country in Western Asia
(Redirected from Islamic Republic of Iran)

Iran, formerly known as Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), is a country in southwestern Eurasia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia, the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and Azerbaijan; with Kazakhstan and Russia across the Caspian Sea; to the northeast by Turkmenistan; to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second-largest nation in the Middle East and the 18th-largest in the world; with 78.4 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 17th most populous nation. It is the only country that has both a Caspian Sea and Indian Ocean coastline. Iran has long been of geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz.

Over the past two years, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), issued 15 reports confirming Iran’s full compliance with the terms and conditions of the JCPOA. What did the United States do in return? Not only it did not fulfill its commitments to lift nuclear related sanctions and facilitate normal business with Iran but it withdrew from the deal and rewarded Iran’s goodwill by imposing stringent new economic sanctions and unleashing a torrent of hostile rhetoric. ~Hossein Mousavian
The Islamic Republic of Iran is presenting in good faith its proposal for constructive interaction and a just dialogue. However, if some try to impose their will on the Iranian people through resort to a language of force and threat with Iran, we will reconsider our entire approach to the nuclear issue. ~President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
I would also remind President Trump that there is no congressional authorization for a war with Iran... A unilateral U.S. attack on Iran would be illegal and unconstitutional. ~Bernie Sanders

The Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 established the nation's first parliament, which operated within a constitutional monarchy. Following a coup d'état by the U.K. and the U.S. in 1953, Iran gradually became autocratic. Growing dissent against foreign influence and political repression culminated in the Iranian Revolution, which led to the end of the Imperial State of Iran and the establishment of an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979. Tehran is the capital and largest city, serving as the cultural, commercial, and industrial center of the nation. Its current head of state is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and its current head of government is President Ebrahim Raisi.



Iran's civilization and culture has become imbued and infused with humanitarianism, respect for the life, belief and faith of others, propagation of tolerance and compromise and avoidance of violence, bloodshed and war. The luminaries of Iranian literature, in particular our Gnostic literature, from Hafiz, Mowlavi [better known in the West as Rumi] and Attar to Saadi, Sanaei, Naser Khosrow and Nezami, are emissaries of this humanitarian culture.~Shirin Ebadi
I found that many Americans did not even know that a country named Iran existed, let alone what it was like. ~Ashraf Pahlavi
Without the early Persian poets, Iranians might have ended up like so many other nations in the Middle East who lost their native languages and became Arabic speakers. ~Amir Taheri
I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran [if it attacks Israel]... they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. ~Hillary Clinton
Iranians are liars. ~Lindsey Graham
Deep is the primitive belief that it is the Anglo-Saxons who are the puppet masters of everything that happens in Iran. ~ Christopher Hitchens

H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Address to the United Nations General Assembly (17 September 2005)


(Full text)

  • In the Name of the God of Mercy, Compassion, Peace, Freedom and Justice. Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Today we have gathered here to exchange views about the world, its futureand our common responsibilities towards it.
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran is the manifestation of true democracy in the region. The discourse of the Iranian nation is focused on respect for the rights of human beings and a quest for tranquility, peace, justice and development for allthrough monotheism
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to provide full and comprehensive support to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and their elected governments, and will actively help them in the establishment of order and security.
  • In Palestine, a durable peace will be possible through justice, an end to discrimination and the occupation of Palestinian land, the return of all Palestinian refugees, and the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state
  • Those hegemonic powers, who consider scientific and technological progress of independent and free nations as a challenge to their monopoly on these important instruments of power and who do not want to see such achievements in other countries, have misrepresented Iran's healthy and fully safeguarded technological endeavors in the nuclear field as pursuit of nuclear weapons. This is nothing but a propaganda ploy.
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran is presenting in good faith its proposal for constructive interaction and a just dialogue. However, if some try to impose their will on the Iranian people through resort to a language of force and threat with Iran, we will reconsider our entire approach to the nuclear issue.
  • From the beginning of time, humanity has longed for the day when justice, peace, equality and compassion envelop the world. All of us can contribute to the establishment of such a world. When that day comes, the ultimate promise of all Divine religions will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being who is heir to all prophets and pious men. He will lead the world to justice and absolute peace.
    • End of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Address to the United Nations General Assembly (17 September 2005)

  • Don’t Latin Americans have the right to ask why their elected governments are being opposed and coup leaders supported? Or, Why must they constantly be threatened and live in fear? The people of Africa are hardworking, creative and talented... Don’t they have the right to ask why their enormous wealth – including minerals – is being looted, despite the fact that they need it more than others? Again, do such actions correspond to the teachings of Christ and the tenets of human rights?
    The brave and faithful people of Iran too have many questions and grievances, including: the coup d’etat of 1953 and the subsequent toppling of the legal government of the day, opposition to the Islamic revolution, transformation of an Embassy into a headquarters supporting the activities of those opposing the Islamic Republic (many thousands of pages of documents corroborate this claim), support for Saddam in the war waged against Iran, the shooting down of the Iranian passenger plane, freezing the assets of the Iranian nation, increasing threats, anger and displeasure vis-à-vis the scientific and nuclear progress of the Iranian nation (just when all Iranians are jubilant and celebrating their country’s progress), and many other grievances that I will not refer to in this letter.
  • If all of you gather – and also invite your ancestors from hell – you will not be able to stop the Iranian nation.
  • The period and era of using nuclear weapons is over ... Nuclear bombs are not anymore helpful and those who are stockpiling nuclear weapons, politically they are backward, and they are mentally retarded...The Iranian nation is not seeking an atomic bomb, nor do they need to build an atomic bomb ... For defending ourselves we do not need a nuclear weapon
    • Iran's Ahmadinejad says anyone stockpiling atom bombs "retarded", Reuters, (8 Nov 2012)
  • They accuse Iran, like all nations that seek to rapidly find their way out of the current domination. We don't need an atom bomb. ... And besides, it is not atom bombs that threaten the world, but Western morals and culture declining in values... Colonialist thinking has not yet disappeared. Only the method has changed, but the system is still there. To save their economy, they impose war everywhere to cover their failure, the failure of the capitalist system. We are a sovereign state and will deal with who we want... Our uranium, our oil, we are going to sell them to who we want.
    • Iran does not need nuclear bomb, says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Telegraph UK, (15 April 2013)
  • In America, there’s a reverence for soldiers. One is constantly reminded of their courage, their sacrifice. Soldiers have an implied halo of selflessness, they move with a dignified bearing. Flight attendants upgrade uniformed soldiers to first class, restaurants offer veteran discounts, strangers shake their hands and say: “Thank you for your service.”
    In Iran every able-bodied male between the ages of 18-35 who isn’t rich or crafty enough to get out of it serves in the army at some point. It’s treated not as a noble calling, but as an annoyance.
  • Interesting nugget here... @tparsi had been informed by a Hill staffer in touch with the Pentagon that military strikes were imminent. Apparently everyone thought these strikes were really happening right up until the last moment. @esaagar ... @tparsi also warns that any military strike could easily lead to full blown conflict. "The Idea that there’s such a thing as a limited strike on Iran is frankly preposterous." ... (24 June 2019)
  • Wait... you [President Donald Trump] only thought to ask about how many people would die 10 minutes before the strike??? That’s a rather important piece of info to nearly overlook. (21 June 2019)
  • NEW: Interview with Head of the National Iranian American Council @tparsi . He told us it would be "political suicide" for any Iranian politician to meet with Trump as long as Bolton/Pompeo are around. @esaagar ... #rising #sanctions #Iran #iranwar
  • The reason most of my countrymen would tell you that they carry a grudge against the United States is that the U.S. government has given its unconditional support to a monarch who has terrorized a whole nation, plundered its wealth and bought billions of dollars' worth of military equipment which neither he nor our nation knows how to use.
    • Reza Baraheni (1977) The Crowned Cannibals: Writings on Repression in Iran, p. 10
  • The U.S. President's order to carry out a lethal drone strike violated the UN Charter's prohibition on the use of force. The assassination of General Qassim Suleimani represented an act of war against a country with whom the United States was not at war.
  • We will not be silent as our president publicly announces willingness to commit a minimum of 52 violations of international law and war crimes — attacking civilian and cultural centers, including churches, museums, mosques and libraries in Iran.
  • War is a crime against the poor civilians of Iran, Iraq, and the whole Middle East region, who pay for U.S. wars with the destruction of their lives, their health, their homes and their country’s environment.
    • William Barber II Letter Asking the United Nations to Hold Trump/U.S. Accountable for War Crimes (8 Jan 2020)
  • In tandem with the US moves, Saudi Arabia – one of the countries seen as pushing US policy – has increased its oil production to sell to former buyers of Iranian oil, while at the same time vocally supporting moves to strangle Iranian exports. It is not hard, then, to see how these moves might be viewed in Tehran: as part of an escalating offensive from multiple sources threatening its own home front in a campaign of economic warfare designed to weaken the regime. The depth of the US stake in this increasingly dangerous game is far harder to judge, given the usual confusion of Trump’s flip-flopping and the machinations of Bolton... All of which leaves us to contemplate the most frightening element of all in a complex crisis: that the current occupant of the White House lacks any of the skills required to successfully defuse it.
  • Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens. Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom. Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens – leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections – then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world. States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.
  • We got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.
  • Where will it [Iran] drop it [the future nuclear bomb], this bomb? On Israel? It would not have gone off 200 meters into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed to the ground.
  • If we're leaving our fate to sociopathic buffoons, we're finished... because of US power which is overwhelming... you just look at the world, you don't see that when the U.S. imposes sanctions, murders, devastating sanctions, that's the only country that can do that, but everyone has to follow. Europe may not like, in fact hate actions on Iran, but they have to follow, they have to follow the master, or else they get kicked out of the international financial system... it's a decision in Europe to be subordinate to the master in Washington. Other countries don't even have a choice....
  • And back to the coronavirus, one of the most shocking harsh aspects of it, is the use of sanctions, to maximize the pain, perfectly consciously, Iran is in a zone, enormous internal problems by the stranglehold of tightening sanctions, which are consciously designed to make them suffer and suffer bitterly.
  • All words fail, just as when you see thousands of people dying in the Mediterranean, fleeing from a region that has been devastated... and being sent to the deaths in the Mediterranean, you don't know what words to use.
  • The Crisis, the civilizational crisis of the West at this point is devastating... it does bring up childhood memories of listening to Hitler raving on the radio to raucous crowds... it makes you wonder if this species is even viable.
  • Iran is the only country in the world, the only one with elections, including the United States, including Israel, including you name it, where the liberals, or the progressives, have won two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote in six elections: two for president; two for the Parliament, the Majlis; two for the mayoralties. In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own.
  • I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran [if it attacks Israel]. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. That's a terrible thing to say but those people who run Iran need to understand that because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic.
  • It is unlikely that Iran is involved – but the unpredictability of US and Saudi foreign policy has exacerbated the danger of military action... Saudi Arabia’s claim that two of its oil tankers have been sabotaged off the coast of the UAE is vague in detail – but could create a crisis that spins out of control and into military action... Although the US is militarily superior to Iran by a wide margin, the Iranians as a last resort could fire rockets or otherwise attack Saudi and UAE oil facilities. Such apocalyptic events are unlikely – but powerful figures in Washington, such as the national security adviser John Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, appear prepared to take the risk of a war breaking out... Bolton and Pompeo are reported to have used some mortar rounds landing near the US embassy in Baghdad in February as an excuse to get a reluctant Pentagon to prepare a list of military options against Iran... the US and Saudi Arabia have been talking up war against Iran just as economic sanctions are seriously biting. Iranian oil exports have dropped from 2.8 to 1.3 million barrels a day... Promises by the EU, UK, France and Germany to enable the Islamic republic to avoid sanctions on its oil trade and banking have not been fulfilled. Commercial enterprises are too frightened of being targeted by the US treasury to risk breaching sanctions.
  • The precise reason for Hitchens’ theft and publication of my private mail is that I object to the characterization of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as having “threatened to wipe Israel off the map.” I object to this translation of what he said on two grounds. First, it gives the impression that he wants to play Hitler to Israel’s Poland, mobilizing an armored corps to move in and kill people. But the actual quote, which comes from an old speech of Khomeini, does not imply military action, or killing anyone at all. The second reason is that it is just an inexact translation. The phrase is almost metaphysical. He quoted Khomeini that “the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time.” It is in fact probably a reference to some phrase in a medieval Persian poem. It is not about tanks.
  • Saudi Arabia is one of the only three countries in the world known to maintain the death penalty for people who allegedly committed crimes as children, along with Sudan and Iran.
    • Adam Coogle, CNN (25 September 2015).
  • The fifth century BCE historian Herodotus claimed not only that the Persians were very fond of wine, but that they routinely made important decisions while drunk on it. According to Herodotus, the day after such a drunken deliberation, the Persians would reconsider their decision and if they still approved, adopt it. This is, to put it mildly, a highly unlikely image of a group of people who were able to carve out one of the largest empires in antiquity and sustain it for two centuries. Are we to think that they just got lucky over and over again when they were drunk out of their minds? This is certainly the view that the Greeks promoted and Iranian irrationality remains a topos in Western culture... But if one looks at the internal Iranian evidence, for example Zoroastrian texts, a new image of the importance of wine in classical Iran emerges. The most interesting of these texts is one called The Spirit of Wisdom from the sixth century CE. One chapter discusses how wine can bring one's good and bad dispositions, and argues that those who drink it in moderation benefit in enhanced awareness and intellectual facility: "this that is forgotten will be remembered and goodness will take place in thought and it will increase the sight of the eye and hearing of the ear and the speech of the tongue, and doing work and managing will proceed faster." Relative temperance, however, is emphasized. "But anyone who drinks wine must be conscious to drink in moderation, since through moderate drinking of wine this much goodness will come to him, because food will be digested and kindle fire [of the body], and increase intelligence and the mind and seed and blood, and reject torment."
  • The world must prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That starts with tougher sanctions and aggressive, principled, and direct high-level diplomacy, without preconditions. We will pursue this strengthened diplomacy alongside our European allies, and with no illusions about the Iranian regime. We will present Iran with a clear choice: if you abandon your nuclear weapons program, support for terror, and threats to Israel, you will receive meaningful incentives; so long as you refuse, the United States and the international community will further ratchet up the pressure, with stronger unilateral sanctions; stronger multilateral sanctions inside and outside the U.N. Security Council, and sustained action to isolate the Iranian regime. The Iranian people and the international community must know that it is Iran, not the United States, choosing isolation over cooperation. By going the extra diplomatic mile, while keeping all options on the table, we make it more likely the rest of the world will stand with us to increase pressure on Iran, if diplomacy is failing.
  • President Obama, working closely with our international partners and Congress, has put in place unprecedented sanctions against Iran. Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon, but has continually failed to meet its obligations under the NPT and several United Nations Security Council resolutions, and it cannot demonstrate with any credibility that its program is peaceful. The President is committed to using all instruments of national power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. When President Obama took office, Iran was ascendant in the region, and the international community was divided over how to address Iran's nuclear violations. The President's early offer of engagement with Iran - quickly rebuffed by the regime - allowed the United States to expose Iranian intransigence and rally the international community as never before. Working with our European allies and with Russia and China, the administration gained unprecedented agreement for the toughest ever UN sanctions against Iran, laying the foundation for additional national financial and energy sanctions imposed by the United States and other nations. As a result, Iran is now increasingly isolated and the regime faces crippling economic pressure - pressure that will only build over time. President Obama believes that a diplomatic outcome remains the best and most enduring solution. At the same time, he has also made clear that the window for diplomacy will not remain open indefinitely and that all options - including military force - remain on the table. But we have an obligation to use the time and space that exists now to put increasing pressure on the Iranian regime to live up to its obligations and rejoin the community of nations, or face the consequences.
  • These principles have underpinned important progress in the last eight years. When President Obama and Vice President Biden assumed office, the world economy was in the worst crisis since the Great Depression, our alliances were strained, Osama bin Laden remained at large, Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon, and we were mired in two costly wars. We brought bin Laden to justice, crippled al Qaeda's core leadership, saved America from a second Great Depression, repaired our alliances, reestablished relations with Cuba while pressing for reforms, and—without firing a shot, dropping a bomb, or putting a single American soldier in harm's way—blocked Iran's ability to pursue a nuclear weapon. America is stronger abroad and safer at home because of this principled leadership.
  • Democrats will call off the Trump Administration's race to war with Iran and prioritize nuclear diplomacy, de-escalation, and regional dialogue. Democrats believe the United States should not impose regime change on other countries and reject that as the goal of U.S. policy toward Iran. We believe the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) remains the best means to verifiably cut off all of Iran's pathways to a nuclear bomb. The Trump Administration's unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA isolated us from our allies and opened the door for Iran to resume its march toward a nuclear weapons capacity that the JCPOA had stopped. That's why returning to mutual compliance with the agreement is so urgent. The nuclear deal was always meant to be the beginning, not the end, of our diplomacy with Iran. Democrats support a comprehensive diplomatic effort to extend constraints on Iran's nuclear program and address Iran's other threatening activities, including its regional aggression, ballistic missile program, and domestic repression.
  • The American people have the greatest respect and admiration for the Iranian people. Your Kings from Cyrus and Darius are known among those famous monarchs who have advanced the cause of humanity. Your scientists have contributed to the foundations on which we have built our industrial society. Your philosophers and poets have enriched the culture of the west.
  • Over 100,000 Jews lived in Iran prior to the 1979 revolution... Many left right afterward, and the population has slowly declined ever since. Jewish leaders estimate there are between 12,000 and 30,000 Jews here today, making Iran's the second-largest Jewish population in the Middle East after Israel. But those who have chosen to stay in Iran have a long history of opposition to hawkish Israeli governments. Many consider themselves Jews but not Zionists. The Islamic Republic of Iran allows freedom of worship for Jews and Christians... [Unlike] some other countries in the region and in Europe, Jewish temples in Iran have not been attacked... But institutional restrictions on Jews remain... They are not able to get certain government jobs reserved for Muslims and are banned from serving as professional soldiers, although they face conscription like other Iranians.
  • Where are your valiant warriors and your priests? Where are your hunting parties and your feasts? Where is that warlike mien, and where are those? Great armies that destroyed our country's foes? . . . Count Iran as a ruin, as the lair of lions and leopards! Look now and despair!
  • The United States, through its assassination of top-ranking Iranian General Qasim Soleimani, has once again opened Pandora’s box in its conduct of foreign policy. How long does Washington think it can enjoy unique monopoly over exercise of these forms of international violence before they are turned against us?
  • No one in Europe and few in the world supported Washington’s tearing up of the nuclear treaty with Iran, nor do they support the crushing sanctions the US has imposed upon Iran since then for which it demands compliance. Increasingly Europe and other “allies” no longer find it comfortable to be allied with a US whose foreign policies are obsessively focussed on identification of enemies and where we expect our allies to fall into line—starting before the US invasion of Iraq.
  • The White House has yet to fully address why an Iranian government, when it receives the estimated $150 billion windfall from unfrozen assets that’s to follow sanctions relief plus the benefits of reopened trade, will not significantly increase its terror-sponsorship in the short term.
  • For Iranians, 1979 is an obvious turning point in the country’s history. For them, it wasn’t so much the slow realization of what had happened as the growing disbelief at the naivete of their parents and grandparents who had cheered on a revolution that replaced the tyranny of monarchy with the even worse tyranny of religion, one that was politically but also socially and economically repressive, effectively freezing the country in time and disconnecting it from the world seemingly forever. In December 2017, when demonstrations erupted across Iran, the weeks of unrest were the most serious threat to the Islamic Republic since the Green Movement of 2009. Angry at the blood and money spent overseas, Iranians chanted, “Let go of Syria, think about us!” In a video that circulated online, one young woman also addressed the older crowd of mostly men around her during a night protest with this remonstration: “You raised your fists [in 1979] and ruined our lives. Now we raise our fists [to fix your mistake]. Be men, join us. I will stand in front of you and protect you. Come represent your country.”
    • Kim Ghattas, Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East (2020)
  • Since the U.S. had previously seemed to be a protector of the right to self-determination, Iranians felt terribly betrayed when the CIA overthrew the democratically elected constitutional government headed by Mosaddeq and installed the Shah. Then, with increasing visibility and high-handedness, both “American government and business interests acted the role of the exploiter and corrupter.”
    • Richard A. Horsley, Religion and Empire: People, Power, and the Life of the Spirit (2003), pp. 68-69.
  • So the question is, how do China, Russia, Iran and other countries break free of this U.S. dollarization strategy? As now constituted, dollarization creates a circular flow that finances American military spending by forcing the costs onto foreign central banks holding dollars. The solution obviously is to avoid using dollars in order to break free of American control of your economy. To do this, you have to have a non-Dollar currency. This currency alternative has to be large enough to have a critical mass, so that it can be used internationally. That’s why China, Russia, Iran and their allies are trying to create their own currency area, incorporating largely the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
  • Casting the Trump administration’s credibility gap into sharp relief, allies like Japan and Germany have demanded more “credible” evidence to support the U.S. claim. While President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been unequivocal in their assertion that Iran was responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, some of America’s closest allies are demanding more proof.
    Both Japan and Germany have requested more concrete evidence to support the Trump administration’s insistence that Iran was behind the twin attacks on the Norwegian-owned Front Altar and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous near the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday. Jeremy Corbyn, Britain’s opposition leader, said more “credible evidence” was needed to support Trump’s allegation.... According to The New York Times, other European leaders have also been hesitant to lay the blame on Iran ― a doubt fueled in part by their “distrust of the Trump administration and its hawkish policy toward Tehran,” the paper said.
  • There are approximately 100,000 clerics in Iran and over 60,000 of them are in Qom. Most of them are theology students who have been studying there for many years, between 10-25 years on average.... Every student has to study a minimum of 25 years before he can attain the status of ‘ayatollah’, however most students spend 10 years studying in the hawza.
  • The tension between these conflicting aims is perhaps particularly acute in the late twentieth century because of the publicity given to the existence of various alternative “models” for emulation. On the one hand, there are the extremely successful “trading states”—chiefly in Asia, like Japan and Hong Kong, but also including Switzerland, Sweden, and Austria—which have taken advantage of the great growth in world production and in commercial interdependence since 1945, and whose external policy emphasizes peaceful, trading relations with other societies. In consequence, they have all sought to keep defense spending as low as is compatible with the preservation of national sovereignty, thereby freeing resources for high domestic consumption and capital investment. On the other hand, there are the various “militarized” economies—Vietnam in Southeast Asia, Iran and Iraq as they engage in their lengthy war, Israel and its jealous neighbors in the Near East, and the USSR itself—all of which allocate more (in some cases, much more) than 10 percent of their GNP to defense expenditures each year and, while firmly believing that such levels of spending are necessary to guarantee military security, manifestly suffer from that diversion of resources from productive, peaceful ends. Between the two poles of the merchant and the warrior states, so to speak, there lie most of the rest of the nations of this planet, not convinced that the world is a safe enough place to allow them to reduce arms expenditure to Japan’s unusually low level, but also generally uneasy at the high economic and social costs of large-scale spending upon armaments, and aware that there is a certain trade-off between short-term military security and long-term economic security.
    • Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500-2000 (1987)
  • I come from the noble land of Iran, representing a great and renowned nation, famous for its age old civilization as well as its distinguished contribution to the founding and expansion of the Islamic civilization; a nation that has survived the strong winds of despotism, reactionism and submission, relying on its cultural and human wealth; a nation which pioneered in the East the establishment of civil society and constitutional government in the course of its contemporary history, even though as a result of foreign interference and domestic deficiencies, at times it may have faltered in its course; a nation which has been at the forefront of the struggle for independence and against colonialism, though its national movement was subverted by a foreign- orchestrated coup. And, a nation which carries the torch of its popular revolution, not won by force of arms or a coup, but by dethroning of the regime of coup d'etat through the power of "word" and "enlightenment". In the course of its new experience, our nation has endured eight years of an imposed war, pressure, sanctions and various allegations. It has also fallen victim to terrorism, this ominous and sinister phenomenon of the twentieth century.
  • Iran was indeed Islamized, but it was not Arabized. Persians remained Persians. And after an interval of silence, Iran reemerged as a separate, different and distinctive element within Islam, eventually adding a new element even to Islam itself. Culturally, politically, and most remarkable of all even religiously, the Iranian contribution to this new Islamic civilization is of immense importance. The work of Iranians can be seen in every field of cultural endeavor, including Arabic poetry, to which poets of Iranian origin composing their poems in Arabic made a very significant contribution. In a sense, Iranian Islam is a second advent of Islam itself, a new Islam sometimes referred to as Islam-i Ajam. It was this Persian Islam, rather than the original Arab Islam, that was brought to new areas and new peoples: to the Turks, first in Central Asia and then in the Middle East in the country which came to be called Turkey, and India. The Ottoman Turks brought a form of Iranian civilization to the walls of Vienna...
  • Iranian leaders regularly pray for America's death. We currently tolerate this hatred because we don't seem to fear its consequences.
  • As an Iranian Jew raised in Tehran, educated in the United States, and a frequent visitor to Israel, the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran has pulled me in different directions. Like many Iranians, I am thankful that – at least for now – my country of birth will be spared a military attack. As a naturalized American, I am keen to avoid another costly entanglement in the abyss that is called the Middle East. But as a Jew? This is where my loyalties seem questionable to the large Iranian-American Jewish community, which avidly supports the state of Israel. As a Jew I am expected to condemn any accommodation with a regime that denies the holocaust and routinely calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. As a Jew I am steadfast in my defense of the country that is resolute in its defense of the Jewish cause. As a Jew I tread with caution. As an Iranian I march with hope. I understand and appreciate this dichotomy. Being a Jew was never easy in a Muslim country. Like Esther and Mordechai and the feast of Purim, our story has had biblical dimensions of miracles and misfortunes. Iranian Jews were emancipated by Cyrus the Great and alternatively integrated or persecuted by successive Persian dynasties that spanned 2500 years.But they mostly persevered, adopted the language and the customs, and made indelible contributions to one of the most beautiful cultures in the world. The large Iranian-American Jewish community in the United States, whose population is estimated to be close to 120,000, still speak, read, and write Farsi, celebrate Persian holidays, and reminisce about the “good old days before the revolution”. But even as they yearn for a free Iran, they do not see themselves as part of its future. Iran is no longer Persian, they say. It has become a strange hybrid Arab country that threatens the existence of Israel. In that vein, any threat, real or perceived, prompts an emotional response in my community on a par with receiving catastrophic news. In fact, any news short of a complete change to liberal democracy is considered unacceptable. But western-style democracy has eluded Iran for centuries, and the reality is that the nuclear train has already left the station. The best the world can do is to put mechanisms in place that may alter the behavior of the regime, in the hope of gradual normalization of relations between Iran and the west. Is it guaranteed? Absolutely not. Is it worth a try? Yes.
  • Much of the land once ruled by Nader Shah today forms the Islamic Republic of Iran, established in 1979 following the popular revolution that forced the abdication of the shah, Reza Pahlavi. His fall and exile saw the return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who oversaw the creation of a Shi’a-dominated theocracy that fused a populist socio-economic programme with fundamentalist Islamism. Virulent hatred of ‘The Great Satan’ America and the West (as demonstrated by the 1979-81 US embassy hostage crisis in Tehran and the death-penalty fatwa issued in 1989 against British author Salman Rushdie for his supposedly blasphemous work, The Satanic Verses), and anti-Zionism, provided the glue that held together the Republic. Whilst adhering to some democratic forms, Khomeini established a rigid theocratic leadership which ruthlessly stamped out opposition, establishing a vice-like grip over political activity that has never been relinquished. The Supreme Leader, an ayatollah, backed by the elite Revolutionary Guard and a vicious secret police, controls all policy and outranks the elected president and assembly.
  • Shortly after the Islamic revolution, Iran was plunged into crisis by Saddam Hussein’s invasion of its oil-rich province of Khuzestan (see page 354), the repelling of which proved hugely costly in terms both of human lives and resources: The Republic has since become a bastion of anti- Western militancy in the Middle East, sponsoring terrorist groups — notably Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza — from the early 1980s onwards and funding suicide attacks on Israeli and American targets. It has also attempted to establish itself as the leading Islamic power — its allegiance to the Shi’a brand of Islam constituting a major challenge to the more numerous Sunni countries in the region, and Saudi Arabia in particular. Since 2003 Iran has flourished as a regional superpower in the vacuum caused by America’s bloody war in Iraq.
  • From the Iranian point of view, the deal now is a lose-lose because the Americans are rewarding Iran with more sanctions as Iran is cooperating or has cooperated for two years with the IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency - to fully comply with every commitment that's in the deal...
    • All Things Considered NPR (7 July 2019)
  • Revolution in Iran happened because the people of Iran wanted democracy and freedom and an end to the constant foreign intervention in the country's affairs, and Khomeini promised to deliver all they wanted. They looked up to him, as he had strongly stood up against the Shah and had refused to back off. Most of his supporters, whether secular or religious, were not aware that he was planning to leave the power in the hands of one high-ranking cleric to basically govern the country. Khomeini and his advisors rewrote their proposed constitution, which was based on Islamic laws. Soon, the newspapers that had in any way criticized Khomeini and his plans were shut down, and those protesting the closings were attacked. Opposition groups were banned ... Iran is a country that is suffering from the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the trauma that has caused this condition continues... It would be logical to say that Iran’s bubble has to burst, and it has to burst on its own and not through foreign intervention. I’m sure that as you read some of Iran’s history during the last few pages, you have come to see that, sooner or later, foreign intervention leads to catastrophe. It is different, for example, when a country falls into civil war and the United Nations has to move in to save lives... Bombing Iran would be the wrong way to burst the bubble. Democracy is not a sudden event; it is a long process which cannot be rushed. In a way, Iran has had to go all the way back and replay the parts of its history from which it had been robbed. The way Reza Shah pushed Iranians and made the women take off their hejabs and tried to take religion out of people’s lives when they were not ready for it was doomed to have severe consequences, which we witnessed after the Islamic revolution.
  • Iran was in war with Iraq for 8 years, and Ayatollah Khomeini tried to topple Saddam, but he failed. Then, a few years later, in 2003, the U.S. entered Iraq and got rid of Saddam, but it got tangled in a never-ending conflict that turned Iraq into rubble and killed thousands of innocent Iraqis. Who is the winner of this terrible war? In my humble opinion, it is the Iranian regime, because with Saddam gone, they have tried to encourage an Islamic Republic in Iraq, which is the only other country with a majority Shia population in the region, and if this becomes reality, it could turn Iran into a huge power in the region. Actually, the U.S. invasion of Iraq greatly damaged the opposition in Iran, as now anyone who criticizes the Iranian regime is accused of asking for a U.S. invasion of Iran and working for the CIA. So one of the undisputable side effects of this war has been the strengthening of the government of Iran... Is democracy possible in Iran? Yes, it is. For many years, the people of Iran have wanted democracy, but they have been sabotaged not only by foreign powers but also by their own leaders. Now, the only way to find democracy would be to allow it to complete its process. And this process can speed up if the people of Iran take a hard look at their history, acknowledge and study its horrors, and try to learn from it. Even though foreigners have intervened in our affairs, we cannot throw all the responsibility onto their shoulders. The opposition in Iran is scattered and disorganized. Most opposition groups hang on to old ideologies that have become obsolete, and they refuse to see that an ideology driven leadership is not what the country needs. We need a government with strong ethical codes to protect all Iranians, including minorities, and in order to have such a government, we need a constitution that can support it. But how can we get there?
  • Our differences are real, and the difficult history between our nations cannot be ignored. But it is possible to change. The path of violence and rigid ideology, a foreign policy based on threats to attack your neighbors or eradicate Israel—that’s a dead end. A different path, one of tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict, leads to more integration into the global economy, more engagement with the international community, and the ability of the Iranian people to prosper and thrive.
  • Iranian society is multi-ethnic and multi-religious and blessed with a rich culture. All the national and religious identities of the Middle East can be found there. This diversity is in contrast to the hegemonic claim of the theocracy, which cultivates a subtle religious and ethnic nationalism; the ruling class does not shrink back from anti-modernist propaganda whenever it serves their interests, although they implement capitalist modernity.
  • Iran is not North Korea. It's far worse. Pyongyang's dictators never plotted terrorist attacks across five continents and in thirty cities, including Washington, D.C. Tehran's Ayatollahs did. North Korea is not actively undermining pro-western governments in its region or planting agents in South America. Iran is. And North Korea, unlike Iran, did not kill many hundreds of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
  • Foreign travellers in Iran, not only recently but in previous generations, have observed that some of our citizens habitually lie … In our culture, steeped in history as we are, some liars actually try to explain and justify their behaviour by referring back to past national catastrophes. For example, they will tell you, when Mongol hordes overran the country, lying was the price to pay for personal survival ; and that gave us the habit of mendacity. Whatever its merits as an historical explanation, this point of view certainly offers a pitifully weak justification for today's liars.
  • Taking Iran's history as witness, I declare that we, the Pahlavi Dynasty, nurse no love but that for Iran, and no zeal but that for the dignity of Iranians; recognise no duty but that of serving our state and our nation.
    As the commander of this monarchy, I make a covenant with Iran's history that this golden epic of modern Iran will be carried on to complete victory, and that no power on earth shall ever be able to stand against the bond of steel between the Shah and the nation. We shall never again be caught unawares. The nation and the Imperial Arrned Forces, which come from the ranks of the people and derive their power from our inexhaustible national resources, are alert day in and day out to protect their country. No foreigner or his agents will ever have the chance to penetrate the unshakable structure of our national sovereignty because Iran's destiny is now shaped by Iranians and for Iranians - and this shall always be the case.
  • I envisaged future generations of Iranians proudly taking their rightful place among the vast family of nations, and fulfilling their responsibilities with dignity. I hoped to see dispelled for ever the medieval shadows from which Iran had emerged only half a century ago, and that the light which is the very essence of Iranian civilization and culture would prevail. Throughout my reign, I lived only for the realization of this dream which was beginning to become reality.
    It will be seen that I worked tirelessly and keenly to this end. I had ceaselessly to struggle against all sorts of obstacles and difficulties. I had to confront innumerable plots and intrigues both inside the country and abroad. I combated the all-powerful, multi-national trusts and cartels when all my advisers warned me against such challenges. I may have made mistakes, of course, but this long battle was not one of them.
  • I found that many Americans did not even know that a country named Iran existed, let alone what it was like. Even among the diplomatic corps and among well-educated people, there was a vagueness about who the Iranians were or what the culture was, a tendency to confuse Iran with Iraq or to mistakenly assume that Iran is an Arab country simply because it is an Islamic nation. This fuzziness about the world outside is unique to America; among the intelligensia of European countries, for example, there is generally a higher level of awareness and information regarding cultures other than their own.
  • As I flew over the Shahyad monument, I saw that one corner was completely dark. A moment later I realized this black mass was a mass of Iranian women, women who had achieved one of the highest levels of emancipation in the Middle East. Here they were in the mournful black chador their grandmother had worn. My god, I thought, is this how it ends?
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's rush to judgement that Iran was behind the apparent attacks on two tanker ships last week has not galvanized world opinion against Iran, as the neocons hoped. Instead, it was met with high skepticism even among Washington's closest allies. Has the neocon practice of massively exaggerating and endlessly issuing threats finally destroyed US credibility on the world stage?
  • Iran, as we have already discussed, has carried out very, very harmful activities inside Iraq. Funding, trainings, arming and, in some cases, even directing the activities of the special groups associated with the Jaish al-Mahdi and the Sadr Militia.
    • David Petraeus, As quoted in "Ranking House Committee Members Grill Crocker and Petraeus on U.S. Progress in Iraq" in The Washington Post (10 September 2007)
  • There is a name missing from that Al Jazeera report (on the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution)...That name is Mohammad Mosaddegh, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran... deposed and imprisoned at the behest of powerful interests by Dwight Eisenhower and Winston Churchill over access to Iranian oil. Western politicians and the mainstream journalists... shy away from the name Mosaddegh, for his name is an incantation summoning the bloody specter of blowback and the carnage that comes whenever the game of thrones is played for petroleum... “Mosaddegh” is a condemnation, a warning, and a lesson yet to be heeded by those in Washington, D.C., who believe their power and wealth means they can outrun consequences.
  • Those 40 years of failure belong to the United States and Britain, to actions taken 66 years ago by politicians who also believed they could run through the raindrops as they played God for profit with the lives of others. The suffering of the Iranian people has “Made in the USA” and “God Save the Queen” stamped across it, a history lesson inked in blood. Remember the name Mohammad Mosaddegh the next time you hear a politician or businessman talk about bringing freedom somewhere. Like as not there’s a buck to be turned, and the bodies will be buried where they drop. All the oil money in the whole wide world cannot outrun consequences.
  • All Americans hope that a new generation of Iranian leaders will rise to power seeking friendlier relations with the United States and a less threatening posture in the region. But Iran's record of supporting terrorism, opposing the Middle East peace process, developing weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and its denial of human rights, most recently demonstrated in the trial and conviction of Iranian Jews on unfounded espionage charges, demonstrates that Tehran remains a dangerous threat to the United States and our interests in the region. The next Republican administration will form its policy toward Iran based on Iranian actions, not words. It will stop making unilateral gestures toward the Iranian government which, to date, have failed to result in a change in Iranian behavior. We will work to convince our friends and allies, most importantly the Europeans, to join us in a firm, common approach toward Iran.
  • In Iran, we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction, and supports terror. We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty, human rights, and democracy. The Iranian people have a right to choose their own government and determine their own destiny. We applaud President Bush's leadership in ensuring them that the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom, including by broadcasting uncensored information to the Iranian people nearly 24 hours a day. We also support the President's practice of forming policy toward Iran based on Iranian actions, not words, and applaud his Administration's progress in convincing America's friends and allies, most importantly in Europe, to join us in a firm, common approach to ending Iran's nuclear weapons programs. Under President Bush's leadership, the United States and our European allies are speaking as plainly as possible to the Iranians, making it absolutely clear that the development of a nuclear weapon in Iran is intolerable to the international community.
  • We express our respect for the people of Iran who seek peace and aspire to freedom. Their current regime, aggressive and repressive, is unworthy of them. The Iranian people, many of whom risk persecution to speak out for democracy, have a right to choose their own government. As a rogue state, Iran's leadership supports terror, threatens its neighbors, and provides weapons that are killing our troops in Iraq. We affirm, in the plainest words we can use, that the U.S. government, in solidarity with the international community, will not allow the current regime in Tehran to develop nuclear weapons. We call for a significant increase in political, economic, and diplomatic pressure to persuade Iran's rulers to halt their drive for a nuclear weapons capability, and we support tighter sanctions against Iran and the companies with business operations in or with Iran. We oppose entering into a presidential- level, unconditional dialogue with the regime in Iran until it takes steps to improve its behavior, particularly with respect to support of terrorism and suspension of its efforts to enrich uranium. At the same time, the U.S. must retain all options in dealing with a situation that gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the safety of our friends.
  • Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons capability threatens America, Israel, and the world. That threat has only become worse during the current Administration. A continuation of its failed engagement policy with Iran will lead to nuclear cascade. In solidarity with the international community, America must lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability. We express our respect for the people of Iran, who seek peace and aspire to freedom. Their current regime is unworthy of them. It exports terror and provided weapons that killed our troops in Iraq. We affirm the unanimous resolution of the U.S. Senate calling for "elections that are free, fair, and meet international standards" and "a representative and responsive democratic government that respects human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law." We urge the next Republican President to unequivocally assert his support for the Iranian people as they protest their despotic regime. We must retain all options in dealing with a situation that gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the safety of our friends.
  • If this was all about Israel dictating policy, we'd have skipped Iraq and gone straight to Iran. But this is not, and it never has been about Israel, or Iran, or Iraq. It's about America imposing its will on areas of the would that we believe to be in our national security interests. The big picture in the Middle East isn't Iran or Iraq. The big picture in the Middle East is China. People don't understand that. They don't know what’s going on right now. It's about leveraging control over Middle-Eastern and central-Asian oil, in order to dictate the pace of China's economic growth over the next 30 years.
  • The relationship between Iran and the United States is a complicated and difficult question. There is a chronic wound, which is difficult to heal. However, it is not impossible provided there is goodwill and mutual respect between the two countries.
  • Iran has more state-sanctioned executions per capita than any other country in the world, and over half those executed are drug traffickers. But the drug problem in Iran is so vast that it exposes the futility of draconian measures.
    • Setareh Sabety, "Slaughterhouse review - an honest portrayal of Iran's drug problem", The Guardian (30 October 2015).
  • This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions to enable Iran and Venezuela to confront the epidemic as effectively and rapidly as possible,"
    • Jeffrey Sachs quoted in; Economists Demand Trump Immediately Lift Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela Sanctions That Are 'Feeding the Coronavirus Epidemic', Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, (19 March 2020)
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on June 13, 2019, blamed Iran for attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman. Iran had no motive for the recent attack on civilian vessels in the Gulf of Oman, but the US has motives to falsely blame Iran for it. It appears that Mike Pompeo has a hard time kicking his old habits. He appears to be as smug about lying as a CIA operative as he is as Secretary of State. Categorically blaming the Iranians for the recent oil attack tankers has left allies scratching their heads; and perhaps leaving foes thinking: “Thank God my enemy is so stupid”!
    On June 13, 2019, as Ayatollah Khamenei was holding talks in Tehran with Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, two oil tankers carrying oil to Japan were attacked. As investigations into the incident were just beginning, Pompeo had already concluded his assessment and had it ready for the press. Much to the audible surprise of the world, and without any proof or supporting documents, he laid the blame firmly at Iran’s feet citing “intelligence”... Having Saudi Arabia cower to US demands, demonizing Iran, intimidating allies and non-allies with fear of conflict in the region in order to press further demands on Iran, increase in the price of oil, and the weapons that would be purchased by US allies in the nervous neighborhood, seems like a win-win situation for America. For now.
  • The formula that food is the way to derive peace actually should be more properly understood in reverse. The answer to my question of why we have so many hungry people on the planet when there is no need for that is that it is a deliberate decision that some human beings make in order to appropriate the resources of others, or, as in the case of one of the hot spots on the planet right now for hunger, which is Yemen, it was a deliberate strategy to disrupt the food system specifically to weaken the country in the pursuit of the war between proxies, Saudi Arabia and Iran. And so, it’s important to remember that hunger does not always happen because of natural disasters, which is a mental model that most of us fall back upon; it is often the result of things that we actually do to each other deliberately.
  • If the supply of virtue is insufficient in a free society like America, it is almost nonexistent in an un-free society like Iran's. The reason is that coerced virtues are not virtues at all. Consider the woman who is required to wear a veil. There is no modesty in this, because she is being compelled. Compulsion cannot produce virtue, it can only produce the outward semblance of virtue.
  • With the way the world’s going a nuclear Iran is going to be the least of our problems in 10 or 15 years. Iranian nukes will be a break from swimming through our climate-change flooded cities fighting ebola zombies with our teeth because we can’t hold guns thanks to our iPhone-shaped hand tumors.
  • The Persians ruled for a thousand years and did not need us Arabs even for a day. We have been ruling them for one or two centuries and cannot do without them for an hour.
  • If we regard Iran as a nation, there is no reason it shouldn’t have correct relations with the United States or any other country. Decades of opinion polls show that a majority of Iranians have a good opinion of America. But Iran today suffers from a split personality: It is both a nation and, as the Islamic Republic, also a messianic cause. And the Islamic Republic of Iran, far from being part of the solution, is at the root of the conflict tearing the Middle East apart. It has built Shiite militias in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, not to mention Afghanistan, with the aim of “exporting” its Khomeinist ideology. The mullahs’ quest for an empire has provoked violent reaction from Sunni Arabs and enabled terrorist outfits such as al Qaeda in its many versions, including ISIS, to find a new audience and a narrative of victimhood. As long as Iran remains a “cause,” it can’t normalize relations with anybody, let alone America. Coexistence among nations is not the same as that among causes... What normal country has three former presidents, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Muhammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who can’t obtain passports to travel abroad? And dozens of former high officials in jail, plus an ex-prime minister, Mir-Hussein Mussavi, and a former speaker of parliament, Mehdi Karrubi, under house arrest without charge?
    • Amir Taheri, "Have the Mullah's Abandoned their Dreams of Empire?",, (November 16, 2014).
  • In Iran, no-one can ignore the tragic record of the revolution. Over the past three decades some six million Iranians have fled their homeland. The Iran-Iraq war claimed almost a million lives on both sides. During the first four years of the Khomeinist regime alone 22,000 people were executed, according to Amnesty International. Since then, the number of executions has topped 80,000. More than five million people have spent some time in prison, often on trumped-up charges. In terms of purchasing power parity, the average Iranian today is poorer than he was before the revolution. De-Khomeinization does not mean holding the late ayatollah solely responsible for all that Iran has suffered just as Robespierre, Stalin, Mao, and Fidel Castro shared the blame with others in their respective countries. However, there is ample evidence that Khomeini was the principal source of the key decisions that led to tragedy... Memoirs and interviews and articles by dozens of Khomeini’s former associates—including former Presidents Abol-Hassan Banisadr and Hashemi Rafsanjani and former Premier Mehdi Bazargan—make it clear that he was personally responsible for some of the new regime’s worst excesses. These include the disbanding of the national army, the repression of the traditional Shi’ite clergy, and the creation of an atmosphere of terror, with targeted assassinations at home and abroad. Khomeini has become a symbol of what went wrong with Iran’s wayward revolution. De-Khomeinization might not spell the end of Iran’s miseries just as de-Stalinization and de-Maoization initially produced only minimal results. However, no nation can plan its future without coming to terms with its past.
  • For some 12 centuries poetry has been the Iranian people’s principal medium of expression. Iran may be the only country where not a single home is found without at least one book of poems. Initially, Persian poets had a hard time to define their place in society. The newly converted Islamic rulers suspected the poets of trying to revive the Zoroastrian faith to undermine the new religion. Clerics saw poets as people who wished to keep the Persian language alive and thus sabotage the ascent of Arabic as the new lingua franca. Without the early Persian poets, Iranians might have ended up like so many other nations in the Middle East who lost their native languages and became Arabic speakers. Early on, Persian poets developed a strategy to check the ardor of the rulers and the mullahs. They started every qasida with praise to God and Prophet followed by panegyric for the ruler of the day. Once those “obligations” were out of the way they would move on to the real themes of the poems they wished to compose. Everyone knew that there was some trick involved but everyone accepted the result because it was good. Despite that modus vivendi some poets did end up in prison or in exile while many others spent their lives in hardship if not poverty. However, poets were never put to the sword. The Khomeinist regime is the first in Iran’s history to have executed so many poets. Implicitly or explicitly, some rulers made it clear what the poet couldn’t write. But none ever dreamt of telling the poet what he should write.
  • In the Islamic Republic... Mossadegh, far from being regarded as a national hero, is an object of intense vilification. One of the first acts of the mullahs after seizing power was to take the name of Mossadegh off a street in Tehran... Bush paid little attention to Iran. Nevertheless, in his second term he, too, tried to persuade the mullahs to modify their behavior. His secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, sent an invitation, not to say a begging note, to the mullahs for “constructive dialogue.” They responded by stepping up the killing of US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq by local surrogates... Before the revolution, Shiraz, with its breathtakingly beautiful architecture, was a city of gardens, wine and music with an annual international art festival. How could one not love Iran through it? Today, however, Shiraz... is a scene of public hangings and floggings, with its prisons filled with political and religious dissidents... The Islamic Republic has been top of the list in the world for the number of executions and political prisoners.
  • As a nation-state, Iran has no problems with anybody. As a vehicle for the Khomeinist ideology it has problems with everybody, starting with the Iranian people. The Khomeinist regime makes no secret of its intense hatred for Iranian culture, which it claims has roots in “the age of ignorance” (jahiliyyah). To admire this regime because of Iranian culture is like admiring Hitler for Goethe and Beethoven and praising Stalin for Pushkin and Tchaikovsky. This regime has executed tens of thousands of Iranians, driven almost 6 million into exile, and deprived the nation of its basic freedoms. It has also killed more Americans, often through surrogates, than al Qaeda did on 9/11. Not a single day has passed without this regime holding some American hostages. Iran as a nation is a solid friend of America. Iran as a vehicle for the Khomeinist revolution is an eternal enemy of “The Great Satan.” The only realistic strategy for the United States would be to help it stop being the Islamic Republic and become Iran again. President Obama’s policy, however, points in the opposite direction. He has made it harder for the Iranian people to regain their human rights.
  • I said, “Don’t hit Iraq,” because you’re going to totally destabilize the Middle East. Iran is going to take over the Middle East, Iran and somebody else will get the oil, and it turned out that Iran is now taking over Iraq. Think of it. Iran is taking over Iraq, and they’re taking it over big league.
  • After the close call yesterday when you called off the planned military strike on Iran, we remain concerned that you are about to be mousetrapped into war with Iran. You have said you do not want such a war (no sane person would), and our comments below are based on that premise. There are troubling signs that Secretary Pompeo is not likely to jettison his more warlike approach, More importantly, we know from personal experience with Pompeo’s dismissive attitude to instructions from you that his agenda can deviate from yours on issues of major consequence.
    Pompeo’s behavior betrays a strong desire to resort to military action — perhaps even without your approval — to Iranian provocations (real or imagined), with no discernible strategic goal other than to advance the interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He is a neophyte compared to his anti-Iran partner John Bolton, whose dilettante approach to interpreting intelligence, strong advocacy of the misbegotten war on Iraq (and continued pride in his role in promoting it), and fierce pursuit of his own aggressive agenda are a matter of a decades-long record. You may not be fully aware of our experience with Pompeo, who has now taken the lead on Iran. That experience leaves us with strong doubt regarding his trustworthiness.
  • Frequent problems with intelligence and Cheney-style hyperbole help explain why CENTCOM commander Admiral William Fallon in early 2007 blurted out that “an attack on Iran “ will not happen on my watch,” as Bush kept sending additional carrier groups into the Persian Gulf. Hillary Mann, the administration’s former National Security Council director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs, warned at the time that some Bush advisers secretly wanted an excuse to attack Iran. “They intend to be as provocative as possible and make the Iranians do something [America] would be forced to retaliate for,” she told Newsweek. Deja vu. A National Intelligence Estimate issued in November 2007 concluded unanimously that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003 and had not resumed such work...
    We seldom quote media commentators, but we think Tucker Carlson had it right yesterday evening: “The very people — in some cases, literally the same people who lured us into the Iraq quagmire 16 years ago — are demanding a new war — this one with Iran. Carlson described you as “skeptical.” We believe ample skepticism is warranted.
  • I am concerned about the vulnerability of the Iranian people to the coronavirus and the potential for Iran’s coronavirus cases to worsen the spread of the disease to neighboring countries, including regional allies, and to the rest of the world. Therefore, I seek an assurance that every reasonable effort is being made by the United States to ensure the availability of medicine and other non-sanctionable humanitarian items to the Iranian people to help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
  • Why do Trump & co. have crippling sanctions on Iran, making sure that many more people die from coronavirus than otherwise would? Its collective punishment, this piece from Human Rights Watch shows what monsters Trump and Pompeo and gang are...
    • Mark Weisbrot in Economists Demand Trump Immediately Lift Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela Sanctions That Are 'Feeding the Coronavirus Epidemic', Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, (19 March 2020)
  • It (war with Iran) would be horrible. Four times almost the size of Iraq, 80 million, not 26 million people, homogeneity to the population that Iraq certainly didn’t have, 51 percent Persian. This would be a vicious, long-term guerrilla campaign waged by the Iranians over 10 or 15 years... And it would cost $2 trillion and lots of lives and more than anything else, it would require at least a half a million troops. No allies are going to join us.
    Here’s what’s going to happen: you’re going to have airstrikes, selective, and you’re not going to do anything except drive them underground, and the weapon will be built even quicker.
  • Just over a month ago, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that the administration had “undeniable” evidence...As I watched Ms. Haley... I wanted to play the video of Mr. Powell on the wall behind her, so that Americans could recognize instantly how they were being driven down the same path as in 2003 — ultimately to war. Only this war with Iran, a country of almost 80 million people whose vast strategic depth and difficult terrain make it a far greater challenge than Iraq, would be 10 to 15 times worse than the Iraq war in terms of casualties and costs.
  • The way that the U.S. regime has brought ‘democracy’ to Iraq is by threatening to withdraw its protection of the stooge-rulers that it had helped to place into power there, unless those stooges do the U.S. dictators’ bidding, against Iraq’s neighbor Iran... Trump, is demanding that majority-Shiite Iraq be run by stooges who favor, instead, America’s fundamentalist-Sunni allies, such as the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia and who hate and loathe Shiites and Iran. The U.S. dictatorship insists that Iraq, which the U.S. conquered, serve America’s anti-Shiite and anti-Iranian policy-objectives. “The U.S. threat, to withhold aid if Iran-aligned politicians occupy any ministerial position, is an escalation of Washington’s demands on Baghdad.” The article went on to quote a “senior administration official” as asserting that, “if Iran exerts a tremendous amount of influence, or a significant amount of influence over the Iraqi government, it’s going to be difficult for us to continue to invest.” Get the euphemisms there! This article said that “the Trump administration has made constraining Iran’s influence in the region a cornerstone of their foreign policy.” So, this hostility toward Iran must be reflected in Iraq’s policies, too. It’s not enough that Trump wants to destroy Iran like Bush has destroyed Iraq; Trump demands that Iraq participate in that crime, against Iraq’s own neighbor.

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