Thought Archive

Friday, October 05, 2007

Iran and I

My view of Iran is shaped by who I am – a child from the northern border. The relationship I have this with this complex and fascinating country I have never been to was and is rocky. It is a great civilization, with culture and tradition exceeding many others, the culture which saturates my veins. Forces of Islam shaped it but not remade it in the Arabic image, quite the contrary – allowed Persian political concepts of Kinghsip, its poetry, philosophy and science to dominate Islamic world for centuries . And in 16 century, the eternal underdogs of Islam found their refuge in reinvigorated Iranian state, which became a symbol of Shia Islam. Shia Islam, Zoroastrian tradition and Persian poetry unite this unique and diverse land.

Ten million Azeris live, and sometimes quite happily live, in Iran. They speak they way we do, they joke and think the same thoughts, they celebrate Novruz and pray same way. And yet I do not feel affinity to them, not even to those who loathe the current regime.

The events that led to our separation happened 150 years ago, when two Azerbaijans started their separate existence. Our orbit was first Russian, and is now Turkish, secular and broadly Pro-Western. Their orbit is Pan-Iranian, Persian and Islamic. Even as we pray, our prayers are not to the same.

At the same time I recognize that Iran is probably is most implacable enemy of our Turkishness ready to steer up trouble at any time to gain points, for that is what they did during Azerbaijani-Armenian War. Regime’s position towards Azerbaijan, whether it was secular one under Shah, or Islamic, under Ayatollahs is that of rejection. Now US may be steering troubles in Iran using its ethnic minorities, Kurds and Azeris, most of all.

Good example of these trends:

On March 19, 2007, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran joined President Robert Kocharyan of Armenia to inaugurate a gas pipeline to pump Iranian natural gas to Armenia.[24] Armenia is Azerbaijan's arch-foe. Likewise, in a Washington Institute for Near East Policy analysis, analysts alluded to reports that Israeli intelligence maintains listening posts along the Azerbaijani border with Iran.[25].
We should show prudence and continue our reliance on our strategic partnership with Turkey, without getting involved into a possible American foray into Iran. This participation would be repugnant to me and many of my ethnic brethren, another destructive and counterproductive American folly,which they have become famous for. Paradoxically though, tamed and pro-Western Iran will rob Azerbaijan of any strategic importance whatsoever with last shreds of sympathy towards us disappearing. All should remember how alliances are made and broken especially towards non-western countries . Great skill in the game of playing the enemies against each other is required for self-preservation and unfortunately our region is all about self-preservation.


Riri said...

You do what is best for you, every country does. Although I am all for strategic alliances and unions, they seem to be the best counter-balance for greedy US.

NoolaBeulah said...

I must agree with Riri regarding self-preservation: it is the first imperative for all countries. Obviously, for small countries it is more difficult, but the nature of the 'game' is the same for all.

I disagree with Riri regarding the US. Creating alliances whose main function would be to oppose the US would be self-defeating. I'm not saying that everyone should give way to them. It's more a matter of being able to use the relationship to your benefit as so many South-East Asian countries have.

Anonymous said...

One time The interests of a small country may align with US ones in the region (Energy Policy, Trade - but then they may not (e.e attacking Iran or Armenian genocide). If US is prudent enough they should not live under dictum "Either you are with us, or against us" paraphrasing Ol' George Dubya.

Anonymous said...

I am an Iranian but I disagree on couple of points. Mainly what made Iran neutral (or perhaps pro-Armenian) was that the republic of Azerbaijan was making territorial land claims on Iran during the Elchibey era. This lead Iran (any other country would do the same) to become more friendly towards Armenia. I think the republic of Azerbaijan (Elchibey) and pan-Turanist tendencies were at fault here. Either way, I hope to see a better relationship between the two countries.

Riri said...

Hello noolabeulah, I know what you mean, having the opposition of the US as the manin blind objectif would be certainly foolish, but the idea of one super power that nothing can stop makes me nerveous somehow, it just isn't right, the world becomes like a democratic dictatorship (where everyone "chooses" to align alongside the super power not because they want to but because there is no other choice), a notion that is both absurd and nightmarish!

Hazar Nesimi said...

Dear anonymous - I agree that there are huge excesses in the times of Elchibey - but they have been curbed, not many people support partition of Iran many, except rabid nationalists. But lets be honest Iran's unhappiness with us is older - it goes back to our own existence and even the name selected in 1918. We share and fight for the same culural space, legacy of Iranian empires. Nevertheless I am all for improvement of relationship, but this cant happen under current US/Iranian regimes.