Who can speak about Iranian society without speaking for it? How can one engage in critical reflection on the Iranian revolution at forty, without claiming the right to force Iranians’ will into crystallized categories and fallacious lines of reasoning?
On 11 February 2019, the Islamic Republic will celebrate forty years of political life in Iran. It has been the first experience of a modern Islamic State in the world. In other words, the rise of the Islamic Republic in Iran could be seen as the first political experience in institutionalisation of political Islam.
Since the onset of the Islamic Revolution of 1978-9 the Iranian foreign policy motto has been “Neither East, nor West, Islamic Republic”. But one has to consider that Iran has always been more East than West by both necessity and design. Faced with the economic consequences of Western containment, Iran put aside its historic rivalry with Russia, and included it in its Look East policy – referring to China, Russia and India.
Engagement and constructive dialogue, albeit conditional, are the leitmotif that have driven the European strategy towards Iran for the past three decades. While this is likely to continue being the case, the fear of being back to the future, in a situation in which such approach yielded limited results, might lead to a new and different stage in the EU-Iran relations moving forwards.
No. Among all the unknowns that 2019 might have in store for us, one development we need not expect is a collapse of the Islamic Republic due to the Trump administration’s policy of “maximum pressure”.
This week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bharam Qasemi expressed Iran’s support for the upcoming elections in Afghanistan, saying Tehran will accept any result.
“I have a message for the people of Iran: The United States hears you; the United States supports you; the United States is with you.” It is July 22, Sunday night in California. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a speech at the Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley. The event title seems an eloquent call for action: “Supporting Iranian Voices”. Pompeo addresses the “Iranian people” 17 times in his speech.
On the eve of the historic meeting between Kim and Trump which may resolve one of the biggest nuclear crises of our century – though optimism is not on the rise these days – many pundits are brought to think: why is Trump willing to get to yes with North Korea while stubbornly throwing away an already achieved, and functioning, nuclear deal with Iran?
For several years now, there has been a volcano of national aspirations waiting to breakdown the putrefying system of global governance and erupt out of control. The quest for peace through the creation of the United Nations (UN) is well past its use-by date. Religious violence has replaced nationalistic wars, the battlefield has shifted to shopping malls, streets and borders from strategic assets, citizens have substituted soldiers in death counts, economic violence has superseded physical violence.