Iran: Impending doom
Mehdi Hasan wrote a controversial article in last Fridays Guardian, titled “If you lived in Iran, wouldn’t you want a nuclear bomb?” illustrating their ambitions are only ‘rational’ given the encircling by Western allies. The piece ignited a ‘twitterspat’, a war of words, provoking wild responses from Labour MP’s, wives of Ministers and University professors. Being of Iranian descent, I thought it only right to highlight some of the issues highlighted and put forward my own views on this very controversial subject matter.
Iran, formally known as Persia, has a long history of violence and drama: invasions, conquerors, great leaders, warlords and revolutions. During the reign of Cyrus the Great the empire spread three continents, covering 8 million km. However, its geographical location alongside important trade routes, and imperative to modern history its oil reserves, has hindered as much as it helped her, making Iran a victim of foreign aggression. Today Iran demands our attention in the West as an aggressor; as an enemy; and as one of the biggest threats to our Western world.
The time of Cyrus encompassed a tolerant and embracing approach to life that is still revered throughout in Iranian culture today, just go to an Iranian’s house at feeding time. This ethos in part spawns from a connection with the Zoroastrian faith, which holds a sacred responsibility of every human to work towards the establishment of social justice on earth. A bisexual motherfucker Alexander the Great conquered the Persian empire in a rampage of destruction, burning the epicentre Persepolis and threatening the Zoroastrian ethos.
By the time of the Arab conquest their ethos had all but disappeared, with much falling into ‘a realm of darkness’, tainted by corruption and greed. The Persians adopted Islam, but over a period of centuries fashioned their own version of Islam known as Shiite.
Today Iran is a threat to the modern world, an oppressive Islamic regime with nuclear ambitions. To understand the issue you must look into the past; not at the Arabs; not at the Macedonians; and not at the Ancient Greeks, but at the governments that are today condemning Iran.
In 1953, a CIA and British organised coup helped overthrow the Iranian government, reinstating the oppressive Shah and reclaiming oil resources from the nationalist government led by Mohammad Mossadegh. The move, under the banner of communism, was instrumental in the 1979 revolution destroying the secular parliamentary system, creating huge anti-western sentiments and facilitating a rise in conservative Islam. Iranian history is domineered by three recurring themes: Leadership, foreign invaders and a synthesis between Islam and pre-Islamic times. The coup was instrumental in facilitating a rise in conservative Islamic leadership, culminating under an umbrella of anti-Western sentiments and masqueraded by a false hope of freedom from an oppressive Shah. The results of the 1979 revolution were much different to the ambitions of the Iranian people, whom thanks to the training given to their secret service the SAVAK were able to continue an inherent system of oppression, this time under Islam.
The issue of Iranian nuclear ambitions is controversial, and I am not supporting the regime, nor am I supporting their aspirations for building a nuclear warhead. What I am trying to highlight is their reasoning why. Try for a second to imagine your nation was stripped of its government and all political sway was directed towards an unelected leader, and the reason: business interests, economic gains for a country, a business, thousands of miles away. Your resources are being depleted and your freedom is restricted, you live in poverty while foreign businessmen get rich of your land. Now I know for a fact man would be pissed.
I am not saying that the issue is a simple as historical resentment, the issue is much deeper and has strategic importance to power in the region. However, what I am trying to highlight is their reasoning why. As David Wearing so aptly summarises, “If you don’t want Iran to go nuclear, don’t create the conditions under which that’s bound to happen”. To understand the issue of Iranian nuclear ambitions we must look at the situation rationally, and try to understand the historical and strategic reasons why. Ignoring domestic and humanitarian arguments and by no means supporting the regime, one can see clearly why Islamic leaders want to protect their land, their resources, and their people. PREACH.