Open letter to France 24E-mail: email@example.com
To whom it may concern,
I’m writing in reference to “Who's behind the 'Association of Iranian Nazis'
” by your “Iranian observer”, Alireza Amirhajebi; originally published in English on November 18, and made available in French the following day. Clearly, it is of some interest that of all the pieces that your agency was capable of publishing in order to shed some light on the ideological trends or tendencies among Iranians (youths or otherwise) living under the Islamic Republican regime ---for instance, the violent rejection of Islamic theocracy or the rise of secularist ideology--- it has preferred to publish an article that is as deceitful as it is offensive. For it seems that Iranian nationalists, in a decades-long war of national self-preservation against such formidable enemies as the bandits installed in 1979, must now also contend with being associated with Nazism. Was it not only a few weeks ago that the New York Times too rewrote the Purim story as a “Persian plot”
to destroy Jews?
I’ll begin with what has been highlighted in the article’s webpage, namely the statement, in bold letters, that “There is a small but slowly increasing minority of Iranian youths who think that ‘pure-blooded’ Persians are the true Aryans”
. What proof is actually provided to justify this statement?
Does France 24 actually believe an obscure website, of mysterious
origins, and with a questionable number of “members” ( all actual individuals no doubt), or some comments in a “white supremacist” forum on the web which your “Iranian observer” has hyperlinked constitute enough evidence to justify such a loaded statement?
There is, however, more to this “story”. For as you’ll see, what you’ve published as the observations of an “Iranian” is actually the work of skilled, yet desperate, propagandists.
Equally insidious is the historical frame in which Amirhajebi places his report, the suggestion that the supposed existence of such racialism in Iran finds its origins in the pre-Islamic and the secularist-progressive Pahlavi periods. Perhaps it is purely coincidental that the two historical periods which Amirhajebi conveniently associates with his new found Nazis are two periods which Islamists, at war with the Iranian national identity, denounce and have gone to great lengths to blot and rewrite.
Perhaps not; for his “research” in finding historical precedence is so awkwardly flawed as to suggest that what is purportedly and on the surface a report on a certain 'Association of Iranian Nazis' is a more ambitious undertaking.
The ideological origins of “Iranian Nazis” are first traced to a Fifth Century BC carving attributed to King Darius I in Naqsh-e Rustam
, where, according to Amirhajebi, “Darius says he is ‘from the Aryan race’. “
It may be of some interest to you that there is not one single reference to either “race” or “Aryan race” in that inscription. The term “Aryan” is used but once, but naturally to describe a language, not a “race”. (The full translation of the Behistun
inscription can be found HERE
Next in Amirhajebi’s targets is the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, Reza Shah Pahlavi, or to follow his inventive rearrangement, “Shah Reza Pahlavi”! He writes,“I have personally spoken to several young Iranian men who defend Hitler as someone who had converging interests with the Iranian people. [In the 1930’s] The Shah Reza Pahlavi's close ties and economic alliance with the Nazi regime worried allies.”
Reza Shah Pahlavi's “close ties and economic alliance with the Nazi regime” is an invention of Mr. Amirhajebi, for these ties were in fact with Germany, not Nazi Germany
per se, and went back to the 19th century. Simply put Germany was regarded as an independent force that could counter the bullying from Britain and Russia. This strategy, of course, was not confined to Iran; Indian independentists, to name but one example, also viewed Germany as an ally against British colonialism. Had he not been rewriting Iranian history, perhaps your “Iranian” observer would have also taken into consideration Iran’s equal if not stronger ties with France or, more obviously, Her neutrality
. He continues,“It was at that period that the Shah changed the country’s name from Persia to Iran, which means ‘land of the Aryans’ in Persian.”
This sentence, as it stands, is pure fabrication.
To Iranians, their homeland has always been “Iran”. Foreigners, however, had been using the term “Persia” since the ancient Greeks. In 1935 the Iranian government formally requested that other nation-states refer to Iran by its actual name. Is it possible that your “observer” does not know even the name of the country from which he supposedly reports? As for the term “Aryan”, an Indo-Iranian term without (as hinted before) racialist connotations, although it is cunningly and dishonestly used throughout and plays the key role in the article, it is naturally and as would be expected nowhere defined. Certain of the ignorance of his readers, the author depends on the readers’ understanding of the term purely in the sense fabricated by 20th Century European racialists.
With Amirhajebi’s besmirching of two key periods in Iran’s history---two periods of national self-awareness and identity----his depraved equation of Nazi sentiments with Iranian nationalism, the very antithesis (as even Hassan Nasrallah
would openly admit) of Islamism and the idea of Ummah
, is hardly surprising:“In parallel to this sentiment, which could be described as ‘Persian nationalistic’, there is the pervasive anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli discourse of the current Iranian regime.”
Of course, given the article’s nature, Islamic fundamentalism and militancy could not figure in this “analysis”, for, as we have shown, that would defeat the article’s very purpose. This is, incidentally, to explain to those who may have wondered, the reason why there is not even a passing mention of Jihadists photographed in Lebanon and elsewhere giving the Nazi salute. Such mention would introduce factors that would expose this article as solely having been written against Iranian nationalism.
Iranians are the most tolerant of peoples, but they will not accept such vile blotting of their name, honor, and history that you have managed to do by publishing this article. Racialism, let alone European Nazi ideology, has no place in Iranian culture.
We demand nothing short of a public apology from France 24.
This we expect to see as a separate new post in your “observations” section, in both French and English.
United States of America