Historically, Iran is an ancient civilization but a relatively young Muslim country. The seventh century Arab-Islamic conquest of Persia was and is still viewed by the majority as a defining national catastrophe inflicted upon a superior civilization by primitive foreign invaders. Presently, after fourteen centuries, Iran is still torn between the loss of its global empire and the narrative of the self-sacrifice of Husayn, the son of Ali and the grandson of Mohammad, against the Sunni usurper Yazid in the defense of the absolute Truth and divine legitimacy. As a result, Iran and its peoples, called the Shiite-Ali, had remained to this day a divided state and society in which successive rulers and religious authorities had oscillated between their faith in the global mission of Shia-Islam and their loyalty to their national identity. Continue reading
History, in her disposition toward intellectually gifted peoples and nations, appears as fickle as the gods of ancient times were wont to be of their most devout revelers; the more those peoples and nations excelled the less they were shielded from endless tribulations, great catastrophes, and devastating tragedies. Like most of the nation-states of Europe and Asia, present-day Iran had a glorious history, yet unlike them, it has been torn since 1979 between revolutionary adventurism and reactionary self-preservation.
The fatal contradiction in Ayatollah Khomeini’s doctrine of the “guardianship of the jurist” (velayat-e faqih) is that, by definition, it contains the political seeds of its own destruction. Continue reading