In this new episode of The Unknown, Anni Cyrus helps us in Understanding the Islamic Republic Through the Qur’an.
Why is the Islamic Republic so viciously oppressive of women? Anni connects the dots.
In this new episode of The Unknown, Anni Cyrus helps us in Understanding the Islamic Republic Through the Qur’an.
Why is the Islamic Republic so viciously oppressive of women? Anni connects the dots.
The deal with Iran does not disarm the regime of its nuclear weapons capacity, but it does go a long way towards disarming the West. There are five ways that the deal handcuffs the U.S. and its allies by undermining their options against Iran in the future.
Disarming the Sanctions Option
The deal’s supporters claim that the international sanctions that collapsed the Iranian economy will immediately “snap back” if the regime violates the deal, so why not give it a try?
To believe that claim, you have to believe that our international partners are willing to hurt themselves in order to hurt Iran a little at our request. These governments and influential companies will be making a fortune off of business with Iran. The regime is already making companies salivate with enticements to invest in its energy sector. Iran is hoping to sign $100 billion in oil and gas deals with Western companies.
Europe is more concerned about its energy dependence upon an increasingly aggressive Russia than Iran. Turkey wants to act as acorridor for Iranian natural gas shipments to Europe, in addition to importing more natural gas for itself. If Iran must be punished, are we really to believe that Europe would give up that business with the regime, accept higher oil prices and revert to being held hostage by Russia?
And even if the international community were to go along with the “snapback” sanctions, they would likely be fruitless. The Iranian regime believes—and with good reason—that all it needs is to be able to withstand the economic pain until a nuclear weapons arsenal is finished. According to the deal’s supporter, that’s a period of about one year maximum.
In 2005, Iranian President Rouhani (then the regime’s chief nuclear negotiator) gave a speech where he boasted of advancing the nuclear program through deception and by dividing the West’s ranks. He denied seeking nuclear weapons, but pointed to the example of how Pakistan got nuclear weapons. The world shouted as Pakistan built nuclear weapons but once it did, the world accepted it and moved on.
“If one day we are able to complete the [nuclear] fuel cycle, and the world sees that it has no choice … then the situation will be different,” he said.
Disarming the Military Option
Once the interim nuclear deal was signed, Russia announced that the changed situation meant that Iran could finally receive its advanced S-300 air defense system. Four modernized versions of the system are due to arrive in Iran by the end of this year. Military experts warn that once they become operational, they will be “game-changers,” especially for the Israelis. In addition, Russia is expected to provide advanced combat jets.
Within five years or less, the U.N. arms embargo will be lifted. Iran will be allowed to modernize its military by buying combat aircraft, large artillery systems, attack helicopters, warships and missiles. Iran says it will also continue developing ballistic missile technology.
Iran understands that the question isn’t whether the U.S., Israel and other enemies can bomb its nuclear program. The question is whether the political leadership would consider it a viable option. By increasing the cost of potential military action, Iran decreases the chances of that military action taking place.
Military action may only push the Iranian nuclear program back by a few years. Is that worth the casualties, monetary expense, the possibility of pilots being held captive, Iran’s retaliation or the political risk for the elected Western leaders? Iran wants a negative answer to those questions.
Disarming the Sabotage Option
There is a long list of apparent covert operations against Iran’s nuclear program, with the Stuxnet cyber attack on Iran’s centrifuges being the most famous. The steady pace of apparent sabotaging stopped with the interim deal and now, under this deal, the West must actually help Iran stop future sabotage.
The deal refers to, “Cooperation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems.”
Disarming the State/Local Initiative Option
Another effective option against Iran has been divestment measures implemented in 30 states. There are five forms of legislation that have been passed, as pushed by United Against Nuclear Iran: Contracting legislation; divestment legislation/policies; banking legislation; insurance legislation and state authorization legislation.
The deal requires that the federal government must pressure these state and local governments into ending these measures. It states that the U.S. must “take appropriate steps, taking into account all available authorities” to “actively encourage officials at the state or local level” to lift sanctions.
This language would not be in the deal if these measures didn’t hurt Iran. Its inclusion also means that the administration has some kind of game-plan to bend the states’ arms into complying with the deal.
Disarming the Regime Change Option
The deal runs the risk of stabilizing the regime and saving the Iranian Islamic Revolution. To date, the ideology has brought nothing but misery to Iranians. If the deal produces an Iran on steroids, the regime will be allow to do something it never could do before: present its Islamic Revolution as a viable ideology, one that produces strength and prosperity.
As Democratic Senator Bob Menendez pointed out, the regime would never sign a deal that undermines itself. As I’ve explained previously, the deal will fatten the wallets of the oppressors of the Iranian people far more than the average Iranian. One of the top priorities of the so-called “moderate” President Rouhani has been dramatically increasing the budget of the security services that keep the regime in power.
The Iranian regime’s future has turned bright. Whereas in 2009 its survival was in question, the regime now can look forward to years of growth where its strength increases and its adversaries are increasingly disarmed of their most useful options against it.
ABOUT RYAN MAURO
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.
Iran’s defense minister reiterated the official Iranian position that, even after the nuclear agreement is enacted, Iran will continue to provide arms, technology and other support to any group fighting the United States.
Speaking on Lebanese television earlier this month (see video below), Minister of Defense Hossein Dehghan said, “I officially declare that under no circumstances will we refrain from providing material and moral support to Hezbollah, or to any group of the resistance to the U.S. and Israel. We say this loud and clear. We have declared this officially and we intend to continue on this path.”
Although Dehghan insisted Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah do not need Iran to supply them with rockets and other arms since they now have the capability to produce weapons themselves, he said Iran would, nevertheless, continue to support them.
Dehghan also confirmed the United States will permanently remain the “Great Satan” to the Iranian regime, explaining, “Ayatollah Khomeini called the U.S. the ‘Great Satan,’ and there is nothing strange about it. This name was given on the principles of the holy Quran, which clearly points to Satanic characteristics, conduct and goals.”
The minister explained the U.S. had earned this title since, from the end of World War II, Washington had “dedicated itself” to a policy of “instigating strife, discord and wars between the world’s nations … solely to serve American interests.”
Dehghan mentioned the U.S. involvement in deposing Mohammad Mosaddegh , the democratically-elected prime minister of Iran in 1953, as well as the Vietnam War and the Korean War.
The Iranian perception of the U.S.’ willingness to compromise on its “red lines” during the nuclear negotiations also appears to have backfired in the eyes of the Islaamic Republic.
“During the (nuclear) negotiations, they kept changing their positions,” Dehghan said. “Their positions were not resolute and therefore, we do not trust their positions. They have no credibility and do not keep their promises.”
Dehghan also charged that the U.S. is currently facing international isolation because of its “unstable positions and its attacks on weak countries.”
Khamenei and his henchmen seem determined to embarrass Barack Obama and show his nuclear deal to be exactly as disastrous as it is.
“Khamenei: Israel won’t survive next 25 years”, Times of Israel, September 9, 2015:
Taking to Twitter, Iranian leader says Zionists won’t find serenity until destruction, calls US ‘Great Satan’ and rejects any talks with Washington beyond nuke deal
Israel will not survive the next 25 years, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday, making a series of threatening remarks published online.
In a quote posted to Twitter by Khamenei’s official account, Khamenei addresses Israel, saying, “You will not see next 25 years,” and adds that the Jewish state will be hounded until it is destroyed.
The quote comes against a backdrop of a photograph apparently showing the Iranian leader walking on an Israeli flag painted on a sidewalk.
“After negotiations, in Zionist regime they said they had no more concern about Iran for next 25 years; I’d say: Firstly, you will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists,” the quote from Iran’s top leader reads in broken English.
The quote was apparently taken from a speech given earlier in the day.
The remarks came as US lawmakers began to debate supporting a recent nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers. Critics of the deal have pointed to fiery anti-US and anti-Zionist rhetoric as proof that the regime should not be trusted.
The White House and other deal boosters argue that the pact, meant to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, is based on verification, not trust.
Khamenei’s statements also reaffirmed his view that the US is a “Great Satan” and that there would be no detente with Washington beyond the nuclear talks.
“We approved talks with the United States about [the] nuclear issue specifically. We have not allowed talks with the US in other fields and we [do] not negotiate with them,” Khamenei said in statements published on his website.
Khamenei is quoted as saying any other talks would be “a tool for penetration and imposing their demands.”
On Twitter, Khamenei said talks with the US were a “means of infiltration and imposition of their wills.”
Quoting the founder of the Islamic Republic and his predecessor as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei tweeted: “@IRKhomeini stated “US is the Great Satan,” some insist on depicting this Great Satan as an angel.”
The Twitter handle @IRKhomeini is an Iranian government account dedicated to Khomeini’s statements.
Some have pointed to the nuclear deal as an opening for Iran to repair long-frayed ties with the West….
Peace in our time! Note that this article refers to “the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).” What does the I stand for? The article doesn’t say. But the name of the group is actually the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Salami’s threats here have a strong Islamic character: “In a direct threat to both the United States and Israel, Salami promised to ‘cut off enemies’ hands and fingers will then send its dust to the air,’ according to the report.” That is reminiscent of this Qur’an verse: “When your Lord inspired to the angels, ‘I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.’” (Qur’an 8:12)
“Iran Promises to ‘Set Fire’ to U.S. Interests,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, September 3, 2015:
A senior Iranian military official has vowed to “set fire” to all U.S. interests in the region and maintained that the Islamic Republic welcomes war with America, according to regional reports demonstrating that Tehran is still committed to fighting the United States in the wake of a recently inked nuclear accord.
“In threatening remarks,” a top Iranian commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) stated that Iran is prepared to “annihilate” U.S. and Israeli war forces should they “take the slightest military move against Iran,” according to Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency.
“We monitor their acts day and night and will take every opportunity to set fire to all their economic and political interests if they do a wrong deed,” Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s lieutenant commander, was quoted as saying in Tehran on Thursday.
In a direct threat to both the United States and Israel, Salami promised to “cut off enemies’ hands and fingers will then send its dust to the air,” according to the report.
These Iranian military officials were responding to multiple claims by U.S. officials that a military option against Tehran still remains on the table, despite the recently inked accord, which aims to constrain the Islamic Republic’s contested nuclear program.
In May, Salami said that Iran desires a war with the United States.
“We have prepared ourselves for the most dangerous scenarios and this is no big deal and is simple to digest for U.S.; we welcome war with the U.S. as we do believe that it will be the scene for our success to display the real potentials of our power,” he said at the time.
The comments came on the say day that the Iranian military unveiled a new missile defense system to track enemy threats.
“The system can detect and trace targets, take decisions for the operation of the missile systems, decide about the type of weapon systems needed, assess and foresee hostile targets, and field commanders can easily take a final decision with the data provided by the command and control system,” according to Fars.
Meanwhile, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Thursday said that Iran is not open to negotiate with the United States on any other issue outside of the nuclear portfolio.
Khamenei “reiterated the complete ban on any negotiation between the Iranian officials and the Americans on other issues, and said there won’t be any other talks with the White House, except for the nuclear issue,” according to Fars.
“The U.S. positions are fully against the stances of the Islamic Republic,” Khamenei was quoted as saying in a wide-ranging speech.
Khamenei also called on the country’s leaders to attack U.S. critics of the deal….
EDITORS NOTE: Iran understands that religious Islam sanctions this particular tactic of burning alive in Qur’an verse 4:56:
Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our verses – We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted in Might and Wise.
Tehran’s chief of traffic police has issued orders to crack down on women drivers whose head scarfs are not up to the Islamic Republic’s standards.
General Teymour Hosseini threatened, “If a (female) driver in a car is poorly veiled or has taken her veil off, the vehicle will be seized in accordance with the law,” the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported
In addition, the woman will have to get a court order to reclaim her vehicle.
Women in Iran have begun pushing back against the mandatory dress codes legislated after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Hard-lines decried the situation.
“Unfortunately, some streets of the capital have come to resemble fashion salons,” Iran’s judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani said this week, questioning the “tolerance” that has led to “such a situation.”
A post on Instragram, a picture-sharing based social media network, recently featured shots by popular blogger Humans of New York reflects the current reality in a number of places in Iran.
To the side of the picture, shot in Namakabroud, Iran, was written:
“Things are getting freer. Even a few years ago, I couldn’t wear what I’m wearing now without inciting a rebuke. The scarves are getting brighter and looser. The sleeves are getting shorter. The laughter is getting louder. This is a very young country. More than half the population is under 30.
Have you ever seen an Iranian child? They are the most mischievous children on the planet. If you want an Iranian child to do something – tell him to to do it. Tell them not to kiss. Tell them not to hold hands. Tell them to dress in black. Tell them not to use Facebook. This country is full of mischievous, curious Iranian children. And the people who make the rules are getting older. And just like the Iranian parent, they are getting exhausted.”
EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of an Iranian woman taxi driver picks up a client in 2011. Both women are dressed in the traditionally-required garb as contrasted to today’s Iran (see below) where women are dressing in color, with shorter sleeves and looser head scarves. (Photo:© Reuters)
Ayatollah Boroujerdi languishes in prison in Iran for opposing the state. But Tayebeh Hosseini is fighting his cause from abroad.
Tayebeh Hosseini is the President of the Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group. She has been associated with Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group in the U.S. She was a teacher, and also involved with Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s Organization in Iran before she left her hometown in 2011.
In cooperation with Boroujerdi for advocating separation of religion from state in Iran, she was arrested twice in 2006 and 2010. She faced tough medieval conditions in prisons in Iran.
Their website is found here. An open letter by Ayatollah Boroujerdi from prison has been published by Clarion Project.
She graciously agreed to speak with Clarion Project Research Fellow Elliot Friedland about the Iranian regime, it’s human rights abuses and her organization’s vision of separation between religion and state in Iran.
Clarion Project: Your organization is based on the work of Ayatollah Boroujerdi, a senior Shiite cleric and supporter of the separation between religion and state currently a prisoner of conscience in Iran. In what ways do you continue his work?
Tayebeh Hosseini: The Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group conducts a variety of activities which directly support its central purpose of advocating, protecting, and supporting the basic civil rights of religious freedom, freedom of conscience, and the rights of women globally. We also oppose the religious tyranny and fundamentalism which interferes with such rights.
Our goal is to create the opportunity for discussions, cooperation and collaboration of civil rights leaders, activists and all those interested in promoting the globally important human rights values. We will also participate in and organize meetings, conferences, ceremonies and veritable networks. My colleagues and I continue his work through:
Clarion: How did you personally become involved with your organization? What motivated you to act?
Hosseini: Basically I was a teacher, so I was in a relationship with many different people in Iran. While investigating the source of problems and crisis in my country, such as religious violence, religious dictatorship, extensive violence against women and human rights, I found that the source of such problems is mixing religion and politics.
I concluded that secularism is a primary solution to save our society to achieve freedom, peace, justice and democracy.
However, in a religious society with traditionally minded people, secularism was equal to paganism and the people were not interested in even listening to such concepts.
So I was always thinking if only religious leaders themselves supported the separation of religion and politics that would be great opportunity to affect public opinion. That was the reason I have supported Ayatollah Kazemeini Boroujerdi who was advocating religion without political approaches: an independent religion in which the people pray to their God in peace and freedom without government interference.
He had a successful plan in Iranian society and I was trying to support him as much as I can. So my aim is to develop such peaceful plans globally and especially in American society where we have many different people with different beliefs and religious interests.
He was very popular and well known between followers of various religions, including Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and even atheists, this was unique in Iran. He preached against religious oppression and the corruption of the clerics in the employ of the government. He had emphasized to us that “there is no compulsion in religion.” Then, I learned about his campaign and efforts in exposing the regime’s human rights violations. I started my activities in organizing seminars and holding discussion groups and analyzing his sermon and teachings.
Now, as the president of our organization, I follow up our activities in a formal manner. I also coordinate his supporters’ activities outside and inside Iran. I directly communicate with different organizations acting in same way and exchange our experiences and information with them.
Clarion: What in your eyes is the single greatest impediment to human rights in Iran?
Hosseini: From my point of view, the single greatest impediment to human rights in Iran is the Regime: the laws of the Islamic state which is based on mixing religion and government. This brings about systematic violence of Human Rights and Civil Rights in Iran and stands in contrast to freedom and democracy.
Thus the religious leaders have established a religious dictatorship in which the people are being suppressed, arrested, jailed, tortured and executed due to their different beliefs and consciences.
For example, journalists were detained, often on charges as nebulous as “propaganda against the system,” or “spreading falsehoods with intent to agitate.” The regime is accuses all of its opponents of being criminals on charges of “acting against national security,” “waging against God,” “religious innovation.” Consistent with their violent laws, they can even execute such innocent people. While these are the consequences of opposition to the religious state for Muslims, it’s clear what will happen to the members of religious minorities such as Christians, Jews, and Baha’is if they want to protest this tyrannical government.
Clarion: What are your strategies to bring about improvements in the human rights situation in Iran?
Hosseini: To improve the human rights situation in Iran, we should support and defend secularism, democracy and freedom of religion and expression. The Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group’s plan is to train the people for such modern humanitarian values. We should continue to inform that “the religion is never against human and civil rights.” Especially for the women, we try to change their mind to convince them that “since the Lord is kind and has created kindness and justice, so he never send his messengers by discrimination and violent religious laws.”
We should pressure the Iranian regime into meeting international standards. In addition, Iranian people need public diplomacy. In this case, by providing technologies, they can be enabled to speak freely, the more the Iranian public and the world will be able to hear their messages, and the better they can assert their views.
While the Iranian regime is deeply concerned about losing control over information technology and equally concerned that such measures will provide an avenue for highlighting its arbitrary practices.
These are what Ayatollah Boroujerdi believes and acts on accordingly. So we worked out for many years that religious laws should be updated according to modern human requirements based on new sciences.
Clarion: Finally, how will the nuclear deal affect human rights in Iran?
Hosseini: Although nuclear negotiations with Iran could provide opportunities to utilize diplomacy for improving Iran’s human rights situation, the subject of human rights was eliminated from the agenda and negotiations. They just agreed on some technological points and financial and economic sanctions. So the destiny of countless prisoners of beliefs and jailed innocent people were not important for the authorities and they just have considered their economic benefits and interests.
With a quick glance at the reports of human rights violations in Iran by international human rights organizations, the repressive elements within the security and intelligence forces and the judiciary, have retained wide powers and continued to be the main perpetrators of rights abuses. Executions have continued. Security and intelligence forces have arrested journalists, bloggers, and social media activists, and revolutionary courts handed down heavy sentences against them. Furthermore, Ayatollah Kazemeni Boroujerdi has faced new charges from the Special Clerical Court due to publication of his new book since April 2015.
We sincerely believe that the current deals and the final agreement are not proper to control the regime and prevent its leaders’ ambitions. They have a theocratic regime and they want to export their beliefs abroad. And they need superior power to do so.
We never believed in “Agreement OR War.” We think that there are a lot of other solutions apart of the current agreement far from violence. For example political sanctions are a simple way instead of extensive economic ones. If all countries close the regime’s embassies and consulates and declare that they never recognize them as the legal government of Iran, will the current religious dictators halt their military ambitions?
This can also be achieved by global support for a secular and democratic movement in Iran such as the plan suggested by Ayatollah Boroujerdi.
EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Tayebeh Hosseini, president of the Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group (Photo: © Supplied)
The Glazov Gang is proud and excited to introduce its new feature: The Unknown. The producer of the Gang, Anni Cyrus, now enters the stage.
We now present the first blockbuster episode, The Day I Was Called a Woman by Islam, in which Anni shares the harrowing story of how her childhood ended at the age of 9 in Iran.
Don’t miss it!
There is no distinction between child marriage and slavery. If anything, child marriage is worse: the child, unlike an adult slave (or a slave with his or her parents around) is entirely at the mercy of her “husband.” But Muhammad married Aisha when she was six and consummated the marriage when she was nine, and that makes it right, and to be imitated by Muslims for all time.
“40,000 Iranian Girls Married Under the Age of 15 Per Year,” CP, August 24, 2015 (thanks to Blazing Cat Fur):
More than 40,000 Iranian girls under the age of 15 were married during the last calendar year in Iran, according to Iranian officials, most to older men.
The number has remained relatively constant for the last 10 years, adding up to some 420,000 girls.
The girls were wed oftentimes to men more than four times their age.
The statistics were recently detailed by the head of the regime’s Social Emergency Coordination Center, Majid Arjmandi.
According to the state-run Shahrvand newspaper, Arjmandi also said in recent years there were at least 360 girls under the age of 14 who were married to older men, with some of the girls below the age of 10.
Researchers say the real numbers of young Iranian girls married to older men is much higher than the official statistics.
Farideh Karimi, a member of the opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a human rights activist, called the regime’s marriage laws “institutionalized pedophilia.”
Karimi pointed out while Iran is a state party to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states 18 is the minimum age of adulthood and thus marriage, Iran’s Civil Code (Article 1,041) allows girls to marry at the age of 13, and boys at the age of 15. It furthermore allows girls to be married at a younger age with approval from a court.
“The mullahs’ regime is trying to present its institutionalized pedophilia to the international community under the guise of national culture and customs; yet its fundamentalist laws have nothing to do with Iranian culture and are based on a fundamentalist interpretation of religion,” said Karimi. “The mullahs’ laws in Iran mirror the practices of ISIS (Daesh/the Islamic State) against young girls.”
Thirty-five years, the lifetime of a generation, has passed since the 1979 Revolution in Iran; a revolution against the despotism of the Pahlavi monarchy that led to the formation of a so-called “Islamic Republic” in Iran. Since its very inception in February 1979, contrary to the initial popular aspirations to liberty that had resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy, the Islamic Republic descended upon the civil society like the hammer of gods and embarked upon an overwhelming, systematic violation of human rights and at the same time a calculated movement away from the expected democracy.
Executing the officials and affiliates of the former regime without any trial (or after drumhead trials); continuous cracking down on the various political/cultural/social trends and movements; establishing strict and at times humiliating institutions for control of social behavior in general and making the “Islamic hijab” mandatory for women in particular; persecuting the ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities; systematic purging of critical intellectuals and political opponents both inside and outside of Iran; keeping in custody countless prisoners of conscience in dreadful detention centers where organized torture and mass execution is the order of the day; suppressing student and popular movements for liberty and democracy; politically/militarily intervening in the neighboring countries and attempting to make them satellite states through the use of terrorism, oppression and massacre; and the most nefarious and the source of all evil, drawing up a constitution based upon religion and revolving around the Shiite concept of “Guardianship of the Jurist” – which grants immense executive powers to the Supreme Leader as the sole representative of God on Earth; these are only a handful of the substantial anti-humanistic and anti-democratic procedures and practices of the Islamic Republic which, in Hanna Arendt’s words, have made “evil” not only in Iran but also in most of the Middle East “banal”.
Of course, during the past thirty-five years many different voices have been raised in protest against the said regime, demanding its overthrow and replacement with a democratic system amenable to the principles of human rights. All the same, these protests have done little so far in the way of fundamental change in the political system in Iran. I believe that among the reasons why the protests and movements against the Islamic Republic have generally failed, alongside many other problematics, one has been a dearth of deep and extensive theoretic understanding of the nature of the regime and how it functions; another has been the absence of a prevalent “subversive/transformative” discourse with a strong theoretical foundation; and last but not least, the nonexistence of a comprehensive democratic program to replace the Islamic Republic.
Not that there haven’t been steps taken in that direction; for a rather good number of informed and committed individuals from different walks have been treading that path for a long time now. However, the thinness of their subversive/transformative discourse against the thickness of the discourses opposing it on the one hand and the limits on the range of their discourse – most importantly, strictures on the public access – against the wide range of their opposing discourses on the other hand have rendered them for the most part inadequate and thus ineffectual.
In that light, the aim that I follow by publishing this collection of essays is to make the subversive/transformative discourse more far-reaching by dint of introducing and investigating a number of rather uncharted concepts and problematics in that regard; for it is only through the “consensus” of similar particular discourses that a general and popular discourse can take shape and have practical effect. This I hope will help the concerned audiences to get a better grasp of the situation in Iran which will in turn assist them in taking proper measures to set it right. As such, the essays in this book have been penned first and foremost in order to show that to put an end to the banality of evil and establish the principles of human rights and achieve a democratic system not only in Iran but also in the wider Middle East it is essential to overthrow the Islamic Republic.
Although in different essays I have occasionally reflected upon the “method” of that subversion, and my personal inclination is towards a popular revolution, that method is not necessarily the core of concentration of this book. That is because I believe the method of subversion is in practice the result of a host of different factors contingent upon a significant number of conditions that emerge in a given time in a given place, and are therefore mostly unpredictable. Nevertheless, what is a given for me is that for the reasons enumerated in this introduction and expounded on in the body of the book, it is mandatory that the Islamic Republic as a system be eventually overthrown. This is the “teleological” claim of this book.
However, I do not take for granted this teleological claim and commit myself throughout this book to explaining and expounding upon it by means of “accumulation of evidence” against the existence of the Islamic Republic. The whyness of this teleological claim will be investigated through an attempt to answer the question “what is the Islamic Republic”. In other words, this collection of essays will be in essence a study in the “ontology” of the Islamic Republic. I consider the whatness of the Islamic Republic an assemblage of particular “phenomena” whose coming together constructs the general phenomenon of the Islamic Republic. This is the “methodological” claim of this book.
According to The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy (2004), phenomenon
As it happens, Blackwell also emphasizes this objectivity when it mentions that “Husserl’s phenomenology was deeply influenced by Descartes’s demand that knowledge be clear and distinct and opposed relying on any a priori assumption that has to be justified elsewhere” (517). The study of phenomena is duly called “phenomenology”. To some extent predicated upon the given definitions of phenomenon, again according to Blackwell and in keeping with the approach adopted by a school that included such heterogeneous thinkers as Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty, the “slogan” of phenomenology is “to the things (phenomena) themselves” (517). That is exactly what I am going to do in and with this collection of essays: to study the things (phenomena) as they are.
However, I and the classic phenomenologists part company at this very juncture; for when phenomenology as an “approach”, and that mostly in its common definition, is our shared instrument, the “material” we study proves to be different. Simply put, whereas for them the material is a universal set of “subjective” phenomena including the mind and the “structure of consciousness”; for me in this collection of essays the material is a very particular set of “objective” historical, political, social and cultural phenomena that either construct or reinforce the Islamic Republic. These phenomena encompass a broad range of subjects such as Islamism, isolationism,extrinsicism, Israelophobia, false alternatives, non-reformability, crisis creation, extralegality, cultural hegemony, atomization of society, regional imperialism, and foreign intervention, with each of which I have dealt in detail in these essays in an attempt to define, explain, and analyze them.
Here I must clarify that not all these phenomena belong in the realm of the state or immediate state politics, and neither has their inception necessarily occurred in the era of the Islamic Republic. However, their discursive extension in the course of history which has heavily influenced not only the Islamic Republic but also the Iranian society as a whole has made them the subject of study of this book. It goes without saying that there is a logical possibility that any given phenomenon and its features will not remain the same in the passage of time under the influence of different factors and conditions; therefore, it is quite possible that the characteristics and even the very existence of the phenomena studied in this book may not hold true in the long run. What is crucial here is that the existence and characteristics of the phenomena under study hold true “according to existing evidence” in “their time and place of study”.
The fact of these phenomena holding true at present can also prove useful for the understanding of the past by the future generations. As such, a written testimony as to the howness of the present will remain for the coming generations so that they can keep track of their past and thus won’t commit the same mistakes that their forerunners did; as Iranians of today have done many times due to the compulsory separation from their near past and especially the era of the Constitutional Revolution (1905-1907), the first revolution with strong tendencies towards democracy in all of Asia. It is true that every generation should take care of its own immediate problems, but it is only fit and functional that it does so in the context of history. Of course, in doing that, it should avoid entangling itself in the mesh of the ideas of the past; for the past is to be the torch of the future, and not the fetter around its feet.
It must be emphasized right here that we must also be wary of reducing a system (a general phenomenon) to a number of visible constituents (particular phenomena), for the end result of a system is not necessarily the sum total of its “visible” constituents, and there are always invisible factors within or even without the system that influence its whatness and at times how it functions. For instance, the Islamic Republic is not just Islamism, the mullahs, the Revolutionary Guards, brainwashing, torture, and execution; it is all of them plus many other things that are not necessarily immediately visible. Occasionally, the Islamic Republic is we ourselves when we unconsciously get to play in the confines of its discourse; and when we forfeit our initiative by leaving it to the individuals and organizations close to the regime, futilely believing that what they do constitutes a movement towards democracy. In that situation, the Islamic Republic is not separate from us and has no life apart from the life of those thoughts and behaviors of ours that help extend it.
Nevertheless, an intense study of the visible constituents of a system and accumulation of evidence about them is certain to help us understand more profoundly the general “behavioral patterns” of that system, and such understanding is likely to result in an improvement in our ability to predict those behaviors, which in turn is important for choosing the proper method for dealing with that system. That said, I do not claim to have studied all the phenomena that construct the Islamic Republic, for that is an impossible feat. For me, it is enough that the fundamental phenomena studied here be set before the eyes of the reader so that the whatness and howness of those phenomena could clearly drive home the necessity of subverting the Islamic Republic.
The objectivist methods employed in this book follow, implement and articulate, with different degrees, the five very basic principles that any objectivist theory needs to consider, i.e. occurrence, frequency, and distribution of phenomena, and having an explanatory and a predictive nature. Should these methods become popular, everybody else could utilize them in order to study any other phenomena on their own; hopefully, this would also allow me to enjoy their discoveries and by that improve my knowledge and understanding of other phenomena.
I must now turn to the opponents of the discourse of subversion/transformation. For years, through a host of deceptive moves, they have taken to promoting an ambiguous discourse both inside and outside of Iran so that they can actively prevent the popularization of the discourse of subversion/transformation in the Iranian public sphere. They have engaged in activities such as hobnobbing with illustrious international thinkers, philosophers, and political, social and human rights activists; procuring noteworthy international human rights and journalism awards with the assistance of professional behind-the-scene lobbies (which has enhanced the range of their discourse on both the domestic and the international scenes); and appealing to the foreign governments that are in appearance against the Islamic Republic and exploiting their state media such as the BBC and the VOA; and by all these have drawn a black veil of ignorance on the anti-humanistic and anti-democratic essence of the Islamic Republic and its banality of evil.
Through the so-called discourse of “Religious Intellectualism”, these opponents of democracy have put forward the paradoxical concept of “Religious Democracy” that intends to maintain the status of religion in the area of politics by merely making modifications to the structure of the present regime and granting some limited social freedoms to the people and therefore keep the Islamic Republic in place by hook or by crook. However, this whole charade only constitutes a misrepresentation of the truth by this coterie who call themselves “Reformists” and “Religious-Nationalists”.
Many of these people are in fact the former officials and close affiliates of the Islamic Republic themselves, and they have been benefiting from the illegitimate and unmerited political, social, and economic rewards of being part of that regime. They are, therefore, naturally for the maintaining of the regime through the use of the many means they have at their disposal. However, by frequently putting themselves up as the “opposition” to the Islamic Republic, they in effect intentionally push to the margins the genuine but not so well-to-do opposition to the Islamic Republic.
A portion of the “leftist” Iranians in exile as well as a limited but influential number of the European and American leftists and liberals, whose only concern seems to be waging a ferocious war on the crimes of capitalism while having nothing whatsoever to do with the crimes of religious fundamentalism and Middle Eastern despotism, also keep lobbying for these Religious Intellectuals in the West. Since this coterie and its discourse constitutes a particular phenomenon within the larger context of the general phenomenon of the Islamic Republic, it will be challenged in this book.
The Religious Intellectuals’ classical Islamic reading of the Platonic and the Aristotelian worldviews makes them oriented towards accepting and applying the binary divisions of “form” and “substance” (Plato) and “accident” and “essence” (Aristotle), i.e. the very divisional deficiency that Derrida diagnoses as the root of “Western Metaphysics”. Based on that binarism, the Religious Intellectuals consider the existent Islamic Republic as the “crust” – that according to them can take a different shape – and, as opposed to that, they consider the nonexistent, ideal “Islamic State” as the “core” – which according to them must definitely be constant and permanent.
However, contrary to their stance, I believe that the core and the crust are the same; for after all any phenomenon is the sum total of its components, i.e. its ideas, discourses, and practices. In other words, the “essence” of a phenomenon is very much its “appearance”. As Berkeley says, “esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived)”. Predicated on that principle, it can be claimed that the ontology of a sociopolitical phenomenon to a great extent also constitutes its “epistemology”; which means that the “whatness” of that phenomenon is to a great degree equal to the “howness” of its ideational methods and behavioral patterns. Thus, the “truth” of a phenomenon is what it “is”, and not what it can or should “be”. Indeed, no rational/empirical mode of thinking will justify “what-is” on the basis of “what-is-not.” That which references “what-is-not” in order to justify “what-is” is neither science nor scholarship; it is religion, whatever appellation it is given.
It is with regard to these very binaristic, subjectivistic, and pseudo-religious fallacies of the Religious Intellectuals that the phenomenological study of the Islamic Republic becomes critically imperative; for the study of the Islamic Republic as an assortment of phenomena assessable in keeping with factual evidence will shut the door on the extremely abstract and anti-evidential ideations and interpretations of the Religious Intellectuals who are intent upon salvaging their beloved Islamic Republic based upon those abstractions.
Since phenomena are constituted/located in a given spatio-temporal medium and are therefore tangible via the five human senses, it is only natural that the study of “metaphysics” and “divine matters” lie outside their territory. It is exactly because of this that the Religious Intellectuals who are constantly concerned with religion and its interpolation into politics should not take kindly to phenomenology or any other objectivist method, and instead stick to abstract musings and hermeneutical ravings that leave the way open for their subjectivist and anti-historicist interpretations. Accordingly, the main task they have set themselves for the past couple of decades has been to eliminate historical differences “on the paper” via the panacea of hermeneutics so that they won’t have to acknowledge the validity of those differences in reality and get to deal with them “in practice”.
By taking advantage of the long and influential presence of mysticism in the Iranian mindset; by exploiting rhetoric and excessively playing with words and thereby reducing the truth to the text; by frequent term- and name-droppings; by adopting an “argument-from-authority” attitude instead of aspiring to achieve elucidation and helping the reader really “understand” whatever the argument and its point is, and in so doing compelling the reader to bow to the “erudition” of the author and stoop to the sublime and incorporeal “grandeur” of the text; by all these means the Religious Intellectuals conveniently confuse the undeniable historical facts of religion and obfuscate the nature of the “religious state” in Iran and occasionally the rest of the world in order to justify the necessity of religion in and for state politics. And this has become possible for them only because their particular kind of approach – which they have made popular via the means at their disposal – grants them such license.
By brewing together the various and at times contradictory ingredients adopted from the works of the Islamic sages, polemicists, and poets, and the ancient, medieval, modern and postmodern Western thinkers and philosophers, these present-day sophists and modern-time alchemists have made a soporific potion only a sip of which instantly kills off the desire for the truth. They who are to a great extent indebted to postmodern approaches, without giving much credit and weight to the anti-authoritative, liberatory, and justice-demanding aspects of postmodernism and with unduly dwelling on its relativistic nature, take advantage of the discursive diffusion predicated upon that relativism in order to advance their own anti-democratic and at heart anti-humanistic agenda. As a consequence, such has become the situation today that amidst this bedlam of absolute relativism these “intellectuals” have created day cannot be told from night.
It is first and foremost in defiance of this gloomy way of intellection that I have chosen in my works to write vividly and to study hard evidence instead of speculating about mere abstractions. This text and many others by my pen are explicable and assessable by reference to facts beyond them. Very simply, one can go and look for what has been studied in the text “outside” of it, and if it couldn’t be found out there, reject the text. In other words, verifiability or falsifiability of this text is predicated upon the existence or nonexistence of the evidence outside of it upon which it draws, and not on abstract notions and metaphysical matters to which the human senses have no experiential access whatsoever.
All the articles in this book concentrate on an objective study of phenomena that have constructed the Islamic Republic. My aim in taking that approach has been to popularize a set of objectivist methods in the intellectual sphere of Iran that for different reasons have either not been established or if established have been pushed to the margins today. Such marginalization of those ways has left the door open for the invasion of absolutely subjectivist methods, which in turn has led to the contemporary sociopolitical, intellectual, and cultural catastrophe. As such, it can be said that the entirety of this book constitutes a “discourse on the method”.
Here I must clarify that my emphasis on phenomenology does not necessarily entail an exclusion/avoidance/negligence of other approaches and methods of study, for in this collection of essays I have employed many different, mostly objectivist, methods for the study of different issues. What I mean by underscoring phenomenology, however, is that my concern has been an objectivist study of the phenomena – with the specifics explained above – that construct the Islamic Republic; phenomena that I believe for their anti-humanistic and anti-democratic existence the Islamic Republic must be overthrown.
From what has been said so far it must be deducible that I do not believe in any a priori “grand narrative” and ready-made prescription that has already assigned the points to be accepted and rejected; and the objectivist approach that I put forward and use in this book also demonstrates that I do not accept or reject any phenomenon unless I have studied it in light of concrete evidence in the medium of time and space and against the backdrop of humanistic and democratic principles. This is in essence a pluralistic approach that is in line with the final goal of this collection of essays which is the promotion and establishment of democracy.
In the end, I must express my gratitude to the people who undertook to make this book available to the public. My special thanks goes to my dear friends, Dr. David B. Downing and Mr. Abbas Khosravi Farsani, who suggested valuable amendments and improvements to the text. Past that, this book is the fruit of the toil of a group of people who have undertaken to publish it without benefiting from any state or corporate funding and without having access to massive propaganda machines to promote it. Whereas in the past thirty-five years the publishing industry in Iran has come under heavy supervision, regulation, and censorship by the Islamic Republic and thereby has lost much of its enlightening and edifying function, the Iranian publishing houses in exile – whether Internet-based or paper-based – despite all the hurdles in their way, have managed to pull the weight of improving the knowledge and understanding of Iranians both inside and outside of Iran. This calls for great appreciation.
EDITORS NOTE: This is the preface to the book of the same name, soon to be published by the Literature Club. Reza Parchizadeh, the author, is a Persian political theorist, analyst and activist. He has a BA and an MA in English Language and Literature from University of Tehran, Iran; has studied Media and Communication Studies at Örebro University, Sweden; and is a Ph.D. student in English Literature and Criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). At IUP, he is also editor-in-chief of the English Department’s Newsletter and editorial assistant of the department’s journal, Works and Days. His research interests include theory, philosophy, history, cultural studies, and political studies. He has published five books and many articles so far both in Persian and English.