believers to help slow down and moderate the slaughter, or when the Sunni ottomans become powerful they forcefully adopted a separate distinguished sect of Islam so they don’t become subjects of the new khalifa (ironically Isfahan was hard to convert and phase one of the last). And when Savfies become weak and lost the country’s capital to Sunni Hotaki Afghans and other Iranian territories were captured by Sunni ottomans to west, Sunni Mongols to north, and the Russian, they found a genius Shieh born military general named Nader to act as a Muslim and not a Shieh to fight the Sunnis that had invaded the country from all sides, with regard to his religion if he didn’t act like he did he would have started a religious war that Iran would not have won and would have fallen to Ottomans and Afghans and Russians. I hope our genius countrymen today are smart enough like Nader, not to start a religious sectarian war with Sunnis around Iran. Just for doing that every future Iranian will remember not to tear down their statue if ever gets erected.

    We should remember that Nader was a pre industrialization or modernity ruler. Years ago I read a book title “The sociological history of Iran during the Afsharid era” By Dr. Reza Shabani, for those interested in Nader’s History if they have read the “Alam Araye Nadri” by Dr. Aminryahi I recommend this book, as the title shows history should be judged and viewed in its time period context.

    “بدون شك، نادر از همان ابتداي فعاليتهاي سياسي خويش، هدفهاي آزمندانه داشت. با وجود اين، مسأله بيرون راندن استيلاگران اجنبي به خودي خود سبب افزايش اعتبار و نفوذ او در ميان محافل مختلف مردم گرديد و اين امر در سال 1736 موجب «انتخاب» او براي شاهي ايران شد”

    It should be noticed that up to the voting for IRI this is how every ruler and his dynasty came to power in Iran by defeating the invaders and taking the command of the country.

    “نبرد سرنوشت ساز نادر با اشرف افغان كه به دنبال محمود افغان خود را پادشاه ايران خوانده بود، در 6 ربيع الاول 1142 هجري در كنار رودخانه «مهماندوست» دامغان رخ داد كه به هزيمت سپاه افغان و پيروزي لشگريان ايران انجاميد. غلبه دوباره نادر بر سپاه اشرف افغان در كنار دهكده «مورچه خورت» اصفهان در 20 ربيع الثاني 1142 هجري اتفاق افتاد و با آزاد سازي پايتخت صفويان به حكومت افغانها پايان داده شد. اما بقاياي سپاه افغان بعد از كشتارهاي فراوان در اصفهان و شيراز هنگام فرار به سوي بلوچستان هلاك شدند و سر اشرف افغان نيز به علامت پيروزي قطعي براي نادر فرستاده شد.از اين زمان به بعد نادر در صدد قلع و قمع سركشان محلي و بيرون راندن سپاهيان عثماني از نواحي شهرهاي غربي و شمال غربي ايران بر آمد.

    اقدام ناشيانه شاه طهماسب ثاني در حمله به عثمانيها در جمادي الثاني 1143 هجري و شكست وي در همدان و تن دادن به عقد قرار دادي نابرابر، بهترين بهانه را براي خلع شاه طهماسب صفوي از سلطنت و باز شدن ميدان براي دستيابي نادر به حكومت را بوجود آورد. هر چند نادر به تيز هوشي يكي از فرزندان كوچك شاه طهماسب ثاني را به نام عباس ثالث به جانشيني برگزيد و خود را پيشكار وي معرفي كرد، در واقع اين آغاز به دست گيري سلطنت توسط نادر بود.”

  122. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm
    That would very likely bring about a counter-blockade by iran,if iran can`t export its oil then it wont allow anyone else in the gulf

  123. Sineva says:

    BiBiJon says:
    April 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm
    Yes iran needs to stop being so passive it needs to show that pressure is a two way street,each time the west refuses to acknowledge irans npt rights or adds more sanctions iran needs to increase enrichment production,it also needs to start talking about the real possibility of enriching beyond 20% ostensibly for naval reactors but the message to the west would be clear keep playing games and 20% will be the least of your worries

  124. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    April 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm
    There is nothing the west could do to prevent a nuclear armed iran,military action would only hasten the process and further erode the crumbling western backed status quo,that is why the wests refusal to say yes to a deal is all the more idiotic

  125. imho says:

    Smith says:
    April 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I’m here not only to express my views but also to learn. I doubt anyone here talking about military matters is an expert in it as I don’t believe talking about history and social progress requires to be historian or philosopher, not here at least. Yet, exercising an executive function requires some general or specific knowledge and the 2 years old IRI when the war began was not full of experts in military or other domains.
    I’m not convinced in all you said and don’t share your religious fervor. God has nothing to do with where Iran is now. Believing in God has been useful for martyrdom but repairing planes and advancing in nuclear science requires other knowledge and fortunately IRI knows it. IRI knows better when to be pragmatic and dump ideology in one hand and mobilize the masses using ideology in another. This is at least an argument of anti-war people in west in regard to the IRI behavior in international matters.
    That secular western leftist thing as you put it in other posts may have its root partly in contradictions seen among religious people. Iranians compared to say Saudis would be just « semi-religious », yet they have much greater sens of politics and nationalism. They are smart enough to grab any tool in their disposal to fight for their integrity and independence, be it Islam. That is why nationalism and Shia are so much intertwined. IRI doesn’t plan to convert every secular leftist in the world to Islam but certainly knows how to build with them an efficient front against imperialism. It is not just accommodation ; it is kind of building the future emphasizing on shared interests not divides. I wonder why such union is not possible in Iran (and elsewhere among Iranians). In fact, when Mr Khamenei talks about Iranian independence in his speeches, he’s rallying not only fervor Muslims but also each and every Iranian for whom the nation of Iran is source of great pride. Otherwise it would be easy to make a deal with US as the US only wants subordination and given the fall of a number of Arab secular governments recently, some with active US support, I’d say that US actually prefers a religious government provided they are not politicized.
    Which brings me to an important issue.
    What is your opinion on the so-called Arab Spring ?

  126. fyi says:

    kooshy says:
    April 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    There was no “Iran” or “Iranian” from the Fall of Sassanian until sometime during the reign of Shah Abbas II.

    The conceptualization has no basis in Reality.

    The situation has now changed and an ethnos has been created.

    Afshars, Qajars, and others were Qizilbash tribes that brought down the Safavid dynasty through their inactions. When the Afghan tribes destroyed the Safavids, there was an esnuing civil war among the Qizilbash; Qajars won.

  127. James Canning says:


    You appear to be saying the P5+1 can make a deal with Iran, ending 20% U enrichment, but allowing enrichment to 3.5%. If so, I agree with you.

  128. James Canning says:

    MJ Rosenberg has an excellent piece at HuffingtonPost on why he thinks no deal on Israel/Palestine is possible as long as Netanyahu remains PM of Israel.

  129. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Habibi, are you fyi posting from a different computer or are you somebody else?

    Anyway, you know that history is not an exact science and I’m positive you didn’t mean to write “false”. Of course what you meant to write is “disputed”.

    So let’s look at this dispute (which I will now show is not even that), shall we?

    History is complied using incomplete records, especially concerning events that occurred nearly one-and-half thousand years ago. It’s usually not a matter of hard “true or false”, it’s a little more nuanced.

    Islamic history- whether compiled by classical and contemporary Muslim/howza historians or contemporary western(ized) historians (for example Encyclopedia Iranica) is compiled using the same source materials.

    In other words on the historical question of who was the mother of Imam Sajjad (as)- classical and contemporary, Islamic and let’s say non-Islamic historians use the same pool of resources. There differences occur as to how they interpret these sources.

    In other words the contemporary scholars who dispute this matter do not do so on the basis of some newly discovered source material in some sirdab in Najaf or some carbon dating or DNA test done on remains.

    The modern scholars who dispute this do so based on their own biases- particularly tashkilat like Encyclopedia Iranica whose entire existence is based on pushing a certain historical view of Iran- for example that the Islamization of Iran was on the whole negative and that Iran should have nothing to do with Arabs. At least they are not too excited about Islam and anything to do with Islam, that much we can say.

    Now imagine if these “scholars” had reviewed the record in a somewhat objective manner and concluded, yes the Sassanid crown rightfully should have passed on to Imam Sajjad (as) as the grandson and heir apparent of Yazdegerd in the absence of Pirouz who pledged allegiance to the Chinese emperor.

    I mean is it possible that Dr.Yarshater- a Bahai which, you know as a matter of historical judgement on my part, is a little biased if you ask me- would print an article in the so-called “definitive” source on Iranian studies in which the rightful heir of the imperial Sassanid crown is an Arab? How likely is that? And if he did, how would his “funders” react?

    So now the view of modern scholars becomes “true” and the view of the overwhelming majority of Muslim scholars of the last one-and-half millenia- Sunni and Shia- becomes “false”.

    Is that the way it works?

    It is in fact the modern (Iranian) secular, nationalist who have an incentive to distort the real history of Iran- like they did with Nader the Butcher for example.

    There is no point for Islamic scholars to insist on Shahrbanu being the mother of Imam Sajjad (as) because this matter is mentioned by them as purely historical matter and is not related to theological matters. Why? Because who the mother of our Imam’s were, is irrelevant as a theological matter. It’s a simple historical matter, not related to the religious-theological aspects of the Imam.

    We have Imams whose mothers were Arab, African, Byzantine Greek and some of them had mothers of unknown origins who were slaves. And one them- according to the available sources was APPARENTLY Sharbanu.

    From the historical record we have a number of sources identify Imam Sajjad’s (as) mother as Shahrbanu/Shahzanan/Shahrbanawayh all of these referring to Khosrow Yazdegerd’s daughter- Yazdegerd being the last Sassanid emperor. We have one source claiming his mother is unnamed slave woman from Sindh.

    Now as a historian who put these sources together and you reach a conclusion. The overwhelming majority of Muslim historians say that the evidence for Shahrbanu being his mother is greater than the unnamed slave from Sindh.

    Among the classical historians Shaikh Mufid in Kitabul Irshad quoting Tabari (Sunni) and al-Kafi (Shia) identifies her as the mother. This is very important because Shaikh Mufid is considered particularly exact in his scholarship. In fact he is so exact that in the same Kitabul Irshad he remains silent on the matter of the martyrdom of 4 (!) of the Imams because of the lack of source material available to him.

    I repeat on such a fundamental matter of Shia theology he remains silent because of he doesn’t have primary sources but on such a comparatively trivial historical matter he writes:

    “…His mother is Shahzanan daughter of Yazdigerd b. Shahriyar b. Chosroe. Her name was also said to be Sharbanawayh. The Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, had appointed Hurayth b. Jabir al-Hanafi over part of the eastern provinces. The latter had sent him two daughters of Yazdigerd b. Shahriyar b. Chosroe. Of these he had given his son al-Husayn, peace be on him, Shahzanan and she bore him Zayn al-Abidin (Ali b. al-Husayn), peace be on him. He had given the other to Muhammad b. Abi Bakr and she bore him al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abi Bakr, so that these two (Zayn al-Abidin and al-Qasim) were maternal cousins.”

    al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad p.380 I.K.A. Howard translation.

    Of the contemporary historians Allamah Askari, Shaikh Jafar Murteza, Rasul Jafarian all consider the sources claiming Shahrbanu to more mo’tabar and mowasaq.

    Ba ejaze-ye shoma, I even took the liberty to contact Seyyed Mousavi who is often brought on Iranian television (Mokhtarname etc.) to discuss history and is considered a leading historian in Qom and asked him and he said: “Nazare mashoor in ast keh Shahrbanu madare Imam alay salaam hastan”.

    My point is simply that even for those still clinging to the mythologies of pre-Islamic ancient “Iran”, I say: bow down to your emperor Imam Sajjad (as)!

    Like I said, as a hezbollahi I don’t believe in imperial dynastic succession.

    That’s all.

  130. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Your point is well taken, but I would argue that even for the standards of his time Nader was an exceptional hayvan.

  131. kooshy says:


    You continually make a mistake mixing the concept of a “continued Iranian political state” with a continued “Iranian cultural state” (driven from combination of different Iranian ethnicity’s traditions, behavior and mentalities) after the Islam. A political boundary and a state is not the only formative of a nation. Due to various possible events a state’s shape and demography can change continuously, but changing a nation’s culture and traditions is only possible when a superior one is introduced and accepted, same is true with religion, in case of Iran and Iranians there must have been a conceptualization that the two were able to coexist (a new religion adopted to their existing culture). When they say Iran will never die they refer to Iranian culture and mentality which continued and never died but it did evolve and was able to adopted a new religion and various invaders throughout its history, just like roman mentality never died (but the state as a political entity has) and adopted a new religion suitable to that mentality.

    If it wasn’t for the “continued” Iranian mentality to preserve their culture, language etc. throughout their history even before Islam, Iranians wouldn’t celebrate Norooz and similar Iranian traditions and events today and throughout the post Islamic period, as is evidenced in various written books and poems of different era and regions (even in period of 200 years of silence when it was forbidden to speak and write in Persian). So, if the Iranians were able to adopt their new religion to their traditions and culture then is hard to argue that there is no bases for conceptualization as you do “The conceptualization has no basis in Reality”. Considering the history of Iran with various tribes and ethnicity with its many invasions and wars one can argue not only there was a conceptualization but rather it was only possible with political cleverness to make the new comers appreciate the culture above their own.

  132. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Good to hear from you again.

    Thanks for the bonus points, and I give you super-duper-extra-special bonus points for:

    “…velayat az baab-e hasbeh (by way of meritocratic expedience in light of occultation-induced exigence).”

    A+, full marks, bist…I tell you, this “occultation-induced exigence” pedare mar-a dar ovorde…

    Did you like how I proved takht-o-taje Sassani belongs to Bani Fatima (as)? Man they didn’t see that one coming 🙂 BTW yours truly is a 45th generation direct descendent of Imam Sajjad (as). Bow down in front of your emperor!

    Concerning Marhum Montazeri and his book on VF. First of all his book on VF is very comprehensive and anyone wanting to do serious scholarly work on VF should study it. Of course with the guidance of an ostad.

    There are very good parts (Sharayete Vali) and there are very weak parts (Entekhabat).

    On the matter of “aqli”versus “uqalayi”, to be fair I have to say that when he wrote “aqli” he meant “uqalayi”- maybe saying he “confused” them is a little too harsh.

    As you know we have aqle nadhari and aqle amali. Nadhari relates to causes and effects that are either elzami or mohal. That’s all that aqle nadhari discusses.

    Aqle amali relates to naqze qaraz, for example it is not “aqli” to engage in a process that contradicts your qaraz.

    “Uqalayi” relates to the general behavior of “aqel” people- here aqel people versus sa-fee or majnun people. For example one of our daleel in estenbate ahkaam is “sirreh uqala” when it has not been refuted by the Shar-e. Meaning for example uqala usually act on the zuhur of kalamat, the Share has not refuted them in doing so, so this has hujjat for us. (In this case we have even more, daleel lafzi qati by Share emphasizing hujjat of acting on zuhur)

    On the other hand, uqala tend to use analogy in their estedlal, but the Share has repeatedly refuted this sirreh uqala, thus no hujjat for us.

    So in other words were Montazeri says aqli he means uqalayi- meaning “this is usually what uqala do” and thus we have to discuss each individual case he discusses to see if it is true or not (many of them his claim is valid, but some are debatable).

    Inshallah that was useful…

  133. kooshy says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    April 14, 2013 at 10:51 am


    “Nader Shah is widely seen as a crazy man, somebody in the state of sheer paranoia (at least among my generation). Particularly in what he did to his son.”

    Ok but that was common in Iran even before Nader shah, Safavies use to blind their heir’s to throne including Shah Abbas the great, for that would you need to destroy his successes, I think not

    “His craziness overshadowed his military ingenuity specially his initial success against the Ottoman.”

    His military ingenuity is what was important at the time to save Iran with his new sect of Islam unacceptable and opposed to neighboring Sunni Muslims states in every direction. Can you picture that this we can do again today if we let the extremist within, like the events of Kurdistan a few years back, which made Agha to go and stay there for a few months to calm things down.

    “Next time in Iran we can announce that we want to destroy his statue and nobody would stop us except, I suspect, the police.”

    Well Next time in Mashhad try to do that, or just ask a vendor to what they think of him, see if afterwards you still will dare to continue with the task.

    “His stupidity in blinding the successors as well as his Sunnis insured a civil war after his death and the eventual rise of the damn Qajar dynasty.
    The rise of Qajar is generally seen as Nader’s craziness. and the dislike of Qajar in Iran does not need any explanation.”

    Agha Mohammad Khan was imprisoned in shiraz by the Zands what that had to do with Nader who presided the Zand period, if your read the book I mentioned in my last post, you will know that there was a civil war by various Sfavie princess and governors against each other before rise of Nader, Nader was successful to calm the internal disobedience and uprisings (often brutally) similar to Kurdish uprisings after the revolution. It is correct that he became paranoid and more brutal, as is usual in our history. By the way Agha Mohammad khan who became shah 50 years after Nader’s death is the one who buried Lotfali Khan Zand’s bones under the step to his palace of Golestan.

    I am not trying to defend him (I am of Yazdi Afshars) but rather I am trying to make understand the period’s events that made possible the rise of Nader, history has to be judged in context of its time, otherwise everybody and every past government of ours become brutal and not worthy to keep anything they did or left behind. (Khalkhali extremism)

  134. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    April 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you for your response.

    Nevertheless there are serious questions here:

    Where was this wife of Imam Hussein if not in Kerbala?

    What happened to her after Kerbala?

  135. fyi says:

    kooshy says:
    April 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you for your response.

    Yes, I am only making comments regarding political Iran and not the broader Iranian cultural sphere.

    By that definition, Ottomans were also Iranians – Court Ottoman was a variant of Persian and the Ottoman Emperors and Nobles modeled themselves on the “pahlavni” ideas of the Shahnameh.

    But I think such cases are not relevant politically where one is discussing an “ethnos” – a collection of people with cultural and political cohesion.

    Afghanistan was once part of Iran-zamin – during the Sassanian-Ashkanian period.

    And they also celeberate Noruz; like many others.

    Their lands were the historical lands of Shahnameh.

    Even Dari-Persian originated from the East.

    Yet they have no Iran-ness political identity/ethnos; they have no identity beyond the tribes to which they belong.

    An Shia/Irani ethnos did not begin to emerge until late during the Safavid period; in my opinion.

    I do not wish to discuss the intricate subject of the Iranian Cultural World and how it distinguishes itself from that of Arabs or Indonesian or African Muslims. It is too complex and too intricate and I do not have the technical knowledge to discuss it.

  136. kooshy says:

    دورا دور من مخلص همه بسیجیان ایرانی‌ که از ایران دفاع کردن و میکنن هستم

    همینطور که آقا گفتن در این زمان جذب حد اکثر باید کرد

    انشا الله

  137. kooshy says:

    This is today’s propaganda on Iran published by the American equivalent of Pravda, the NYT, read the full story to find why the headline is misleading, and then wonder as Greenwald said the newspaper of “record” is going down so fast.

    World Briefing | Middle East

    Iran: On Africa Trip, President Will Visit a Uranium Producer

    Published: April 15, 2013
    World Briefing | Middle East

  138. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Dear Bussed-in Seyyed-e Zayn ol-Abedini! Bale, entezar pedar-e man ra ham dar avarde, va pedar-bozorgam ham dare na’laynash ra pash mikone ta oon ham dar biyad ;o)

    Thank you for the highly technical explanation on the difference between aqli and oqalai. It was helpful in that it reminded me just how complex and nuanced fiqh and osul-e fiqh can be.

    I was also interested to note that you are hip to Allame Askari, whose works are my current passion, particularly his ma’alem ol-madresatain, wherein the maktab-e kholafa is summarily demolished (of course his other works do that too, especially his three volume history on ‘Aesha and his “150 Faked Companions”).

  139. Empty says:

    A note re: one of the disputes (historical in nature) between Bussed-in-Bassiji and fyi…..

    “امام سجاد (علی بن حسین ملقب به زین العابدی و سجاد) وی فرزند امام سوم بود که از شاه زنان دختر یزدجرد شاهنشاه ایران متولد شده بود و تنها فرزند امام سوک بود که باقی مانده بود زیرا سه برادر دیگرش در واقعۀ کربلا به شهادت رسیدند و آنحضرت نیز همراه پدر به کربلا آمده بود ولی چون سخت بیمار بود و توانائی حمل اسلحه و جنگ را نداشت، از جهاد و شهادت بازماند و با اسیران حرم به شام اعزام گردید.”

    [Translation/interpretation: “Imam Sajjad (Ali son of Hussein nicknamed Zeyn’ol’abedin and Sajjad) was an offspring of the third Imam and was born from the “Shah/King woman” daughter (i.e. daughter of one of Shah’s first-level wives) of Yazdgerd III the king of Iran. He was the only son of Imam Hussein that survived since the other three brothers of him were martyred in Karbala. He, too, had traveled to Karbala with his father, however, due to severe illness, he was not able to carry weapons and fight in the battle and was left out of jihad and martyrdom and was transferred to Sham along with other surviving prisoners.”

    Source: “Shi’a in Islam” by Allameh Mohammad Hussein Tabatabai, Printing with formal permission from the Ministry of Culture and Art, No. 20/151; 1348 Hejri Shamsi; Ziba Publishing, page 138.

  140. Karl... says:

    I have a bad feeling that Iran in one way or antoher will be tied to the Boston bombings..

  141. fyi says:

    Empty says:
    April 16, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Thank you but the discovery of historical truth cannot be solely based on “akhbari” methodology – it needs to be based, where possible, on physical evidence.

    In this case, are you aware of the burial site of this wife of Imam Hussein?

    Her name was not included in the list of prisoners of Kerbala.

    So where was she, where did she live the rest of her life, where is her grave, and why is there no trace of her before or after Kerbala?

  142. Neo says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: April 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Bussed-in-e aziz,

    Thanks for the detailed response. Whether the quietist school is exaggerated or not is not that important in the sense that different eras have different emphases, and the VF idea has only been put in practise of late. I don’t personally think it will survive for much longer for the same reason that all revolutionary leaders pass away and the institution (i.e. revolutionary leadership) that they leave behind gets watered down in time, inevitably and necessarily. There is certainly a concerted effort to try and elevate Khamenei to something akin to Khomeini, but this is always going to be challenged strongly. It is very unlikely that the VF as an institution will survive Khamenei.

    I quite see your perspective about religion being both personal and public. But the public side of religion has a certain inherent weakness (authoritarianism) in that it intrudes into the public sphere of non-religious (or should I say non-muslim?) citizens. Enforcement of hejab is one clear example. All women of all faiths and even foreigners are forced to abide by the ‘islamic’ dress code imposed by the state. What exactly is the reason for this? It certainly is not religious. There is nothing in Islamic law that requires women to be forced to cover their bodies so much. There is nothing in Islamic law that so thoroughly takes away the personal choice of women in how they dress, far as I know. In fact, the Muslim Prophet’s (first) wife didn’t wear hejab or cover her hair, as far as I know. There is a general statement that women should be ‘modestly’ dressed. But the same is true of men. How is it then that Iranian men don’t have to cover their hair? Saudi men do. Isn’t it then a question of a political subjugation of women rather than it being a religious rule? Add to this the question of non-muslim women. So what is the reason for this draconian law? Isn’t it serving a non-religious, political end? Isn’t it imposing the culture of a certain group in a political manner on others in the name of religion without any religious justification? In any case, why should a religious justification be allowed to impinge on the rights of women to wear what they like? I can understand children of up to the age of 3 or perhaps 4 being told what to wear outside. But why are grown women treated in such a manner? Is it religious? Or is it plain old patriarchal abuse done in the name of religion?

    I didn’t mean to – or even shouldn’t have – given the impression that religion and government are ‘naturally’ separate. True that the Muslim Prophet meant to build a community and establish a government with all its duties. But that’s in the context of none of these being in place at the time in his particular domicile – other than a few city administrations. But you could have given a better example even: the very first form of government known in human history was in Sumer, and it was built around the first known temples in the cradle of civilisation. Religion can be said to have invented government. So there is nothing special or ‘beautiful’ about Islam in this regard. It’s in fact closer to the oldest and most defunct types of religious ideology in this regard. Priests and Akhounds have been governing mafiosos from the get go. The surprising thing is that even today we have people like you who fall for their power grabbing machinations with such enthusiasm.

    I agree that ‘Religion can mobilize the poor and edify the rich, it can educate the intellectuals and teach literacy to the illiterate’ etc, but we don’t Need it to. We can do it without religion and an opportunistic clerical class of rulers much better ourselves. And we can do it free of superstitions and rituals.

    That I may be guilty of judging others may be true to some extent. But then again, I don’t go around calling them viruses like our esteemed UU (I know he means no harm).

    Your definition of religion is sound. As you say: “A program for the perfection of humans and humanity, a program to complete our humanity- as individuals, families, communities, nations, Ummah and as humanity as a whole. This and all the logical consequences that flow from this.”

    But I have to ask: have you ever read the Charter of the UN? Don’t get me wrong. I know how awful the UN has become under Western dictatorship in the world. But have you actually read its Charter? Again, point being that we don’t need any SPECIFIC religion for the achievement of the ‘program’ you describe. So my question to you is: why impose Islamic rule over all Iranians? Or anyone else for that matter?

    Your position is that “Religion has to be all-encompassing and holistic or not at all”, but then why This particular religion? Why happens to the rest of humanity? ‘all-encompassing’ on Iranians alone? If so, then you are back to a political programme for Iranians, which makes the religion a nationalist project.

    I agree that Sufism is essentially egoistic, as is all mysticism. But its great advantage is that it doesn’t force itself on me. It’s about live and let live, and as a result, it is loving and lovable and worthy of respect.

    Your point about Aryanism and fights against other muslims is taken. How is different today though? We fight the Taleban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We are on dangerous grounds with several Sunni countries in the Persian Gulf. We are fighting a proxy war with Muslims in Syria.

    And let me assure you, I’ve been to several countries in Africa, and none of them have any religious affinity with Iran. But they have plenty of political affinity. They have religious problems with Iran in fact.

    The racism of the Pahlavis does not make the Islamic political culture any better in my view. It’s just one form of bigotry replaced by another. If we want to get into the comparative game, then a secular, peaceful, non-confrontational political culture would surely be better than both. My discourse on nationalism has nothing to do with the Pahlavi neo-Nazi ideology, please don’t misread me. My nationalism would respect not just Muslims, but also Bahais, Christians, Zoroastrians as well as all the different ethnicities etc. It would be a celebration of diversity within a decentralised form of government. A federal system.

    I agree that secular nationalists failed the region (though Attaturk can be seen as an exception). I’m not at all trying to excuse their patent failure. In fact, the reason why I don’t take a typical Iranian expat position (one that the Leveretts dismiss beautifully and justifiably in my view) against the Islamic Republic is precisely to do with the damage that these 20th century secular leaders did to the region.

    I think a religious revival is justified in this sense. At the same time, aziz, I am convinced that the theocracies or wanna-be theocracies will fail equally, for many reasons, some of which I’ve delved into already. I think the Iranian Islamic Republic has a right to run its course without foreign intervention, and this I think will serve to put to rest the romantic folly of a theocracy once and for all, and we will emerge from this experiment wiser and stronger, and we will have a truly democratic and secular form of government in the future. In fact, I think Iran will be the harbinger of this form of a new secular regime in the region.

    Inshallah! 🙂