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A Walk through Iranian-European History

by ANN DE CRAEMER in Brussles

06 May 2010 21:5431 Comments
Catherine-Deneuve1.jpgA rich cultural legacy reinforces a commitment to solidarity.

[ opinion ] In 1971, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi celebrated 2,500 years of Persian monarchy with an opulent party for hundreds of international luminaries featuring plates of roast peacock stuffed with foie gras, 5,000 bottles of champagne, and imperial Caspian caviar. Near the ruins of ancient Persepolis, 600 guests attended the most lavish official banquet in modern history, as recognized by Guinness World Records. Among them were the heads of state and nobility of countries such as Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Italy -- to name just a few.

Eight years later, the Islamic Revolution led to a chill in what had been the friendly relationship between Europe and Iran. Diplomacy and trade continued, in contrast to the total rupture between the United States and the Islamic Republic after the seizure of the U.S. embassy. But relations between Europe and Iran have never returned to "normal." Especially since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005, Europe often seems at a loss as to how to handle the fanatic regime in Tehran. The European Union acknowledges the problem on its website: "There is great potential for deeper relations between Iran and the EU. Whilst practical cooperation between the EU and Iran already exists, the scope is currently well below potential."

On March 22, the European Union issued a statement calling for Iran to stop censoring the Internet and jamming European satellite broadcasts. It has not said whether it will take punitive action if Tehran refuses. Faced with the political turmoil in Iran after last June's rigged election, the European Union seems to be very careful in acting tough with Tehran -- an attitude prompted at least in part by the fear that a belligerent tone would serve to confirm the regime's rhetoric that "foreign enemies" want to overthrow the Islamic Republic and harm the legacy of Imam Khomeini.

I cannot judge whether the policy of the European Union toward Iran is the "right" one. In any event, those of us who are European citizens need to focus first on how we can try to make things better ourselves. We may not be able to directly shape the policies of Europe's leaders, but we can take a stance toward the problems in Iran.

It is very clear that the political rift between Iran and Europe caused by the Islamic Revolution has significantly affected the European mindset. After thirty years of cool relations, Europeans seem to have forgotten about Iran. Before 1979, the extent of friendly contact almost made it seem as if it the country, despite its location, was part of the West. Today, Iran might as well be another world for most Europeans: it is seen as a gloomy place full of bearded ayatollahs and women in black chador. After last year's election, media coverage of Iranian youth fighting for their rights in blue jeans and green shirts broadened perceptions a bit, but all in all, Europeans generally feel that Iran is a country that has nothing to do with Europe and have forgotten how much it did in the past.

Much has been written about recent European -- for which, read British -- interference in Iran, but there is a rich legacy that is now widely overlooked. Twenty-five centuries ago, the conflicts between the Hellenic city-states and the Achaemenid Empire, known as the Greco-Persian Wars, led to a massive cross-cultural exchange. Greek influence on the East has been thoroughly researched, but it is about time to analyze the other direction of cultural influence -- a subject that British historian Tom Holland has dealt with in his masterpiece Persian Fire (2005). When we identify Greece as the cradle of Western civilization, we should also mention that many of its great achievements -- from economy and culture to politics -- are indebted to Persia. One remarkable example: When the famous Odeon of Pericles was excavated, it turned out to have almost the exact same dimensions as the Hall of the Hundred Columns at Persepolis, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire.

Leap forward to the 17th century. The Dutch East India Company has a trading post in the port of Bandar Abbas, and the extensive commerce between Iran and the Netherlands leads to a vibrant cultural exchange: Persian people and costumes become a motif in the Dutch paintings of the Golden Age. European art was also very much in demand at the courts of the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736). On January 3, 1608, a delegation of Discalced Carmelite monks, arriving in Esfahan from Rome via Kraków, presented to Shah Abbas I one of the most precious treasures of medieval European Christianity -- an illuminated manuscript with hundreds of miniatures of scenes from the Pentateuch and the books of Judges and Kings. Shah Abbas, entranced by the tome, ordered that it be provided with captions in Persian so he could better understand it.

Persian literature left its marks on European literature, as well. Johann Wolfgang Goethe's passion for Hafez inspired him to write his famous West-Eastern Divan (1814-1819), very influential on 19th-century religious and literary syntheses between "Occident" and "Orient." Among the many other examples of European admiration for Persian poetry, there is, of course, the famous translation of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyatby Edward Fitzgerald (1859), the single most popular work of Victorian poetry. In the realm of philosophy, Friedrich Nietzsche's Also sprach Zarathustra(1883-1885) invokes the ancient Persian prophet as the wellspring of his revolutionary vision of morality.

In the century just ended, the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 led to a constitution and a system of constitutional monarchy closely modeled on Belgium's. Recent European literature has also played a part in Iranian culture: Sadegh Hedayat (1903-1951), who lived for many years in Paris, brought the innovations of modernism to Persian letters.

It is crucial to tell these stories about our shared past, because words are what we have as European citizens to help those in Iran in their struggle for freedom. In the West, many have lost their belief in the power of "mere" words, but in Iran, no one has. The constant efforts of the regime to shut down newspapers and websites and to censor all media are clear proof of words' power. The current crisis adds a new element to our shared past: Iranians now struggle for just those things that French citizens fought for during their revolution -- liberté, égalité, fraternité. We need to speak out instead of keeping silent, and emphasize not what separates us, but rather all that binds us together.

These famous words of the Persian poet Saadi adorn the entrance to the Hall of Nations of the United Nations building in New York:

Of One Essence is the Human Race,
Thusly has Creation put the Base.
One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace.
The Unconcern'd with Others' Plight,
Are but Brutes with Human Face

All Europeans should feel concerned with the plight of Iran and its people, and feel the urge to speak up against its brutal, inhuman regime.

Ann De Craemer is the English editor at Tehran Review, where this article first appeared.

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31 Comments

There is also the oft-ignored fact that Persian and most European languages share common linguistic roots, since Persian is unlike most language groups in the region an Indo-European language.
As a result, some of the most ancient layers of our respective cultures share common roots and themes (since language has always been a vehicle of culture).

Kevin Daly / May 7, 2010 5:48 AM

"On March 22, the European Union issued a statement calling for Iran to stop censoring the Internet and jamming European satellite broadcasts." WOW, they must be shivering in their turbans.

The EU, UK, and US are just 'hot" talk*.

Just stop satellite service to the Regime and you will show your resolve. The flick of ONE SWITCH will express it all: you jerk with the internet, you will have your hands pumping air.

But, the regime is vital to the west. It keeps the oil flowing, often using foreign workers. Oil should be $350 PBB, it is around $80, at less than a quarter of its real value. That is why the important switch is not flicked on the satellites.

Shut down the mullah's channels and keep other broadcasts and communications on. That is absolutely possible.

* Sedashoon as jaye' garm dar-miyad, that is, they speak through a hot orifice, thus UK, US and EU do a lot of "hot" talking. Politicians stink.

Anonymous / May 7, 2010 7:55 AM

I love it when US presidents and European officials lay on the platitudes. Ancient culture is what they keep calling it. Contributors to world knowledge and art...

Stroke down there, and twist my neck up here. That is "just" foreign policy.

All cultures have exchanged ideas and knowledge. Nothing unusual between Europe and Iran. So, I don't know what this platitudinal essay is about (Albeit well written), but I am guarding my neck carefully.

Iran was treated just like other "others", raped sec.

Anonymous / May 7, 2010 8:06 AM

This is orientalist writing at its condescending worst.


Mlle. de Craemer has the notorious Dutch East India Company, the herald of Western colonialism, fostering a "vibrant cultural exchange" between Persia and The Netherlands.


As evidence she points out the demand for European paintings in the Safavid Court and the Dutch fad for painting Persians, oblivious to the irony that in both cases, it was Europeans who were doing the painting and representing.


And as 'Anonymous' points out at 8:06AM above, "all cultures have exchanged ideas and knowledge. Nothing unusual between Europe and Iran."


The animating theme of Mlle. de Craemer's homily seems to be that Iranians should take pride in their historical contributions to Western Civilization.


She further reassures us that beardless and chador-free Iranians can even aspire to honorary Western status, as we once came close to attaining when the creme de la creme of Europe's pink-fleshed elite gathered at Persepolis in 1971 to gobble down and digest vast quantities of foie gras and champagne flown in from Paris.


I would consider it a disgrace for Iran -- an insult to the majesty of Achaemenid Persia -- if the syphlitic weasels who run the West are ever allowed to set foot on the hallowed grounds of Persepolis again.


Iran's value to us, Mlle. de Craemer, is absolute. It does not depend on the esteem of Europeans, nor does it rely on the measure of our contribution, real or embellished, to your civilization.

Ali from Tehran / May 7, 2010 8:11 PM

Old Europe as Don Rumsfeld called it when they wouldn't join his adventure in Iraq, now seems to be unimpressed by the IRI even though they need and want its oil and natural gas. Could it be that Iran like Turkey, is not welcome to the Christian Club. Or more likely, they don't think they can exchange anything but money and oil(maybe not even that) with a country that is beginning to resemble N. Korea, Zimbabwe and Burma all rolled into one. 300 million people in Europe and another 300 million on the other side of the Atlantic. Who needs either of these markets? Better to be independent than be colonized by the likes of Sweden, Poland, Germany with their long histories as colonizers. As Ahmadinijad constantly repeats, the sky is the limit and Iran is now the richest, the fairest, the strongest, the wisest, a beacon of political development. European officials take heed or you will be left behind.

pirooz / May 8, 2010 2:09 AM

Though I agree on the shortcomings of Ms de Craemer's article (the Dutch East India Company is really an infamous example for "relations"), Ali and Pirooz just continue with the IR's outdated "West is bad, we are good" slogans.
Wake up, guys, and have a look around: nearly everything in Iran from cars to cinema is western and much loved by Iranians!
Instead of adapting to our contemporary social and cultural realities, you prefer to cling to 1400 year-old prejudices.

Asoudeh bekhabid, zira ke ma sabz ha bidarim...

Arshama

Arshama / May 8, 2010 1:15 PM

Dear Arshama,


I believe the outdated slogan to which our confused parents and grandparents subscribed, and which you are respectfully invited to reexamine, is "West is the measure of all things civilized, so let's mimic them and strive for their approval."


That is the sentiment which Mlle. de Craemer has picked up from her Iranian exile friends and is trying to cultivate in her essay.


I would not categorize myself as Islamist, not even faintly. I see as much staleness and decay in the religious infatuation of Islamists as I do in the Eurocentrism of Iran's diaspora.


But I do believe the West is passe, yesterday's
news, as are those Iranians which still suffer from an inferiority-complex towards it.


I hope that we do not disagree on this point.

Ali from Tehran / May 8, 2010 9:53 PM

Ali and Pirooz are part of the propaganda machine for this detested Reactionary government System called Islamic Republic of Iran. Guys, the demise of this anti-human regime is near, and so is your payroll. Wake up and smell the coffee before it is too late.

Sia

sia / May 8, 2010 10:57 PM

Dear Siamak,


Good sleuthing, my dear Watson!


But if my IR paymaster's demise is near, how will I buy coffee to smell in the morning?


It's either "smell the coffee" or "get off the IR payroll." I can't do both. Cash is king, you know.


Please check with your elders, clear your mind of conflicting metaphors, and send me coherent instructions.


Thanks.

Ali from Tehran / May 9, 2010 12:37 AM

Ali

I have done my assignment and checked with my elders, and my question is: who in a right mind would defend this fundamentalist regime and its policies in a way that you guys do? by the way, the Coffee is on me.

Sia / May 9, 2010 7:05 PM

To Ali with some word of common wisdom

West is all what you have to cover for your short coming and blame . Its all what you have to try to hide behind your way of mis-running Iran. West is all the reason you need to have people send to gallops day and day out. "The West" is where your paymasters sell their Oil to and get hundred of billions of dollars to live the large opulent full of deceit and hypocrisy life that they have right now. West is where your check masters get their technology to run that country . West is you all will go when there is too much noise out in the streets. West is where you and your folks will spend their summer time and .... with ordinary Iranian money.

Being called a western is not a quality, if there is a better thing to be , like being yourself, like being who ever you are. But you dont have that identity, you just like to bash this and that just to make yourself relevant. But you know, you are not relevant. You are just intoxicated with the false sense of security and superiority that you have got by play the game.

I am sure with folks like you, Janti like people, dont need to learn English and spend their time reading TehranBuearu.
You say: "But I do believe the West is passe, yesterday's"!!!
What do you exactly mean. Are you saying Europe is a demising species that ought not to be count on in word's politic, social and cultural scene.

West is by itself more a distorted picture of what the islamic ingnorante' have referred to all these year. West a not an entity , its not a culture or a way of dealing with the rest of the world. Its how we started to believe because those who promulgated this interpretation of modernity, could not get themselves to comprehend the multitude and diversity of so called "West".

"The West" is no a beacon of progress because it/they have their short comings yet they have contributed to the world as we know than your calcified megalomaniac Eastern culture. But wait, are you an easterner? Are you in par with a guy from India, Afghanistan, Sauidi? Of course not. You are you and they are they. There is no scenes to generalize and lump everybody into a pot.

Do not call "... West is passe, yesterday's" , unless you have a foot to stand on and a valid argument to make. O! i know you are just gonna write back and say O look at these westerners living an incest-ful, hedonic life with no moral values...etc . Well, then that would probably remind me that you are good FridayPrayer-Goer.


Stop using West as the cure of your shortfalls , since they are not doing the same to you.
next time that you invented something or at least had something worthwhile to say , drop by and we will toast your evolution in the ranks of independent minded people.


PersianTraveler / May 10, 2010 12:28 AM

Dear PersianTraveler,


Thanks for your "word of common wisdom."


As per your profound advice, I will henceforth "find a foot to stand on", cease "mis-running Iran," shed my "calcified megalomaniac Eastern culture," avoid "scenes to generalize," and "stop using the West as a cure for my shortfalls."


Dear Siavash,


You can send coffee money via Paypal to ReactionaryPropagandaMachine@IR-Payroll.com. (Please be generous.)

Ali from Tehran / May 10, 2010 5:47 AM

There's good old Ali From Omaha again, spewing his smug nonsense, trying to sound smarter than he is, picking fights and criticizing, making no sense whatsoever with his misdirected and righteous indignancy, loathing his own people and their history, and generally embarassing me and countless other proud and nationalistic Iranians. Knee jerk calls of "orientalism" when such a charge is unwarranted shows not only a fundamental misunderstanding of the word itself and of this article in particular, but also a fundamental ignorance of Iran's own past. People like Ali from Omaha need to crawl back into their libraries, carry on with their mental "gymnastics" (see Omaha, I didn't say it, so don't come crying again!) in the dark and lonely corners where they dwell and trudge along writing blogs all day long hoping they don't get the early call home for supper so they can type type type away on the public computer.

Iran has a glorious past (thanks to the writer for attempting to illuminate), a past that has been correctly lauded by some in the "West." Iran of the 1970's was leaps and bounds ahead of where it is today, but now we have scores of revisionist morons who sit around and dwell on the shortcomings of the Pahlavi era without focussing on what is more obvious and in our face -- the utter desecration of our history, image, and reputation by these bearded and ignorant thugs/pedophiles/rapists who champion the "revolution" and the "Islamic Republic" as if these were objects of pride. Shame on these scum, and on all their apologists. Why don't we spend another 30 years lamenting that the Shah had a ceremony at Persepolis or that Iran was actually a proud member of the "big, bad, orientalist" international community, and focus our energy on justifying a disastrous revolution that has brought nothing but hell upon the Iranian people? What a joke. We have a real problem in our community, which is that too many ignoramuses sit around and "hate" all the tradition, majesty, history, art, and beauty of our past, all in the name of "Islam" and "revolution" and "intellectualism." You who think you know so much know nothing. Your idiocy led to the "glorious" revolution, with the only problem being that you don't find yourself in an uncomfortable position at Evin to truly enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you did, you'd be singing a different song about the Shah's Persepolis ceremony, I guarantee you that.

Thank you, Ms. de Craemer, for your flattering article. And please do not be deterred by the bearded thugs and their apologists. The real and proud Iranians whose ancestors ran Iran for thousands of years, and whose descendants will one day rule Iran for thousands more after this blip on the historical radar screen, outnumber these fools. Iran will once again take its rightful place among the community of nations. Iran will once again host European leaders and see its scientific and artistic achievements lauded by the West (which, by the way, is not "orientalism" -- you gotta love amateur academics who confuse their verbiage Bush/Palin-style). May we live to see the day.

np / May 11, 2010 1:29 AM

Dear NP,


Back so soon to vent your spleen?


You have some serious anger issues, my dear non-monarchist Pahlavista.


Why don't you let Jamshid do your spiteful typing for you?


He's much better at it, concise and to the point.

Ali from Tehran / May 11, 2010 5:13 AM

Ali from Omaha - yet another weak retort. You are slipping my little Islamist. You are consistent though - writing after writing, you discredit yourself further and make fewer and fewer points. The audience has tired of the act, as you can see. Orientalism - ha! Did you just look that word up on Wikipedia? Hard to take you seriously. And who is Jamshid - the little anti-monarchy voice you hear in your head when you don't take your anti-depressants? Is he also a spooky Orientalist Pahlavist?? More labels please...

np / May 11, 2010 10:41 AM

Dear NP,


Your harangue above, replete with stock NP words like 'idiocy,' 'fools,' 'ignoramuses,' 'scum,' 'thugs' and 'pedophiles,' but concluding with tender encouragement for Mlle. de Craemer, illustrated my points only too well, and I saw no need to harry an opponent so engrossed in defeating himself.


Cyrus the Great would be quite amused by your revulsion for beards.


Thank you.

Ali from Tehran / May 12, 2010 2:30 AM

Ali from Omaha,

It is an impossibility for me to illustrate your points, because you make none. Lobbing out an "-ism" when you don't even understand the meaning of your words is not the same thing as "making a point." Please try harder. And don't flatter yourself by elevating yourself to "opponent" status. Your boy Mahmoud tries the same tactic with Barack - don't confuse yourself.

Or better yet, stick to correcting typos - that's a good use of the IRGC-funded education you got.

np / May 12, 2010 3:09 AM

Hello Ali,

I am a passerby, reading this article on TehranBureau, which makes some heartfelt points about connection between European HUMAN BEINGS and Iranian HUMAN BEINGS.

The bridging of humanity is the path forward.

I wish to say this to you, having never dialogued with you before on this web site: your comments come across as terribly arrogant, self-righteous, and weak.

You sound like a little kid who lacks wisdom but has some level of skill with words, and is just spewing words in order to make himself look cool. I am not saying that you are young of age, just giving you some feedback that you come across as juvenile in your antagonistic and hotly passionate stance.

The West has much to offer Iran. This is the truth, and it has nothing to do with inferiority-complex. Human rights, inalienable rights of the individual, freedom of speech, entrepreneurship, women's rights...

... you seem to confuse these as "Western" ideas and in what appears as blind hate for the West, you seem to throw out the baby with the bath water.

But these are HUMAN ideas, which belong to humanity. Including the people of Iran. It just so happens that the West has embodied these ideas, possibly better than other places on the planet, at this point in human history.

An Iran that builds bridges with nations that embody human rights and liberty, is a far better off Iran, than the isolationist, rigid and "absolutist" Iran you promote, and arrogantly pretend to speak up for on behalf of all Iranians. You do not speak on behalf of all Iranians at all, when you say that we Iranians need not turn anywhere else for ideas and concepts to learn from. We DO need to learn from our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world! This open minded attitude is what allows humanity to evolve, not a rigid, reactionary, antagonistic "anti-this" and "anti-that" stance.

Are you speaking from blind, enraged pride, as opposed to a desire for truth and wisdom? Why are you so angry with the West? Have you lived in the West to know what it's like? Do you have enough maturity to understand that true freedom means the cultivation of self-responsibility, not hedonism, but that each individual is supposed to discover their path in life through experience and trial and error, not by being shoved into a box created by others?

Regards,

Saeed

Saeed / May 12, 2010 6:24 AM

Dear Saeed,


For a mere passerby, you are extremely perceptive.

Ali from Tehran / May 12, 2010 9:54 AM

Dear Ali,

I sense cynicism in your responses. It's not conducive to a healthy debate.

You seem like an intelligent man, but it's a shame you attack people and make up labels for them instead of debating the points at hand.

Peace,

Saeed

Saeed / May 12, 2010 6:21 PM

Dear Saeed,

Join the club. Unfortunately, this character writes incessantly on Tehran Bureau. You are repeating what many others have said - that he comes across as childish, arrogant, petty, and naive. Don't expect any real responses besides the cynical response that you got. As far as I can tell, many people have totally shut him down on these posts, and pretty much discredited him completely. He views this as a game, and he is getting demolished (I actually want to call the mercy rule on myself and stop beating him down). In Persian we have some phrases for this-- "sertegh" and "bache por-roo" -- unfortunately, with people like this, they thrive on antagonism. So just expect more of the same.

Your comments were refreshing, by the way. Hope you become more than a casual passer by.

np / May 13, 2010 6:52 AM

NP,


I wouldn't put Saeed in the same polo club as you.


He may not be the brightest light in town, confusing sarcasm for cynicism, but he's polite and obviously well-intentioned.


You, however, are in a netherclass of your own, evidenced by your fulminations of January 5th against Dr. Sahimi:


"You never stop do you? And you never learn. Stop regurgitating these damned names over and over again..."


"And for the umpteenth time, Prof Sahimi, stop discrediting yourself by making statements implying that a constitutional monarchy can not be democratic. This is a silly statement. [...] Reza Pahlavi is a different person, and constitutional monarchy a different system. Why do you complicate this matter so much?"


Talk about being a petty and arrogant bully.


Don't call the 'mercy rule' on me. As you correctly surmise above, I actually enjoy your balmy ripostes.

Ali from Tehran / May 13, 2010 9:23 PM

Ali from Omaha - so you ran of things to say, and you started quoting me?! Wow - if that's not a sign of defeat, I don't know what is. I can't help wanting to take mercy on you - I feel sorry for you. You think because you own a thesaurus and can type out a polysyllabic word you are somehow relevant or your points valid. The readers's responses to your rants speak for themselves. But be my guest - please discredit yourself further. Or, alternatively, grow up.

np / May 14, 2010 12:00 AM

Thanks for the credit appraisal, merciful NP.


If I grow up, will you promise to take me to Reza Pahlavi's next polo match at Club Majesty and get him to make penniless, discredited 'Ali from Tehran' as credit-worthy as you are?

Ali from Tehran / May 14, 2010 12:54 AM

Why is it that whenever I see a debate between Islamists and average normal Iranians, the average Iranian obliterates the Islamists in a debate, and in return out of the frustration and anger the islamists resort to childish insults and rants.

This just shows us how out of touch these islamsists are with their own people and more importantly even their own islamic leache of a regime.

Keep on crying islamists / May 14, 2010 6:13 AM

You're welcome, Ali from O. Are you trying to redeem yourself by gracefully accepting defeat? If so, I would be impressed (and that would be a first when it comes to you little fella). I'll make sure to tell Reza Pahlavi to save a pardon for you. That is, next time he and I dine on caviar and Don Perignon in Monte Carlo. You, I'm sure, being the stoic Islamic intellectual that you are, survive on bread and water alone...

np / May 16, 2010 9:24 AM

The author, a european citizen, claims she cannot affect european policy but seeks to affect policies in Iran. Is that a sane postion? How arrogant.
The arrogance continues, when she says "it is clear" that the Islamic Republic caused the harm between Iran and Europe. Is it? Europeans sold chemical and biological weapons to Saddam, notably Germany. French pilots flew French jet fighters and bombed Iranians cities. I guess those actions were not harmful and Iranians deserved it for having a revolution against a government that only served europes every wish. Sorry for thinking for ourselves for a change.

One of the main themes of current Iranian government's philosophy has been that we have nothing in common with these thugs. In fact, Iran's decline can be directly correlated to its relationship with Europeans. Persia's greatest eras are those when Persia was in conflict with europe and the silk road and the path to the orient was wide open. A point the current Iranian administration consistently makes in its explaination of changing its foreign relations. Iran's close and deterimental relationship with the europeans has only been a relatively recent event and coincides with Iran's decline. This is also true in case of Turkey and even China. Let's not forget the opium wars, where England openly sold global opium to a chinese population (eventually the communists took over). The Ottoman empires decline are directly related to that nations "westward" outlook that began long before Ataturk. And we see it is now being somewhat recognized as a mistake in Turkey.

Nowhere can we see more clearly that the europeans are most harmful to Iran than in the current nuclear standoff. All of europe, including Russia have joined to sanction Iran because Iran has asked to exchange the uranium on its soil, instead of sending it to France and waiting a year (maybe longer) for its return. China is the only security counsel member that is hesitant and does not want strong sanctions. Coicidence? Indonesia was the only nation that obstained in past sanctions. Let us not forget that France, England, and Germany, all owe Iran billions of dollars they refuse to pay back for various projects the precedes the revolution and some that date back to the 80's. I guess the author believes those thefts should not worry our pretty little mind, and Iranians should continue to blame themselves for their decline of relationship with europe.

pouya / May 16, 2010 11:12 AM

Dear NP,


Mini-Pahlavi likes champagne? Majestic but strange, considering that his illustrious father, may God rest his CIA-installed soul, was strictly a cognac afficionado.


You may find it hard to admit, but our exchanges have had a very salutary effect on your character.


You avoid tailgating my posts now, taking more time to reflect. Your sentence structure has improved. You have shed much of your schoolyard lexicon. You aren't utterly fixated on questioning the "credibility" and "maturity" of others. You don't rely so much on disparagement and profanity to buttress flagging arguments.


And your fixation on restoring RP to his old job has cooled. I see that you intend to "tell" mini-Pahlavi to grant me a pardon. Courtiers don't often presume to "tell" royalty what to do -- they beseech and supplicate.


You are on the path to early redemption.


This thread is dead, NP.

Ali from Tehran / May 17, 2010 3:49 AM

I wont take any Western citizen's point as being honest and genuine unless it's being addressed to their own people and politicians. we Iranians know well how our country and people have been trapped in the course of dictatorship and Islamic fundamentalism by the Western colonial and imperialist politics in modern time.

Ali / May 20, 2010 5:39 PM

". . .we Iranians know well how our country and people have been trapped in the course of dictatorship and Islamic fundamentalism by the Western colonial and imperialist politics in modern time."

Does this mean that the Islamist regime in Iran views the Shah's government as the cause of its past misery and now blames Europe for its current misery? For how long will the IRI regime persist in blaming everything and everyone else for its backwardness?

If the leaders of Iran have special insight as theocratic true-believers and God smiles on them as no one else, why the heck is Iran in such abysmal condition? Why does Iran currently have the worst record for human rights abuses in the world?

JUNE12 - DAYOFACTION / May 26, 2010 6:01 PM

Dear Dayofaction,

The truth is we always blame others, for our own down falls.

left and right we said it is the fault of British,USA etc.....

didn't we

so who is fooling who. we wanted freedom from Shah's Regine we end ed up in worst place a government runs by religious fanatics

not fair / May 28, 2010 2:12 AM