These are often former or active members of the Iranian Communist party or Tudeh (Masses) which was almost from the outset, pro-Moscow and under the direction of the former Soviet Union. Other (former or current) leftists who were not under Moscow’s direct control can also be put into this general category. As will be seen further below, two broad groups of Iranian Persophobics originate within the Iranian left/Tudeh movements:
In the overall ideological sense, the broad spectrum of the left is very much a product of the Communist party of the former Soviet Union in that it is anti-national, and internationalist. Communism is of course derived from the writings of Karl Marx (1818-1883).
Do as I say, not as I do! Despite proclaiming himself as the champion of the oppressed, Karl Marx (1818-1883), the founder of Communism, contradicted his own writings with his actions. Despite his claims of being an anti-Capitalist, Marx made money off the London Stock Exchange. It is also ironic that Marx hailed “children’s rights” when he himself was far from an ideal parent: his daughter committed suicide, in part due to the dysfunctional family atmosphere that had been prevalent in the Marx household.
Before we proceed with this discussion, we must make two points clear:
1) By no means were all leftists intending to serve Soviet and/pr Persophobic interests. Many were intellectuals who wanted to find a way to address the injustices prevalent in Iranian society and politics.
2) Many members of the Left and Tudeh left these organizations when they realized that these entities were pandering to the geopolitical goals of the Communists of the Soviet Union.
The Iranian Left and Persophobia: an Overview
Many former and present-day members of the Iranian (Tudeh and other leftists) are now to be found in Iran’s governmental apparatus, education and post-secondary (university) education systems. Interestingly, many of these have made powerful inroads into Iranian Studies programs, the social sciences and humanities programs in Western universities – numbers of these are also members of major think-tanks and foundations.
The overall spectrum of the Iranian left has been working persistently as far back as the 1930s to promote the following two views of Iranian history, culture and language:
1) The glories of Iranian history and her enlightened contributions to civilization are simply propaganda. Interestingly this view is shared by Eurocentrists and members of Iran’s religious right. As will be shown below, historical figures such as Cyrus the Great are re-labelled as despots and brutal conquerors (see for example Spiegel Magazine). The argument is also made that Iran is not a unique historical nation such as ancient Greece, Rome, India or China but simply part of the Third World International order of downtrodden peoples. This view essentially rejects the historical basis of ancient Iran’s role in influencing Arabo-Islamic civilization, the Turco-Persian “Persianate” civilizations or any legacy Iran has had in its history (see for example Iranian.com).
2) Persian language and culture are “oppressive”. This fallacy was first promoted by Czarist Russia and then by Communist Russia in order to promote ethnic discord in Iran. This policy is now being quietly promoted by lobbies in the Western world.
Communist propaganda poster depicting Lenin and Moscow Communists as the champions of the Human Rights of “non-white” Third-World peoples fighting against the imperialists. In reality, the Communists of Russia were every bit as imperialist as those they condemned. The Soviet Union promoted “Internationalist” Communism in Iran and the Western World to weaken national identity and unity to pave the way for Soviet geopolitical domination.
The powerful rise of Persophobic sentiments, including the promotion of the pan-Turkist movement in Iran can be traced to the last days of the 1979 Revolution – its evolution before the revolution is to be seen in the Iranian left and the pro-Moscow (Communist) Tudeh party as well as the extreme religious right, namely the Iranian branch of the pan-Muslim Brotherhood movement. The left and the Muslim Brotherhood share one common sentiment: extreme Persophobia and the desire to eliminate Iranian culture within the Marxist dynamic of “equality”.
Ever since 1979, many members of the Iranian left and (Communist) Tudeh organization have joined and even assumed the characteristics of the extreme religious right. In this guise, these elements have, since 1979, targeted the “culture bearers” of Iranian society.
However, even before the 1970s, the Iranian left has been targeting the “culture bearers” of the Iranian intelligentsia who are characterized by the Communists as “bourgeois nationalists“. These are in fact the intelligentsia who have acted as the guardians of Iranian history and cultural legacy namely professors, journalists, military officers, teachers, educated individuals (i.e. medical professionals, surgeons, lawyers, political leaders, etc) and even Mullahs who are considered ” too bourgeois” or “too nationalist“. Note the similarity of these methods with the international Communist movement (discussed further below in this article).
The Role of the Soviet Union
The first person to expose the true nature of Communism was Ms. Bella V. Dodd a leader of the CPUSA (Communist Party of the USA) in the late 1940s. She left the CPUSA after she discovered the true motives of the organization – she then wrote a book entitled:
Title: School of Darkness. The Record of a Life and of a Conflict Between Two Faiths.
Author: Bella Dodd
Publisher & Date: P.J. Kenedy, 1954- see Amazon.com.
Dodd noted that the Communist Party of the USA:
1) Attracted idealistic intellectuals into its cause by promises of helping the downtrodden, the poor and those in need of social justice. Note Dodd’s revelation as to the truth of the organization’s motives:
“I now saw that with the best motives and a desire to serve the working people… I and thousands like me, had been led to a betrayal of these very people…. I had been on the side of those who sought the destruction of my own country” (Dodd, 1954, pp.229).
2) Works through stealth and infiltration to gain important positions in society’s major institutions such as universities, schools, the media, unions, the military, government, and religious centers.
3) Aimed to create new “Soviet” citizens whose sole identity was to conform to the Communist Party – ahead of nation and even family; in fact the party was to be the main basis of identity. Dodd noted that
“This is the key to the mental enslavement of mankind. The individual is made into nothing … he operates as the physical part of [a] higher group intelligence… he has no awareness of the plans the higher group intelligence has for utilizing him.” (Dodd, 1954, pp.158)
4) Engages in censorship of information, often relying on slogans and ignoring, history as well as scientific research in the humanities and social sciences. Dodd reports that
“I have often seen leaders pull books from shelves in homes and warn members to destroy them“ (Dodd, 1954, pp.223).
These are very popular methods of not only the Communists, but also successors of the Communists, especially in the Modern-Day Republic of Azerbaijan (thus named in 1918 – the historical Azarbaijan having been based below the Araxes River in northwest Iran since antiquity). Drawing from the methods of the Communists and pan-Turkists, “historians” from the Republic of Azarbaijan have re-written and falsified history to accommodate theses such as:
- The historical fact that modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan was never named “Azerbaijan” in history
- The myth of the existence of a giant “Kingdom of Azerbaijan” divided into a “southern” versus “northern Azerbaijan” by Russia and Iran in the 19th century
- The notion that the alleged “Greater Azerbaijan“, Armenia and ancient Anatolia have been Turkic for over 5000 years
- The notion that Iranian Azarbaijan has never been Iranian in culture or part of Iran in history
Narratives such as the above appear to be gaining popularity among a select number of politically motivated Western lobbies (see for example, Response to Congressman Rohrabacher). In practice, the list of historical falsifications is much longer (readers are referred to this link). Historian Nazrin Mehdiyeva, who is from the Republic of Azarbaijan herself, corroborates the process of historical falsification by the Communist against Iran by affirming that:
“…the myth [of a North versus South Azerbaijan] was invented under the Soviets for the purpose of breaking Azerbaijan’s historical links with Iran. To make this historical revisionism more acceptable, the Soviet authorities falsified documents and re-wrote history books. As a result, the myth became deeply ingrained in the population [of the ROA] … as part of the rhetoric.” (Mehdiyeva, 2003, p.280) Full article: Mehdiyeva, N. (2003). Azerbaijan and its foreign policy dilemma. Asian Affairs, 34, pp. 271-.285.
Falsifiers of history: the late Ziya Bonyadov (1921-1997) (left) and Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) (right). Stalin continued the former Czarist regime’s Persophobic policies by promoting the “Greater Azerbaijan” myth in which he referred to Iranian historical icons as “Azerbaijani historical figures”. Stalin’s myths (called “Stalin’s school of historical falsification by Leon Trotsky) have been adopted by the modern day citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Ziya Bonyadov for example deliberately falsified history to omit the fact that Babak Khorramdin is identified as a Persian in ancient sources. Instead, he promoted Stalinist terminology which is essentially Persophobic.
Iranian pan-Turkists and many members of the Iranian left promote the aforementioned false historical narratives through their venues in:
- Universities in the West
- Universities in Iran (see article “When Iranian Professors Attack their own History“)
- Under “disguise” as pious pan-Muslims within the Iranian Establishment (see this link)
5) Served the interests of the Moscow-based Communists and not the people of the United States (despite protestations to the contrary). Dodd bluntly states:
“What now became clear to me was…the Communists…timetable for world control…” (Dodd, 1954, pp.229).
Bella Dodd (born circa 1904 as Maria Asunta Isabella in Visono, Italy). She was exceptionally intelligent, socially conscious, and wholeheartedly dedicated to the advancement of equality and social justice. Ms. Dodd was also highly educated, having obtained a degree from Hunter College followed by a law degree from New York University’s Law School. She rapidly rose to become the chair of the Teachers’ Union of New York state – she also became an important member of the CPUSA until her disillusionment with the organization in 1949. Ms. Dodd passed away in 1969. Her courage in standing up to the dictatorial practices of the Communist party have yet to be acknowledged in the West.
How did the former Soviet Union use Communism outside its borders?
It is here where we must introduce Professor Robert Buchar, a political refugee who was born and raised in Czechoslovakia. Bucher’s book “And Reality be Damned…Undoing America: What media didn’t tell you about the End of the Cold war and the Fall of Communism in Europe“ is a provocative expose of the real face of Communism and its role in subverting collective culture and identity as well as demoralization and disunity within non-Communist controlled nations.
Professor Bucher’s book is based on his documentary movie entitled ”The Collapse of Communism: The Untold Story”. The book provides a rare glimpse into the subversive role of Communism.
Note the excerpt below of Edward Griffin’s Interview with Yuri Bezmenov (former Soviet KGB agent) who reported in 1984 that:
“Strategical Diversion is a irreversible slow demoralization process which is called either ideological subversion, active measures, or psychological warfare.
What it basically means is: to change the perception of reality of every individual that despite of the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community, their country and their nation. When the process is complete, it is irreversible. The ideology of collectivism , new version of Marxism-Leninism – is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generation of students without being challenged or counterbalanced by the basic values of family, individualism, character, integrity …nation tradition, culture interest.”
The result? The result you can see … the people who graduated in the 60’s, dropouts or half-baked progressive intellectuals, are now occupying the positions of mass media, and educational systems, corporate business power in the government and civil service. …You can’t get through to them …They are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli …
You cannot change their mind even if you expose them to authentic information. Even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still can not change the basic perception and the logic of behavior…exposure to true information about irresponsibility, Socialism and collectivization does not matter anymore. A person who was demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him, even if you shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents and pictures.,movies web sites. …he will refuse to believe it…. That’s the tragedy of the situation of demoralization”.
The processes described by Bezmenov are identical to that seen in ethno-nationalist ideologues:
“The facts tell nothing to him, even if you shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents and pictures.,movies web sites. …he will refuse to believe it”
Professor Robert Buchar obtained his Masters of Fine Arts in cinematography from Prague’s prestigious Film Academy of Fine Arts. After his graduation, Bucher worked as a cinematographer before he defected in 1980 to the United States. Professor Buchar is currently an associate professor and author of the Cinematography Program at Chicago’s Columbia College.
The late Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), the founder of the Italian Communist Party. Gramsci noted that Communism’s main success lay in its strategies for subverting the host nation’s traditional culture, history, identity, etc.
To this day few in the West are aware of how oppressive Communism has been – in fact millions of citizens perished in the former Soviet Union as a result of Communist “egalitarian” policies.
The real face of “Equal Rights” Communism: the Soviet-Russian army crushes the Hungarian revolution for national independence in 1956-1957. Sixteen years before this brutal event, the Soviet army had invaded Iran and then tried to sponsor separatist movements to dissolve the Iranian state. Interestingly, many members of Iran’s Tudeh Communist Party often ignore Communism’s imperialist policies in places such as Hungary (1956-1957) or Czechoslovakia in 1968 (known as the Prague Spring).
While the West has rightfully condemned the horrors and evils and Nazi philosophy, the West has also been far less critical in its examination of the horrors unleashed by the Soviet Communist Party. Few are aware that Communist leader Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) and Soviet politician Lazar Kaganovich known also as “the Iron Lazar” (1893-1991) implemented “Equal Rights” policies which led to the deaths of up 10 Million men, women and children in the Ukraine in 1932-1933.
It was finally in 2008 when the European Parliament rightly recognized the Holodomor (death by hunger/kill by hunger) as a crime against humanity.
Another face of “Equal Rights” Communism: a child victim of the Soviet-imposed Ukrainian Holodomor (left) and modern-day Ukrainians protesting the horrors inflicted by the Communists of the former Soviet Union. Even as these horrors were being inflicted in the 1930s, Communist activists in the West and Iran attempted to portray the Communist state of the Soviet Union as some kind of “ideal Workers paradise” where all citizens were supposedly treated with “Human Rights”.
One of the main motives of the Communists was to crush Ukrainian nationalism by all means possible in the name of “Communist Internationalism”. Thanks to this ideology, many nations, were to suffer under the ideology of Communism.
Communism’s war against history and culture: Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow blown up by Communist ideologues in 1941. Note that it had taken 50 years to build this iconic cathedral – the Communists destroyed this in a matter of hours. As soon as the Communists seized power in Russia, they began a relentless war of destruction against Russian culture and history. For more read here…
Perhaps most revealing is the following Communist song entitled “Song of the Destroyers” which was composed during the reign of Lenin (consult Burovsky, 2010, pp. 155; available in Andrei Burovsky, Myths and the Truth about 1937: Stalin’s Counter-Revolution. Moscow: YAZA-PRESS, 2010 ):
We shall burn everything, we shall destroy everything,
We shall wipe everything from the face of the Earth,
We shall extinguish the old Sun,
We shall ignite a new Sun
These cryptic verses have been indeed prophetic in the most macabre way; Communism has left a very tragic and bloody legacy in its wake. Note the following statement made years ago by Mortimer Zuckerman (Editor) in “End of the Promised Land”, US News & World Report (June 11, 1990):
“Soviet officials now concede that Stalin and the party under him were responsible for the deaths of 40 million people”
Nevertheless Communism has not truly disappeared. There are large numbers of “Communist-inspired intellectuals” world-wide who now sit at think-tanks, universities, political arenas, cultural venues, media, etc. This may partly explain the silence in education and media with respect to the devastation that has been wrought as a result of Communism.
The Iranian Left and Persophobia in Iran
The activities and writings of the Iranian Communist Party known as the Tudeh (Masses) and many members of the left (in Iran, the West, etc) has also resulted in much of what Bezmenov has vividly described as the “…ideology of collectivism , new version of Marxism-Leninism…” challenging:
“…the basic values of …nation tradition, culture interest“
Look for example to a former member of Iranian Communist Party (the Tudeh, Mr. Nasser Pourpirar (some sources claim that his original name is Canaan Beni Nasser –عبدالناصر بنی کنعان-). According to Wikipedia:
Pourpirar was born in 1940 in Tehran, Iran. Earlier in his life, Pourpirar was closely involved with the Tudeh Party of Iran, a major Iranian political party with Communist or left tendencies. After the 1979 Revolution, he joined with the revolutionaries.
An Iranian Persophobe and anti-Semite. Nasser Pourpirar believes that the entire history of pre-Islamic Iran and Cyrus the Great is a massive hoax that has been invented by the Jews and the Americans. Pourpirar’s views are supported by anti-Iranian Eurocentrists in academia, the internet and the media.
Below is a video of an Iranian TV program in which Pourpirar claims to have “proven” that ancient Iranian sites such as Persepolis are large-scale forgeries as a result of a combined conspiracy of Americans (i.e. University of Chicago) and the Jews:
Nasser Pourpirar being interviewed on Iranian TV. Pourpirar denies the historical legacy of Iran (pre and post Islamic). He even goes as far to claim that ancient sites such as Persepolis and Naghsh-e Rustam were somehow “created” 65 years ago by the University of Chicago!
Pourpirar is in fact a highly promoted figure in Iran’s mainstream media. Below are Iran-based News Service 2011 articles that promote Pourpirar’s Persophobic and anti-Semitic views:
–«پاسارگاد» ساخته یهودیان یا ایرانیان؟ -Pasargadae built by Iranians or Jews?
–تاریخسازی جریان انحرافی از «تخت جمشید»! -Manufacturing the history of “Persepolis”
An interesting set of responses to revisionists of ancient Iranian history has been posted in Persian in the Iranshahr newspaper.
Pourpirar sets the ultimate standard of Persophobia. Note this quote by Pourpirar:
“It is very unfortunate that we can not put the Persian language aside and replace it with the language of Koran. However the future of Iran is at the hand of Islamic Unity. Spreading Arabic language among Iranian youths and incorporating it more seriously into the education system […] can make a foundation for such Islamic Unity.”
How does Pourpirar reconcile the inherent contradictions of his beliefs? Iran is not an Arab country – its history and culture are very different from the Arab world. In a cultural sense, Iran is a Persianate civilization akin to those seen in Turkey, the Caucasus, Afghanistan and Central Asia,
Let us recall once again the observations of Bezmenov regarding those exposed to Soviet-inspired mental conditioning – when it comes to Pourpirar’s Persophobic views on Iran’s historical legacy:
“The facts tell nothing to him, even if you shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents and pictures.,movies web sites. …he will refuse to believe it”
Note also that Pourpirar, as a victim of the mental conditioning as described by Bezmenov, challenges Iran’s:
“…nation tradition, culture interest“
Pourpirar’s bizarre Persophobic views are openly promoted inside Iran – his books are printed and TV programs (like the above video) are officially funded and produced by the state (see 4 further below).
Note the curious parallels between Soviet inspired Persephobia with the Persophobia inherent to pan-Islamism and pan-Arabism. Readers are referred to the following articles:
“…a hero of the Islamic movement … if he is killed, like any other POW, he is a martyr at the hands of infidels”
Saddam Hussein visiting a bunker during his war against Iran (left) and Iraqi-Kurdish victims of Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons attacks at Halabja during the Iran-Iraq war (right). Saddam’s invasion of Iran in 1980-1988, resulted in the deaths of millions of civilians. Right up to his last moments prior to his execution in 2006 Saddam uttered “Down with…the Persians“ (New York Times report, December 31, 2006; BBC Report “Saddam Hussein’s last moments “). According to Pourpirar (himself an Iranian and “former” Tudeh Communist member) Saddam was “…a hero of the Islamic movement”.
It is here where we are obliged to again address the Tudeh as expostulated in our discussion with the Ferqeh Democrat. In the late 1950s Iranian Tudeh members in Baku:
“…invited everyone to a toast in honor of the Turkmenchai treaty of 1828, which relinquished parts of the Caucasus to [Imperial Czarist] Russia” (direct quote from Behrooz, 2000, pp.145).
This is indeed astounding as the Treaty of Turkmenchai is one of the most humiliating treaties ever signed by Iran in her entire history. Iran was forced to cede to Russia its historical lands in the Caucasus. Here we have Iranian Communists and separatists congratulating the Russians for their imperialism and conquests against their very own homeland! This action is so extreme that not even other members of the Iranian left would dare engage in it.
Taking arms against the Iranian state: The MEK
One movement of note is the Mujaheddin-Khalq or MEk or MKO. The MEK’s ideology blends Islamism (or pan-Islamism) with elements of Leftist and Communist thinking. The organization produced much literature attacking the history and civilization legacy of Iran. The organization is also known for having conducted terrorist actions against unarmed civilians. Note that this organization has also murdered unarmed Americans residing in Iran during the 1970s.
The MEK was and remains a murderous terrorist group that has killed innocent citizens (before the revolution and during the Iran-Iraq war) . They even resorted to bank robberies in their quest to install what is for all practical purposes, a Communist-Stalinist dictatorship (with pan-Islamic overtones) in Iran.
The MEK has very few supporters along the entirety of Iran’s popular and political spectrum (both inside Iran and in the diaspora). Despite their low popularity and their history as a violent cult-like terrorist organization, Western lobbies continue to court the MEK.
–ايران – تهران – آوريل 1979 – اشرف ربيعي يكي از رهبران سازمان مجاهدين خلق ايران در حال تمرين تيراندازي در نزديكي پايتخت–Ms. Ashraf Rabii one the leaders of the MEK organization engaged in shooting practice with a G-3 automatic rifle near Tehran in 1979. While many blame the extreme religious right, it was also organizations like the MEK who insisted that non-Iranian issues such as the Palestine question be forced into Iranian politics. Many leftist activists also insisted in 1978-1979 that the ancient Lion and Sun symbol ( بررسی اجمالی نشان شیر و خورشید ایران ) be removed from the Iranian national flag. Today, the vast majority of Iranian youth reject the relevance of pan-Islamism or Palestine to Iran.
To gain insight into the mental-state of the MEK and its followers, readers are invited to read a message sent to Kavehfarrokh.com by “Shahram” on October 13, 2011 pertaining to a relative of his who had joined the MEK:
“…a Dokhtar-Amoo [paternal female cousin] who is my age and became a Mojahed MKO during the time of the revolution! Farahnaz, later went to Iraq and became a tank driver of Rajavi and got shot during an operation! I never forget in 1978 when I got angry with her xxxx left wing thoughts when she said: we must close our door to America as we “belong” to Soviet Union”
The primary reason why the Iranian Left and especially the Tudeh Iranian Communist Party has been biased if not outright hostile towards Iran’s historical legacy has to do with its chief source of inspiration and support: the primarily Persophobic Communist Party of the former Soviet Union.
Video showing an Iranian, Massoud Rajavi shaking hands with an avowed Persophobic pan-Arabist, the late Saddam Hussein. Interestingly, the above video (which is apparently politically motivated) portrays Saddam Hussein in a very positive light – no reference is made to Saddam’s genocidal practices or his Persophobic ideology. Mr. Rajavi and his organization, the Mujaheddin-Khalq or MEk or MKO, a Marxist-Islamist organization, supported Saddam Hussein’s army against his fellow countrymen during the Iran-Iraq war. Reports have also surfaced that the MKO assisted Saddam’’s forces in their chemical weapons attacks against Iranian troops and civilians. Anti-Iranism is nothing new among select members of the Iranian left and Communists. Few realize that certain members of the Iranian Communist Party, the Tudeh actually congratulated the Russians in the 1950s for their forcible conquests of Iranian territory in the Caucasus during the early 19th century.
How the Soviet Union promoted Persophobia
The Soviet Union went to great pains to extinguish the Persian cultural legacy as outlined in two articles by Tajikestanweb, namely The Axed Persian Identity Part I (see Persian translation in Shahrbaraz Blog, The Axed Persian Identity Part II and The Axed Persian Identity Part III. These essays provide a number of interesting academic and well-researched references that expose the former Soviet regime’s attempts in de-Iranianizing Central Asia, in this case Tajikestan. The article notes that:
But it should be mentioned here that Tajiks, who had no allies in the new Slavo-Turkic union, were among the main victims of the Soviet population counts and their number decreased drastically between 1917 and 1926 censuses. The chief secretary of the Tajik Committee of the Uzbek Communist Party at the time believed that the ‘biased and unfair’ 1926 census was a tool of Uzbekization. As a result, millions of Tajiks in Samarkand, Bukhara, Surkhan-Darya and other Persian-populated areas of Uzbekistan turned into Uzbeks overnight.
Soviet Persphobic policies – the aim to destroy the Persian historical and linguistic legacy – dated back to before the Communist era of 1917-1990 – these are in fact dated back to the Czarist era, from around the 1830s, right after the conclusion of the disastrous Russo-Iranian war in which Iran was forced to cede her possessions in the Caucasus (everything above the Araxes River just above the Iranian province of Azarbaijan) to Russia.
Iranian territorial losses during the 19th and 20th centuries. Note losses to Czarist Russia in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Hostler reports that the Russians, despite their victory in the Caucasus, were highly apprehensive of the power and hold of the Persian language and culture over Arran (present-day Republic of Azerbaijan). According to Hostler:
“This cultural link between the newly conquered country [modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan, historically known as Arran until May 1918] and its still strong Persian neighbor annoyed Russia who tried to destroy it by supporting local Turkish cultural developments“(1957, p.22).
Zenkowski notes that despite the finalization of Russian conquests by 1826 (Treaty of Turkmenchai):
“…the Persian language remained the main language of administration in these provinces [Karabagh, Ganja, Sheki, Shirvan, Derbend, Kuba, Baku, and Talysh] until the reforms of 1840…the Persian tongue continued to be spoken in the courts until the 1870s…Persian also remained the language of the upper classes and of literature” (Zenkowsky, 1960, p.94).
The local authorities in the khanates were either Persian-speaking or of aristocracies who spoke Persian. The Shiite clergy who held considerable influence over the local courts and schools, helped maintain the influence of Iranian culture in the Caucasus.
As noted by Professor Swietochowski:
”The hold of Persian as the chief literary language in [the current Republic of ] Azerbaijan was broken, followed by the rejection of classical Azerbaijani, an artificial, heavily Iranized idiom that had long been in use along with Persian, though in a secondary position. This process of cultural change was initially supported by the Tsarist authorities, who were anxious to neutralize the still-widespread Azerbaijani identification with Persia.” (Swietochowski, 1995, p.29).
This policy was consistent with Czarist policies with respect to other recently conquered non-Russian nationalities of the empire (Swietochowski, 1995, p.29).
The above sketch clearly illustrates that de-Iranianization by Russia goes further back prior to the Soviet era. For more on the topic of Czarist-era Persephobia consult:
The Soviet Union simply continued the promotion of persephobia – many books were published in Soviet houses with the aim of re-writing the history of Iran.
Mir Jaafar Bagherov (1896-1956) of the Baku Communists was an extreme Europhile and Russophile. He wrote in the February 1953 edition of the Russian newspaper Kommunist that the peoples living along the Caspian Coast wished:
“…for nothing so much as the coming of the Muscovites as quickly as possible to deliver them from the yoke of Persian monarchy” (see Swietochowski, 1995, pp. 173-174).
Psychologically speaking, it is simply amazing how far the human mind can go towards manufacturing false information to sustain a series of fabricated beliefs.
Mir Jaafar Bagherov (1896-1956) had an intense dislike of Iranians and Persian culture. An extreme Europhile and Russophile, Bagherov is also the inventor of the term “Persian Chauvinism”. The term was invented by him and fellow Communists to create ethnic conflict inside Iran for the benefit of Soviet imperialism. Bagherov and his Communist comrades also used the term “pan-Iranist” against those who questioned Soviet falsification of Iran’s history and especially her legacy in the Caucasus.
The Soviets not only re-write history but also invented the terms “pan-Iranism” and “Persian chauvinism” – Bagherov was especially strident in the invention of such terminology. In general, “pan-Iranist” was applied to any person who dared mention of Iran’s historical legacy in the Caucasus, Central Asia Asia and indeed in history itself. “Persian chauvinist” is applied by the Communists against those who acknowledge the Persian cultural and linguistic legacy (a subset of the larger Iranian family). Many members of the Iranian left and especially the Tudeh Iranian Communist party wholeheartedly embraced the Russo-Soviet call for Persophobia.
An extreme example of Russophilia was seen in the late 1950s in Baku where one of the Tudeh party members
“…invited everyone to a toast in honor of the Turkmenchai treaty of 1828, which relinquished parts of the Caucasus to [Imperial Czarist] Russia” (Behrooz, 2000, pp.145).
But the Treaty of Turkmenchai is one of the most humiliating treaties ever signed by Iran in her entire history. Toasting this event would be unimaginable to Iranians across the political spectrum, including socialists and other non-aligned members of the Iranian Left.
The Tudeh toasting spectacle is truly phenomenal – it shows how far Communists (of any nationality) will go in betraying their nation for “ideology” which in practice ends up serving foreign imperial interests – precisely as outlined earlier by Buchar, Gramsci and Dodd.
An Example of the Tudeh Party’s war against Iranian History
It should come as no surprise therefore that members of the Iranian left continue to attack Iranian history. Note the video below where a Tudeh-Communist member compares the blood-thirsty Genghis Khan with the human rights legacy of Cyrus the Great – note that the speaker betrays his ignorance of Cyrus’ history and has no idea of Greek, Jewish, etc. references. The speaker of the Communist Iranian party below is Hamid Taghvai -حمید تقوایی-.
-Hamid Taghvai -حمید تقوایی- delivers a thundering speech against ancient Iran, Iranian nationality and Cyrus the Great. A victim of Communist Russian anti-Persian brainwashing. Note the hatred of this speaker against Cyrus the Great comparing him to Genghis Khan. Even more incredible is when Taghvai cites Robespierre as a Human Rights activist when in fact he had killed more than 1376 people in 49 days during the first days of the French revolution. Note that Taghvai cites his psychological kinship to Jalal al-Ahmad who claimed that technology and “Tractors destroy culture”.
Note the excerpt on Hamid Taghvai in Persian below:
-مقایسه کوروش و چنگیز از سوی حمید تقوایی بالاترین مقام حزب کمونیست کارگری
ایران. کوروش انگشت کوچیکه انقلابی های فرانسه هم نمی شند. این آدم حتی نمی
داند کوروش کدام کشور ها را فتح کرد. روبسپیر که اینهمه آدم کشت را برتر از
کوروش می داند!
The Iranian Left and ties to Racialist Movements
The Soviet Union has had a very strong role in promoting pan-Turkist Persephobia against Iran – it was in the 1940s when the Soviets attempted to impose a puppet regime in northwest Iran.
Who is the Boss? Photoshop image showing Pishevari with his ultimate master: “Communist Comrade” Joseph Stalin (source: Buruk). A letter written by Stalin to Pishevari stated in no uncertain terms as to who was “the boss”. The project to promote ethnic separatism in Iran is now being promoted by Western lobbies.
Interestingly, Iranian leftist writers are closely allied at present with ethno-nationalist separatists. These elements (leftists and separatists) often post Persophobic narratives in Iranian websites and media venues such as Akhbar Rooz, Iranglobal and Shahrvand.
Media outlets such as these are essentially official alliances between leftists and ethno-nationalist separatists… they feed off each other – their common bond being Persophobia.
Iranians united in Persophobia: a collection of leftist writers and pan-Turkist separatists in Toronto, 2011. The views of these individuals often appear in the Toronto-based Persian-language Shahrvand newspaper. From right to left: Dr. Alireza Asgharzadeh (see discussion of his books below), Reza Berahani, GunAz TV’s Ahmad Obali (a restaurant owner with history of selling alcohol to minors), Ruhi Tuna (Pan-Turk who is dedicating a statue for the late pan-Turkist revisionist writer Zehtabi), Ali Qarajalu (Pan-turkist who writes for Shahrvand), and Ms. Leyla Mojtahedi (editor for Shahrvand).
The connections seen in the picture are notable. Obali (owner of Gunaz t.v. supported financially by Baku), ethno-nationalists Berahani and Asgharzadeh and of course the Iranian Shahrvand newspaper editor (Ms. Leyla Mojtahedi).
Dr. Alireza Asgharzadeh’s book ”Iran and the Challenge of Diversity” published in 2007 in notable in how it falsifies references and relies on pan-Turk and Soviet-era literature as well as anti-Semitic writers such as Nasser Pourpirar to re-write history. Asgharzadeh in fact cites the anti-Semite and Persophobe Pourpirar 17 times (pages 8, 30, 49-52, 55, 57, 62, 79-81, 178, 198, 206, 236 and 2) in his book.
Asgharzadeh also cites overtly racist websites in his book, one example being the Shamstabriz website. The site is laden with articles expressing hatred against Iranian peoples (especially Kurds) and Armenians: In one of its articles, the website openly calls for expelling Kurds out of their native homelands (see link here).
For more insight into Dr. Asgharzadeh’s book consult Azargoshnasp (An analysis of the Book by Dr. Alireza Asgharzadeh in pdf) and Kavehfarrokh.com’s analysis of Dr. Asgharzadeh’s text.
Another perspective into Dr. Asgharzadeh is found in the ratemyprofessors.com website. Students often note of Dr. Asgharzadeh’s helpful character, positive and creative teaching style, as well as his nice personality. Nevertheless, Dr. Asgharzadeh’s dislike of Iran and Iranians is evidently showing up in his classroom lectures in Sociology at York University. Note the following observation made by one of Dr. Asgharzadeh’s former students (posted in ratemyprofessors,com website):
This professor has a lot of **** opinions about people of the Middle East, and particularly Iranians. I do not quite understand why, as he is Iranian himself, but he has a hatred for Iranians that shows in his attempt to reinvent history and falsify everything from the history of Iran to a fabricated so called “Persian chauvenism“. Irresponsible. (posted 7/8/06 – see link)
The Iranian Establishment, Pan-Turkists and Eurocentrists: Re-Writing Iranian History
A common misconception is that the Iranian left is at odds with the Iranian establishment and its ideology of pan-Islamism. In practice the relationship between the two is far more complex. Simply put there are three types of leftists:
- Members who joined the pan-Muslim movement. These are featured in the education, media and government apparatus, like Pourpirar mentioned previously
- Members who, after initial support of the pan-Islamists, turned against them (like the MEK mentioned previously)
- Members associated with reformist movements. Numbers of these pose as Democracy activists but are (given their writings, activities, and associations) pan-Turkist, one notable example being Reza Berahani
The discussion here highlights the role of the first category (Members who joined the pan-Muslim movement).
Pan-Islamists, much like their Arabist nationalist offshoot, pan-Arabism, as well as as the Wahhabi and Talibanist offshoots, all view Iranian civilization as offensive to Islam. The late Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali (1926-2003) who had a profound hatred of Cyrus the Great described him as a “… tyrant, a liar…” (Molavi, A., 2005, The Soul of Iran. Norton, pp.14). Khalkhali maintained strong ties with Muslim Brotherhood movements in Arab countries as well as Pakistan. Khalkhali also argued that all history pertaining to Cyrus the Great was all simply a concoction by the late Shah – views which parallel those claimed by Western writers today such as Matthias Schultz of Spiegel Magazine, Harry De Quetteville, of Daily Telegraph, and a number of select academics.
The late pan-Islamist activist Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali (1926-2003). Khalkhali hated ancient Iran and “called for the destruction of the Cyrus tomb and remains of the two-thousand-year-old Persian palace in Shiraz, Fars Province, the Persepolis” (see Molavi, 2005, p.14) Elaine Sciolino who interviewed Ayatollah Majdeddin Mahallati of Shiraz has confirmed that Khalkhali came to Persepolis with “a band of thugs” and after a thundering speech linking Cyrus to the late Shah, tried to destroy Persepolis – mercifully he and his rabble were stopped by local residents and non-political clergy (Sciolino, E., 2000, The Soul of Iran, Touchstone, p.168).
Khalkhali had spent time in Psychiatric wards before the 1978-1979 Iranian revolution. Parviz Rajabi defends Western Eurocentrists who express similar anti-Cyrus opinions as the late Khalkhali (For more on this topic consult: When Iranian Professors attack their own History: The case of Dr. Parviz Rajabi).
But perhaps even more revealing is the fact that Khalkahli’s father was a member of the Soviet-engineered Azerbaijan Democratic Separatist and pan-Turkist movement which was a puppet of the Moscow’s Joseph Stalin. This revelation helps explain the late Khalkahli’s hatred of Iran and Cyrus the Great.
As an old English axiom states: like father – like son. Khalkhali’s father passed on his Communist and pan-Turkist inspired Persophobia to his son. This example adds further credence to the theory that members of the discredited pan-Turkist and pro-Moscow separatist movement of Azarbaijan had “re-invented” themselves as pan-Muslims in order to find a more effective way of promoting Persophobia in order to destroy Iran’s history, Persian language and cultural legacy.
The links between pan-Turkist Persophobes and members of the extreme religious right continue to surface. One such figure is the fiery 1978-1979 revolutionary activist, Ayatollah Hadi Ghaffari. The latter made news by virtually exploding onto the Iranian headlines in 1979 after he personally executed former Iranian Prime Minister Amir-Abbas Hoveida (1919-1979) during the early post-revolutionary days. He has since “transformed” into a reformist of the Green Movement – however, his real motives for joining the reformist movement is to promote pan-Turkist ethno-nationalism.
Hadi “Machine Gun” Ghaffari in 1979 brandishing the UZI sub-machine gun he used to execute former Prime Minister Amir-Abbas Hoveida (1919-1979). “Machine Gun” Ghaffari has since then transformed from Pan-Muslim fanatic (1979) to Green movement reformist (2009) to modern-day pan-Turkist.
Once again we see what appears to be a extreme religious activist who shows his true colors as a pan-Turk Persophobe inspired by the Moscow Communists. Ghaffari is yet another example of a pan-Turkist who has used pan-Islamist Persophobic rhetoric to promote what is essentially an ethno-nationalist separatist agenda. Below is a pan-Turkist manifesto printed in Tabriz in July 2011 in which Ghaffari “comes out of the closet” by openly stating that he support pan-Turkist separatism.
Hadi Ghaffari’s pan-Turkist manifesto. The middle page of the above pamphlet reads “Hadi Ghaffari: The pain of the Azarbaijani today is not one of bread but of identity“. This is almost an exact clone of the “manifestos” issued by the Moscow-invented and controlled separatist movement of the 1940s which was backed by Russo-Soviet tanks and troops occupying Iranian territory. Thanks to the neglect of history teaching in contemporary Iran, many Iranians are not even aware of the history of foreign nations using pan-Turkism to promote their territorial and economic ambitions.
Recall our previous reference to Mehdiyeva with respect to the falsification of history books in the former Soviet Union with respect to Iran: the same is happening inside Iran.
It is truly remarkable that the re-writing History Books in Iran at present bears an almost exact resemblance to the methods of the Communists and their successors in the Republic of Azarbaijan:
- Censorship & Rewriting High School History books (in Persian)-سانسور گسترده ای در کتاب های تاریخی
- BBC Report in Persian: The elimination of the history of pre-Islamic monarchs of Persia in Iran’s history books –حذف پادشاهان از کتب تاریخ مدارس ایران-See also Radio Farda report.
- Concerns raised with Ministry of Education of Iran and Historiography of Iran
Thus while the Republic of Azarbaijan and Iran appear to be at odds, both establishments promote the exact same policy of falsifying the history of Iran. Joining this dynamic are European and Western Eurocentrists in media outlets, the internet and especially in academia.
Persophobia’s Common ground: (left) The late pan-Islamist activist Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali (1926-2003) who labelled Cyrus as “a tyrant…a liar” (middle) Jona “Tehran” Lendering whose Eurocentric view labels the history of Cyrus the Great as “Shah propaganda” (for more on Lendering, see article: Axis of Prejudice) (right) Dr. Sadegh Zibakalam [صادق زيباکلام] has declared that “I would not give/exchange a single hair of an Arab…for hundreds of Cyrus’… !“
In summary, ever since their arrival with the Iranian left into Iran in 1979, the Muslim Brotherhood has engaged in what can be termed as an ideological invasion of and the social re-engineering of Iranian society. Note the following report (in both Persian and English) by Dr. Shayda Vasseghi –شیدا واثقی-:
Note the following excerpts from Dr. Vasseghi’s report:
“…any degree of bias observed in foreign sources about ancient Persians is nothing compared to the negativity, falsehood, and insufficient information provided by the current Iranian establishment to Iranian children… The overall tone is negativity towards Iranian monarchs, who define the nation’s culture and history, and all leaders of the Iranian communities, who helped build and protect the country. The ancient Persians are described as greedy, unjust, chaotic, and selfish… There is no mention of the ancient Iranian prophet, Zoroaster, who is credited with being the first monotheist… suggests that Cyrus’ motivation for conquest was to become wealthy. Nothing is mentioned of Cyrus’ famous bill of rights cylinder and his decree in freeing the Jewish captives from Babylonia while taking on the financial responsibility to rebuild their temple…”
As noted previously, Eurocentrists in Academia (e.g. Wouter Henkelman and Amelie Kuhrt) and Media (Matthias Schultz of Spiegel Magazine) have been supporting the ideological narratives of Iranian Persophobes in the Leftist and Pan-Islamist movements (see video below). These actions are also supported by Jona Lendering’s activists in Wikipedia.
In summary, Eurocentrists and their Muslim Brotherhood/Leftist allies are promoting the following Persophobic viewpoints in Iranian Studies and the re-writing of Iranian history (notice the almost exact parallels of the points below with that of the Tudeh cited in this article):
Thesis 1) Cyrus the Great was a tyrant and brutal conqueror and all references to his enlightened policies are “propaganda”. The Cyrus Cylinder is nothing but an object of Babylonian origin.
An article posted on Iranian.com describes the above three academics (left to right: Amelie Kuhrt from England, Wouter Henkelman from Holland, Zainab Bahrani from Iraq) as having “…completely discredited any positive reference to Cyrus [the Great], his legacy and any and all things Persian and Iranian…ridiculing all things Persian”.
Thesis 2) This is the notion that ancient Iran simply borrowed, copied and/or adapted the existing civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Most of ancient Iran’s heritage is said to be borrowed from Mesopotamia. This is strikingly parallel to the claims made by the former Soviet Union and its derivatives in the Iranian Tudeh and its leftist derivatives, the pan-Muslim movement and ethno-nationalist movements such as pan-Turkism, pan-Kurdism and pan-Arabism.
Javad Heyat, the editor of the pan-Turkist Valiq publication which essentially re-prints Baku’s historical falsifications and ethnocentric propaganda. The main thrust of his writings are that all references to the accomplishments of ancient Iran are false. Hayat has a free hand to publish his materials in Tehran and is not questioned by Eurocentrist academics, the Iranian left or members of Iran’s religious right. This is perhaps the first time in history where an editor is allowed to publish racist propaganda against his own host country. Note that he has placed the picture of the president of a foreign country – namely that of Elham Aliev – upon his desk in his Tehran office. For more on Mr. Heyat, click here…
Thesis 3) The notion that Iran’s heritage after the fall of the Sassanians is indebted to the Arabo-Muslims – proponents of this view further argue that Iran did little to contribute to the wider civilizational accomplishments of the Caliphates. This idea is strongly promoted by the pan-Muslim movement and its allies in Western academia.
The late Professor William Montgomery Watt (1909-2006) who argued in his book “The Majesty that was Islam” that Iranian accomplishments in Islam are irrelevant. Similar writings are appearing in a new generation of texts.
Thesis 4) There are suggestions that the Shahname is a racist narrative of fables bearing little significance in terms of relevance to pre-Islamic Iran. This view is being strongly promoted by the pan-Muslim movement (see Hojat-ol-Islam va Al-Moslemeen Dr. Agha-Tehrani further below).
Being made an example of? Professor Mahmoud Omidsalar was duly “punished” for daring to challenge Eurocentrist views on the Shahname– his articles have been banned from publication in books and journals. Professor Omidsalar also lost his job as a teaching academic and has been forced to work as a manual labourer just to survive. He has referred to corruption and “Parti-Bazi” [پارتی بازی] (Persian term for working with the “right connections” or “greasing the wheels” to get things done) in Iranian Studies venues inside Iran and in the West. For more click here…
Thesis 5) This is the notion that the name of the Persian Gulf for the body of water below the Iranian coastline must be re-examined. There are Western academics within Iranian Studies who have in fact written books “The Ara…bian Gulf in Antiquity” (see below)…
(Click to Enlarge) Professor Daniel Potts of the University of Sydney (top left) and his textbook “The Ar..bian Gulf in Antiquity” (top right) used as a standard reference in Arabian universities such as the University of Sharjah (bottom image).
6) Those who suggest that ancient and post-Islamic Iran bears a unique legacy in civilization are “nationalists“, “pro-Shah“, sentimental, emotional, delusional, biased, primitive, racist, naive, and uneducated. Note again the interesting parallels between these terms and the terminology of the Communists who often used the term “pan-Iranist” and “Persian chauvinist” against all who questioned their historiography.
Note the video below which clearly demonstrates how such ideas are being promoted at the official level:
Video showing various members of the current Iranian establishment attacking the Persian language and pre-Islamic legacy of ancient Iran. For non-Persian readers, a summary is provided below of each clip seen in the above video:
Clip 1: Iranian theology expert states on Iran-TV: “Language of Heaven is Arabic and Language of Hell is Persian”
Clip 2: Dr. Reza Ravazadeh states on Iran TV: “…there never was a king named Cyrus…or Darius…this is proven scientifically…”. A longer version of this clip can be seen (click here) in which Ravazadeh cites that “Scientists from Germany have proven this” which is in apparent reference to academics like those cited in the Iranian.com article and Matthias Schultz’s article against Cyrus the Great in Spiegel Magazine.
Clip 3: Arabian Shiite Mullah Muqtada al-Sadr states: “There is nothing in Iran which is called Persian or Persian civilization…”
Clip 4: Iranian military security official in uniform states on Iran-TV “Countries of the Ar…bian Gulf” instead of the historically correct designation for the body of water known as the Persian Gulf.
Clip 5: The late Ayatollah Motahari (1920-1979) states that Iranians practicing ancient Persian customs such as the Chahar-shanbeh Soori are “…families of idiots…from fathers/ancestors of idiots…the first day of Nowruz is a cursed/infamous day…”
The statements of Hojat-ol-Islam va Al-Moslemeen Dr. Agha-Tehrani against the Persian language and the Shahname epic of Firdowsi (known as the Illiad of Persia) are also revealing, as pan-Turkists as well as their leftist allies express very similar sentiments:
Hatred of the Persian Language: Hojat-ol-Islam va Al-Moslemeen Dr. Agha-Tehrani: You [People of Iran] made an error to become engaged/participate in the fantasies of this book [Shahname], to set aside Arabic and instead to revive the Ajam [non-Arab or Persian]. I am Persian-speaking but say: what “flower” (colloquial: pride/honor) has this Persian bestowed upon us/upon our heads ?
Interestingly, reports have surfaced of the current Iranian establishment working with Eurocentrists to re-write the history of Iran. As reported by Shimon D. Cohen:
“Outside Iran, the regime has also hired a number of foreigners to attack Cyrus the Great’ historical figure – …a well known among them is a pseudo-historian … Jona Lendering …Islamic republic has opened an office for him in Central Tehran and put him on their pay list for his supererogatory services. To promote himself as a ‘historian’…began a hate campaign against those Iranian academics not favored by the Islamic Republic, who are living outside Iran and are expert in pre-Islamic Iranian history, in particular Dr Kaveh Farrokh…”
Information provided by Iran-based IBNA reveals further the case of historical revisionism against Iranian history which is led by Eurocentrists:
این پژوهشگر تاریخ به مشکل دیگری که در حوزه تاریخ وجود دارد، اشاره کرد و گفت: مشکل دیگری که در حوزه تاریخ با آن روبهرو هستیم سازمان تدوین کتب درسی در وزارت آموزشوپروش بهشمار میرود که تاثیر بسیار مخربی بر شناساندن تاریخ ایران به دانشآموزان و آیندگان ایفا کرده است. در دورهای مامور تدوین کتابهای تاریخ مدارس بودم اما پس از آنکه متنها را تحویل دادم، شخصی که متخصص امور تاریخ نبود آن را غیرقابل قبول دانست و به این ترتیب شکل و شمایل کتابها تغییر کرد و با رویکردی که افراد دیگری میخواستند، تدوین شدند.
Kaveh Farrokh has in fact been heavily attacked by Mr. Jona Lendering since 2008 (many of these Ad Hominem) which been supported in writing by Amelie Kuhrt (who received a book prize by the Ahmadinejad regime) and Pierre Briant.
Efforts to Shut Down Kavehfarrokh.com
In addition to the efforts reported by Shimon D. Cohen, there have also been serious efforts to shut down, block and hack Kavehfarrokh.com through the following countries:
- China (city of Huli Anhui)
- Russia (city of Moscow)
- Tehran Establishment
- Turkey (city of Ankara)
- Kazakhstan (city of Astana)
Pan-Turkist Lobbies: Issuing Threats to Prevent the Truth of History
As noted previously, the Baku establishment and pan-Turkists as a whole, have a keen interest in re-writing the history of Azarbaijan. This may explain why these lobbies have openly threatened Kaveh Farrokh. They have also worked with Eurocentrists to attack Kaveh Farrokh on Wikipedia.
Pan-Turk activists based in Baku have threatened to attack Kaveh Farrokh with acid – below is a snapshot photo demonstrating this threat (they were apparently not pleased with a lecture given by Farrokh at the University of Southern California on April 22, 2013).
[Click to Enlarge] Pan-Turk activist on Facebook, Aysen Mustafayeva from Baku threatens to spray acid onto Kaveh Farrokh simply because of his academic lecture at the University of Southern California (April 22, 2013) which displayed ancient maps and historical references to the ancient Caucasus. The identity of the person conversing with Mustafayeva has been blocked for their safety from pan-Turk activists.
For more on pan-Turkist threats and their ties to the Iranian Establishment see: Pan-Turk Attacks against Kaveh Farrokh