I am compelled to send you this e-mail as I sense a real sense of urgency. As we speak, a whole new set of books questioning the veracity of Iran’s historical existence are being published. There is a new one by Alireza Asgharzadeh.
Asgharzadeh profoundly dislikes Iran and his views are wholly consistent with those activists who wish to carve up Iran into small mini-states. His new book is entitled:
Author: Alireza Asgharzadeh
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (June 12, 2007)
I just received a copy of the text through a friend who (like myself) is concerned. In a nutshell, Asgharzadeh uses Sociological theory and paradigms to make the following cases:
(1) Iran is an imaginary construct.
Asgharzadeh links the late Edward Said’s “Orientalism” (which actually concerned itself mostly with Turco-Arab relations with the West) and claims that Iranian history as we know it is based on “Orientalist” scholarship – he labels these as “Aryanist” and “Indo-Europeanists”. In a sweep (by attaching academic-style references – like Brenda Shaffer), he has labelled ALL of Indo-European scholarship as “racist” and “Orientalist”. Interestingly, it seems as if Asgharzadeh is placing Sociological theory above anthropology, linguistics, and historiography, It is as if, Sociology alone is able to replace these other aforementioned disciplines. Here we see a case of ideology using “scientific” sociological theory to suppress other disciplines that produces data that contradict one’s views.
(2) Asgharzadeh subscribes to the conspiracy theory that the ancient world fabricated the history of Iran.
Again, he relies on a small set of “historical references”, but these are not primary sources. He makes no allusion to references in ancient Japan, Greece, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam – I also doubt if he reads Greek or Latin – he makes no references to the works of scholars such as Mazzini or Spatari (these are in Italian and not translated to English as of yet). He is also re-interpreting a select number of Greek and Roman references, among others. What is fascinating is that Asgharzadeh insists that the term “Aryan” is simply the application of western “Orietnal” scholars – yet fails to explain why the term keeps appearing in Greco-Roman sources such as Strabo, Herodotus or in archaeological sites such as Paikuli (Shapour I’s inscriptions of victory against Rome).
(3) He promotes the notion that the vast Majority of Iranian Azarbaijanis, Kurds and Iranian Arabs wish to separate from Iran.
Using sociological theory (while failing to appreciate the science of historiography), Asgharzadeh fails to provide any hard data to back up his assertions. A number of preliminary surveys have found these assertions by Asghar-Zadeh to be untrue.
Not surprisingly, one of the “reviewers” of Asgharzadeh’s book is Iran-hater Brenda Shaffer (see link to Amazon shown before below the book cover). Both Asghar-Zadeh and Shaffer have shot themselves in the foot. This is because both rely on the narratives (and creative fiction) of Nasser Pourpirar. You may wish to see the following link regarding Pourpirar in Wikipedia:
Here are a few quotes from that link:
He claims that construction of Persepolis was never finished