“Iran a 3000-year old threat to the West”

Iran is falling into chaos. The outcome of the most recent presidential elections, with both candidates claiming victory at first, then incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad coming out as winner by a landslide, opened the way to protests by former prime minister and only alternative candidate Moussawi’s supporters.

The situation quickly degraded into violence, with protesters and anti-riot police confronting each others on the street. Rumours of Moussawi being ordered to saty into his house and not speak to people and journalists, though denied by official spokepersons, did not help restore order. Authorities enforced strct controls over internet and cell phones, in order to avoid all emails, internet and sms connections with the outer world. Television reporters have been ordered to keep from shooting videos of rioting crowds.

The world had been hoping for a change in the country: Moussawi is seen as a more dialogue-prone chance than Ahmadinejad, whose presidency has been marked by a stubborn refusal to come to terms with the rest of the world on matters and issues like nuclear proliferation, Israel and arab countries, terrorism. In other words, for the past four years Iran has been often perceived as a threat to the world’s peace. These elections represented, in the eyes of the western world, a chance to turn a difficult page and start a new chapter, perhaps not as difficult as the previous one. Hopes which have been splashed down, at least at the light of these first post-election days.

In his speech to all Iranians late Saturday, June 13, Ahmadinejad claimed elections have been fair and clean, rejecting all accusations put forward by Moussawi and his supporters, at home and abroad. He announced the country would continue its nuclear program.

What might possibly come next, is the question everybody in the world is wondering about.

“Tehran will continue on its offensive policy, based on two pillars: nuclear proliferation and primacy over the Middle East.” Franco Cavalleri, director of CSST Developmental Studies – an EU-based research center active in geopolitical and environmental issues, is not optimistic about future development, at least in the short and mid-terms.

“We need understand Iran has represented a challenge to the western world all through the millennia. Ever since the times of Athens and Sparta, what is today Iran has been a threat to Europe and its civilization. The Hellenic city-states managed to defeat it at the Thermopilae and Marathon, closing Persian kings the route into Europe. Persians retired back into their deserts and highlands, but that sort of pressure to go West has never been canceled from their souls and spirits.”

So what can be done, to ensure the situation does not plunge into an open conflict?

“Understanding Iran and Iranians is the first and most important point. Too often Westerners forget this is the one and only country, from Morocco all the way to the Middle East, with a strong history of national identity. As hinted before, Iran’s national roots go back in time to early Hellenic age. Some three thousand years ago, that is. Iran has never been colonized, just to say, and its current borders are roughly those of one thousand years ago, one thousand years before and again. As heterogeneous in population as it might be, Iranians do share a strong national identity the West always seems to forget about.”

“Another crucial point is specifically linked to today’s political situation. The turn of the millennium has brought along a dramatic change into the world’s political and economical rankings. For decades, after the end of WWII, the world has been divided into two sides-the USA and the USSR. The decline of the Communist regime in Moscow and the disgregation of the Soviet Union left the USA alone. Now, after twenty more years, this one-nation leadership is being checked. We are witnessing a shift toward a multi-nation system of balance. Iran aims at being one of these nations.”

Iranian request to be considered one of the leading nations, though legitimate as it might be, is presented in a quite out-of-the-ordinary manner. Their political and institutional systems are radically different when compared to the West’s. This adds up to the problem. Could they be harmonized with the oither countries’ systems?

“Harmonization and standardization are terms and concepts typical of the globalization forces. Iran’s will to be different is but a reaction to globalization. There are quite a few example of reaction to harmonization and standardization. Let us look at Lybia and Colonel Khaddafi. Examples of dishomogeneity not only with respect to the West, but even within the Muslim and Arab worlds. We should try to understand the world cannot be considered as one, there are many different faces, each and every one of them with a legitimate right to exist and live on.”


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