Friday, May 3, 2013

Fw: Iranians in US against regime change by Washington –Linkages between Iran and India

Iranians in US against regime change by Washington –Linkages between Iran and India
Against the propaganda and lies by US corporate media about Iranian people a survey in US about the views of one million strong Iranian Diaspora in US want Washington to expend more effort promoting democracy and human rights in Iran, but do not want the US to try to overthrow Iran's government or strike its nuclear facilities, according to a new poll. ( at the end)
I wish Indian Diaspora was that united and patriotic. Some paras on close linkages between India and Iran
Old linkages between India and Iran
India's linkages and relations with Iran are ancient and almost umbilical. Not far from Iran's western border, around the junction of Turkey, Syria and Iraq in the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates, a chariot-riding Indian-Iranian military aristocracy, embedded among indigenous Hurrians, ruled its Mitanni kingdom between 1500 BC to 1200 BC. It used pre-Vedic Sanskrit phrases, worshipped common Daivya and Assura gods like Indira, Nasatya and Varuna, Mithra. The Mitannis had apparently separated from the main Aryan body, which after many centuries in the region of Amu and Syr Darya had moved on to Iran. Then after some acrimony there was a split into factions: Vedic with Daivya gods and Avestan with Assura gods, with the Vedic stream going on to the land of Sapt Sindhu, ie northwest India and beyond. On a theory based on linguistic, cultural, religious and other similarities, Iranian and Indian Aryans are, if not racial cousins, at least linguistic and cultural ones.

During the Muslim rule, Persians came as bureaucrats with the Turkish rulers in India and left a deep influence on Indian culture, civilization and languages; Hindustani, Urdu and Hindi. From Akbar's time, the Persians formed the majority of the Muslim Amir ul Umra, that is, courtiers and civil servants. To get in with Persian and its derivative Urdu as the language of the court and administration (even during the British era), even the Hindus took on some of their traits, like Moghului cuisine (Persian cuisine is the mother of most cuisines, except French and Chinese) and meat eating. Also adopted were a love of music and dance. Kayastahs dominated the civil services during the British rule.

Iran: A cradle of civilizations
Situated at the crossroads and itself a cradle of many great civilizations, Iran has exercised great civilizing influence since ancient times. Whosoever (King of Kings, Sahanshah in Darius's words, its Hindu equivalent being Maharajdhiraj) ruled what now constitutes Iran, they exercised great political and cultural influence not only in the neighborhood but also in far-off places.

During the classical Greek political and social evolution in western Asia Minor which Turkey was then called, the Persian Achaemenid dynasty had its satrapies and outposts on the Aegean coast, known as Ionia, from which the word Yunan for Greece entered the eastern lexicon. In 517 BC it was Persian Emperor Darius who ordered Scylax, his Greek subject from Caria (western Turkey) to survey the river Indus from Peshawar to its exit into the sea, part of his empire. And for the first time, the West became acquainted with India. Herodotus's chapters on Indian history were based on records of that exploration.

The Persians routinely crossed over to European Thrace and a Greek victory over the Persians in 490 BC at Marathon, perhaps the first of the West over the East, is still commemorated as an athletic event in the Olympics (showing Western bias in sports). The Trojan war of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey was a small event militarily and a storm in tea cup. Troy was a marginal appendage of the huge Hittite empire in Asia Minor ruled from Bogazkoy, northeast of Ankara.

Later, even in defeat, the Persians civilized Alexander the Great and his Macedonian and Greek hordes, introduced the small town boys to the protocol, trappings and grandeur of an imperial power and implanted the strongly held belief in the divine right of the kings, later adopted by Alexander's military commanders and successors. On these beliefs were laid the foundations of the structure for the Roman and Byzantine empires. The Islamic Omayyed Caliphate in Damascus and later the Abbassid Caliphate in Baghdad also borrowed from the same state structures and ceremonies. Up to the 7th century, the Persians disputed with the Romans control of Asia Minor and Syria, which exhausted them both, making them easy prey for the Muslim Arabs. Persians then acted as a civilizing sieve to nomad Turks, Mongols and others from the horse-riding nurseries of the Eurasian steppes who played such havoc for centuries in Asia and Europe alike. Whoever ruled Persia, Seljuk rulers in Anatolia (Turkey) or even Delhi's Turkish Sultans and early Moghuls, for them the Iranians were the bureaucrats without equal.

Persia's conversion to Islam, which forced Zoroastrian Parsees to migrate to India in the 7th century, disrupted mutual interaction and enrichment of Indian and Persian social and cultural streams in place since Achemenean days, if not earlier. It isolated and weakened Hindustan, when the likes of Ghajnavi, Nadir Shah and Abdali could raid Hindustan with impunity.

But Islam did not liberate the sophisticated and evolved Persians, deeply influenced by spiritual and speculative Avestan, its excessive rituals and love for the intoxicant soma having been curbed earlier by Zoroaster's reforms (Buddhism was a similar attempt against Brahmanical rituals and excesses in India around the same time). Then the Persians lost their language, Pehlavi, which emerged a few centuries later as Persian in modified Arabic script. Having been ruled by Arabs, Turks, Mongols and Tartars for eight-and-half centuries, there emerged the Sufi-origin Persian Safavids, who became finally masters of their own land, which more or less comprises present-day Iran. At the same time, to preserve their sect and survive, Iranians after centuries of foreign rule developed an uncanny ability not to bring to their lips what is on their minds, and have institutionalized it as takiyya, ie dissimulation.

They had modified simple Arab Islam into a more sophisticated and innovative Shi'ite branch, with the direct descent of Imam Ali's progeny from Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Mohammed, echoing their deeply ingrained sense of the divinity of rulers. They strengthened (against the Arab caliphs and Turkish sultans) the status of the imams, who among more egalitarian Sunnis are no more than prayer leaders, in line with the Indian-Iranian tradition of placing priests higher than rulers (as are Brahmins in the Indian caste system). By tradition, Azeri (Turkish) speaking Iranians become chiefs of the armed forces. Ayatollah Ali Khameini is an Azeri speaking Iranian.

The status of the imam evolved into the doctrines of intercession and infallibility, ie, of the faqih/mutjahid. (Somewhat like Hindu shankracharyas and the fraternity of learned pandits). The speculative Aryan mind fused the mystic traditions into Sufi Islam, bringing out the best in Islamic mysticism and softening the rigors of austere and crusading Islam which had emerged from the barren sands of Arabia. There were unparalleled contributions by Rumi, Hafij, Attar, El-Ghazali, Firdaus, Nizami, El-Beruni, Omar Khayyam and others to Islamic philosophy and civilization. Their answer to interminable Islamic theological arguments on free will vs predetermination was that the opposites were the obverse and reverse sides of the divine mind, similar to the concepts in Hindu philosophy. Hindustani poetry, music, painting and architecture owe much to their Iranian cousins. Sufis played more than an equal role in the conversion to Islam of India as did the sword or material inducements. Sufi pirs are still as revered as Hindu or Sikh holy men in India.

From Shi'ite variants like the Ismailis emerged the "assassins" from the mountain vastness
of Iran and later Syria, representing an individuals' ultimate and sublime sacrifice for a cause (or his master) against the tyranny of the absolute or collective power of the caliphs and sultans, inspired by Imam Hussein's martyrdom. The assassin's modern-day versions, the suicide bombers of the Hizbollah, Hamas, Sikh or Tamil Tiger, have become the terrors of mankind.

K.Gajendra Singh 19 April 2013
Iranian-Americans Oppose Strike; 
Want Focus on Human Rights

Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor Posted on April 18.
Often viewed as hopelessly divided, Iranian-Americans are united in wanting the US government to expend more effort promoting democracy and human rights in Iran, but do not want the US to try to overthrow Iran's government or strike its nuclear facilities, according to a new poll.
The survey, released Thursday, April 18, was commissioned by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian-Americans (PAAIA), a nonpartisan group that seeks to promote the "collective good" and "elevate the image of Iranian-Americans." The poll also shows that most Iranian-Americans would support lifting sanctions if an agreement can be reached on Iran's nuclear program.
The findings reflect the continuing strong ties between the large Iranian diaspora in the US — estimated to number about one million — and their homeland. More than three decades after the overthrow of the Shah, 66% of those polled said they communicate with family and friends in Iran at least several times a month, 32% have a parent in Iran and 44% a sibling there.
A majority — 56% — of those polled say that the promotion of human rights and democracy in Iran should be the most important issue for US policy toward Iran. However, only 31% want the United States government explicitly to back regime change and only 15% support any recognized opposition group.
According to the poll, conducted in February by George Mason University among 400 Iranian Americans chosen from 8,000 phone numbers, of the small percentage that backs any particular group, 35% favor the reformist Green Movement, which was suppressed by the Iranian government in the aftermath of disputed 2009 elections; 20% like the son of the Shah, Reza Pahlavi, who lives in exile in Maryland; and only 5% back the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), a cultish faction that was recently taken off the State Department's terrorism list after an expensive lobbying campaign.
"There's a clear consensus among Iranian-Americans in favor of a tolerant, democratic government in Tehran, but there's no clear consensus on how to get there," Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Al-Monitor. "There's a huge gap between people's desire for change and their inability to find credible change agents."
Mehrzad Boroujerdi, an Iranian-American who teaches political science at Syracuse University, said he was not surprised by the poll results. It "reflects the ambivalent view of many Iranians toward what role the US government should take," he said. "They feel that democracy and human rights should be the foremost concern, whereas US administrations [both Democrat and Republican] mainly care about the nuclear issue. The legacy of the 1953 coup [when the CIA toppled a popular prime minister and put the Shah back on the throne] coupled with the inflated nationalist-religious sentiments of the post-1979 era and the terrible track record of Afghan and Iraqi invasions forces most Iranian-Americans to refrain from asking for a US-engineered regime change," said Boroujerdi.
Even better established immigrant groups tend to differ over US foreign policy — American Jews are a good example — but the schisms in the Iranian-American community have been particularly acute and reflect positions honed before and during the 1979 revolution. Efforts to unite the diaspora behind a basic platform for democracy and human rights, such as the Charter 91 movement led by Iranian-Canadian intellectual Ramin Jahanbegloo, have not developed large followings so far.
Many Iranians both inside and outside the country would like to see an end to the Islamic Republic's theocratic autocracy, but fear that what comes next could be even worse.
"The varied preferences for the opposition make sense," Boroujerdi, a signatory of Charter 91, told Al-Monitor. "The Green Movement captured the attention of many younger Iranian-Americans who are no doubt included in this poll, and the memory of the [2009] uprising is still fresh in their minds. As such, it garners the most votes. Reza Pahlavi is popular among older expats who nostalgically remember the good old days under the Shah, and the MEK only appeals to its own hard-core base, since most Iranians can't get over their cooperation with the Iraqi regime during the course of the [Iran-Iraq] war."
Despite these divisions, a majority of Iranian-Americans — 59% — support US President Barack Obama's policy toward the Iranian nuclear program, a policy that seeks to balance sanctions pressure with diplomacy while also retaining a military option. An even larger slice — 68% — supports lifting sanctions if the Iranian government reaches an agreement with the US and the wider international community that ensures its nuclear program is peaceful.
Not surprisingly, the welfare of ordinary Iranians is a paramount concern. Of those polled, 71% said they were concerned about civilian casualties if Iran's nuclear facilities are attacked and 54% said such strikes would be ineffective and even encourage Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
Many Iranian-Americans appear to be looking for practical measures to assist their relatives and friends back home and to make it easier to conduct financial transactions and to travel back and forth from Iran.
Morad Ghorban, director of government affairs and policy for PAAIA, told Al-Monitor that in a previous poll conducted for his group in 2011, 73% of respondents backed the opening of a US Interests Section in Tehran staffed by American diplomats that could process visas for Iranians seeking to come to the US and provide other services to Iranians with dual nationality and their relatives.
A recent report by the Atlantic Council Iran Task Force recommends asking Iran to allow such an office to be opened in Tehran.
"It just makes sense," Ghorban said, noting that the US has an interests section in Cuba even though the two countries still lack formal diplomatic ties.
Barbara Slavin is Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, where she focuses on Iran. She tweets @BarbaraSlavin1.