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April 02, 2004

From the "Sake of Islam" to the "Sake of the System"
Babak Farzad  [info|posts]

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Although the popular MohammadReza Shah's opposition initiated and succeeded to rule out the monarchy in 1979 with a doctrine based on Freedom and Independence, it was not more than a few month after when "protecting Islam" became the main discourse of the leadership of Iran's government and its charismatic figure, Ayatollah Khomeini. During the first decade of IRI the most important characteristics of this political system were justified by the ideology of "protecting Islam".

The acceptance of UN Resolution 598 was the very first public sign of a fundamental change in this discourse. However, it was too late for Ayatollah Khomeini to establish this change in the whole structure of the Islamic Republic, and Hojatoleslam Khamenei took the responsibility right after when he assumed the role of supreme spiritual leader. In the first step he called himself "the leader of the Islamic Republic" and not "the leader of the Islamic Revolution". It was an important point since the Islamic Revolution was considered a movement which has to be strengthen and ideally "exported". The "leader of the Islamic Republic" was an end to an ideology whose real father (USSR) was about to collapse. It was the era of the new discourse: the sake of the Nezam (system). It is only a few years that this discourse has been established in the whole process of decision making of the system. IRI gave birth to a less harmful creature that international community seems to be happy to hug: logic of power in IRI.

Recently, under intense international pressure, IRI has signed an agreement on allowing the U.N. nuclear watchdog to conduct snap inspections across its territory. It was not clear at the beginning but now there is no doubt that IRI will succumb to every desire of Security Council or its individual members. It is not hard to assume that the supreme leader of IRI will soon be following Colonel Gadaffi's approach toward west and international community.

There are many ways to extend this though. My own picture of this new order seems not be clear enough to state my own position but let's open the debate with the following questions:

For many of us, direct intervention has reminded us of, most of the time, a war. Apparently that is not the case necessarily. Where do we stand on the responsibility (or right) of the international community to directly intervene in individual countries? It is not only the wisdom of intervening, but the ultimate right to do so.

We may consider the international pressure mounted on Iran to reveal its nuclear activities a right of the international community. The same intense pressure can be used in favor of democracy and human rights. Where is the line where we have to say "That's it. This is something to be dealt with among ourselves?".

Comments
Tautologist at April 2, 2004 08:30 PM [permalink]:

1." ... Islamic Revolution was considered a movement which has to be strengthen and ideally IMPORTED..." I guess IMPORTED should be replaced with EXPORTED.

2. Khamenehei still believes that he is THE leader of islamic REVOLUTION or at least this is title they use for domestic consumption, though they might not use it in international scene.

Vahid at April 3, 2004 03:46 PM [permalink]:

I do not approve of international intervention in internal matters of any country unless there is some international law being disrespected. I agree that one may think that this could be helpful in some cases (maybe in case of Iran) but I think this is a very dangerous think to become a trend. Respecting human rights is a global value, but there are many countries across the world that human rights is being disrespected in oneway or another. So it is not possible to fix this issue by asking international community to put pressure on one-another. A better way is to encourage and educated people across the world about human rights.
But in case of UN nuclear inspection, I think it was different and Iran was breaking some international law. So the intervention was right.

Atmikha at April 3, 2004 06:45 PM [permalink]:

The obvious answer to this question is that the best defense is a strong offense.

In order to escape criticism and interference regarding human rights, or the use of nuclear power, Iran needs to step up and take a leadership position on these very issues. For example, 1) a big, loud presence at all the major events worldwide, especially the ones with media coverage, 2)Some kind of National Awareness campaign, billboards, school assemblies, gala grand openings of nuclear energy plants, etc. 3) A FREE PRESS WHICH TOLERATES CRITICISM AND DISSENT.In other words, enough openess to pacify onlookers.
(Sigh)
Is it the fear that disorder = chaos that keeps Iran in chains?
Is that what the message of the beautiful geometric art forms in the tilework and fabulous engineering of the mosques telling us?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 10, 2004 04:22 AM [permalink]:

Fantastic speech by Victor Davis Hanson at UC Berkley: Here (Note: it's very long)
It is so delightful and refreshing to see a real intellectual for a change, to remember what the word actually was supposed to mean.
(Link From LGF)