• 29 October 2009
  • Posted By Darioush Azizi
  • Events in Iran

Tehran Bureau’s Selected Headlines included a blurb from Sepah News (via Ayandeh News), the semi-official loudspeaker of the IRGC, describing Commander Ali Jafari’s comment yesterday that “Preserving the Islamic Republic establishment is more important than performing namaz [prayers].”

Speaking in Urumiyeh, Jafari also stated that “No one dares claim that the Islamic Republic regime must be destroyed, and no one must dare to challenge the principles of this establishment.”

TB notes that this is the first time an IRGC commander has “appeared” to issue a religious edict. This is certainly going to ruffle some feathers in Qom.

Posted By Darioush Azizi

    11 Responses to “Jafari: Preserving Islamic Republic more crucial than prayers”

  1. Pirouz says:

    It’s actually something of a war cry, Arsalan. During the Imposed War (1980-88), in the midst of heavy war fighting, it was more important for Iranian Sepah and Basij to engage in combat, than stop what they were doing and perform namaz.

    Maj. Gen. Jafari is making that kind of Islamic martial appeal; not a religious judgement.

  2. James says:

    That is very helpful, interesting context. Thanks.

    I would be surprised, though, if many people in Qom (as well as everyday, religious Iranians) don’t get very upset about this statement.

    Fighting against a political takeover by a narrow clique is much different than fighting a foreign enemy.

  3. Alireza says:

    “The Imposed War” is the Islamic Republic’s official name for the Iran-Iraq war. However, as historian Ervand Abrahamian has observed, the war was imposed in more ways than one (i.e. Iraq started the war, but Khomeini insisted on its continuation). After Iraqi forces were expelled from Iran in 1982-83, Iraq offered terms to Iran to end the war–terms that were rather favorable to Iran. However, Khomeini refused to accept these terms and instead urged the continuation of the war to liberate Karbala and from there to Qods (Jerusalem). Most of the casualties and damage done to Iran was done in the years 1983-88.

  4. Pirouz says:

    James, keep in mind that from the Sepah perspective, it is fighting a soft power threat from a foreign enemy. For example, before the last Quds rally in Tehran, VOA Persian broadcast an announcer (directly from Washington DC via satellite) urging viewers in Iran to chant: “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon, I will give my life for Iran.” That was picked up by certain viewers in Tehran, where the street chant was specifically staged, video clipped and uploaded onto YouTube, to be further disseminated as a means of propaganda in the Western press and opposition media. That the origin of this episode was the US and the means VOA Persian and YouTube (all Western based) has not been lost on Sepah.

    Now, whether common and clerical sensibilities will be ruffled by the General’s remarks, that has yet to be seen.

  5. Someone says:

    @ Pirouz

    You are mistaken. I also heard the VOA broadcast you’re referring to (with Sazegara and Nourizadeh). However, the “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran” chant was heard during the Shabeh Ghadr protest in Qom days before that broadcast.

    Guys like Sazegara would like you to think they are calling shots but in reality, they just have people e-mail them what shots have been already called in Iran and they relay that information in their broadcasts. They are inconsequential.

    Anyway, you seem to have a low estimation of the ability of Iranians to organize their own popular opposition movement.

    Here’s the video of the Qom protest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBJCiX-zpkw

    The chant in question is heard around the 2:40 mark.

  6. Alireza says:

    Pirouz says: “…from the Sepah perspective, it is fighting a soft power threat from a foreign enemy”.

    When the IRI entered into the phase of killing fellow revolutionaries (after the phase of killing the Shah’s ministers, generals, prostitutes, madams, drug dealers, gays, etc), it also accused them of being agents of CIA-directed, KGB-directed, Mossad-directed, and/or British-directed plots (e.g. Ghotbzadeh). This is a regime which has executed well over 15,000 Iranians since 1979 (a rather conservative estimate). It is a regime based on lies and deception even before its inception (e.g. huge exaggeration of the number of people killed in Jaleh Square; blaming the Shah’s regime for the Cinema Rex fire–this was the deadliest single incident of the Revolution and was perpetrated by the revolutionaries themselves). It is the very essence of Khomeinism.

  7. Ali says:

    The above comment seems to imply that there hasn’t been constant CIA/MI6/KGB/MOSSAD involvement in Iran. You have to be blind to think this. Up to this very day the CIA continues to fund black ops operations in Iran. This is not some conspiracy theory, it is a fact. I would recommend looking at the work of a certain New Yorker journalist.

    It has been recently been revealed that Hamid Karzai’s brother and Fidel Castro’s sister were on CIA payrolls. If they can get their own siblings on payroll imagine how many normal people they have. And you don’t think they have hundreds of operatives in Iran?

    Wake up. Khomeinism is not built on lies, the global arrogance is

  8. Alireza says:

    Yeah, I know the work of Seymour Hersh. And no, I don’t support U.S. or other foreign interference in Iran. I also don’t support a regime that for 30 years has killed a lot more Iranians than the Shah’s regime did in 38 years. The IRI has been a disaster for Iranians. It kills, rapes, imprisons, beats, censors, and steals from the Iranian people. What kind of regime executes 15,000 of its own people (at the very least that number) in just a few years, as the IRI has done?

  9. Ali says:

    I would like to see hard evidence for the 15,000 figure. As far as I know, the IRI had killed a large number of MKO prisoners in the 80’s. This was at the time that the MKO was in open revolt against the government and supporting Saddam in his invasion.

    The notion that the Shah’s regime was better than the Akhoonds is simply ridiculous. I don’t know how old you are, perhaps you don’t remember those days. Go ask your parents. What SAVAK did was a thousand times worse than the people in power today. Not that they are perfect, I criticize them too, but we are much better off than during the Pahlavi dictatorship. If it has not accomplished anything, at least this regime has maintained the country’s independence and not given up an inch of our land, which by itself is more than any dynasty did for Iran since the Saffavids.

  10. Alireza says:

    I’m no monarchist and I don’t defend the Pahlavi dictatorship, but the number of people executed by the IRI far, far exceeds the number that the Shah’s regime did. Please follow this link to an online version of Ervand Abrahamian’s book “Tortured Confessions”. You can also read Nikki Keddie.


    The IRI killed many thousands of Mojahedin in 1981-82(before they established their base in Iraq–most of whom were high school or college age) and again in 1988, Fadaiyan, Peykar, Tudehi, officials of the former regime, Bahais, individuals who “sow corruption on earth” (e.g. gays, prostitutes, drug dealers, etc), and rebels of various ethnicities (e.g. Kurdish, Torkaman, Baluchi). Please have the decency to stop defending a regime that has killed so many of your countrymen so mercilessly. Regards.

  11. Someone says:

    @ Ali

    Let’s not forget what caused Grand Ayatollah Montazeri (architect of the Islamic Republic constitution) to resign from being next in line for the Supreme Leadership.


    No open revolt there and it went on for four months after the Iran-Iraq war ended.

    Now, the ouster of the Shah, both physically and on the level of our national psychology, was a tremendous advance for the Iranian people. But we have further to go and the Greens are braving government repression to help take us there.

    Throughout our history, the people have fought for progress _against_ those in power in the government. What makes you think the road to progress now lies with those currently in power? Authority resists change and change is a prerequisite for progress. This holds whether that authority stems from monarchy or theocracy.

    Ultimately, arguing over who was worse, the Shah or the IRI is pointless. We need to come together on what’s important for the future of our nation and work together to achieve that.

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It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

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We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

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