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Friday, October 28, 2016
Reflection on Iranian New Year
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¬†Sue Plater from the Amos Trust sends the following reflection. She writes: " These thoughts reflect the concern expressed to us a number of times by Bishop Riah Abu El Assal, who has warned that if there is an attack on Iran (over the nuclear issue) the whole Middle East will go up in flames, and they won't be easy to put out. Amos Trust is part of a coalition of organisations supporting a report called 'Time to Talk: the Case for Diplomatic Solutions on Iran'. This document sets out the consequences of possible military action and presents clearly the need and case for diplomacy. See: "Saal-e no-ye hameh mobarak" ≠ "Happy New Year everyone" Today Nooruz (lit. "new day") is the Iranian New Year. As in every culture, the New Year is a day for new beginnings. A day of reflecting on the previous year, on one's achievements and failures. A day of looking forward to a new start and a brighter future. So come tomorrow what I wonder will President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, be remembering most of all about his second year of presidency? His success at improving the economic conditions of Iran's poor? Improving social justice for Iranians at home and modernising Iran's image abroad? Mohammad Khatami, Ahamdinejad's predecessor, shook the social atmosphere of Iran more than the country's political standing ≠ there was greater freedom of speech and women were allowed more freedom. However Khatami's inability to improve the economy and the lack of support from the US in its relaxing of embargoes possibly undermined his policies. During the 2005 presidential elections, voting for Ahamdinejad, Iran's first non-cleric president in twenty-four years, signified a vote for change, a step away from the clergy rule. However Ahmadinejad has failed to fulfil election promises and is losing favour with the Iranian population who voted for him. If America does launch military attacks on Iran, Ahmadinejad's position will be strengthened. Past experience particularly during the war with Iraq, shows that Iranians would rally behind him. They would regard him as a national hero, thereby strengthening his political position and ensuring his legacy. He therefore uses inflammatory rhetoric. Rhetoric which fuels the situation, even if oft quoted inflammatory statements of "wiping Israel off the map", which is a pretext to war by the US have actually been mistranslated from 'the regime occupying Jerusalem should vanish from the pages of time' (John Steele, The Guardian, 14.06.06). According to Seymour Hersh in New Yorker (April 17) 'Saving Iran is going to be [President Bush's] legacy', bringing democracy to the Islamic Republic. However, imposed democracy on American terms is not a democracy. News from Washington over the past month suggest plans for 'shock-and-awe' aerial attacks aiming to destroy not only Iran's nuclear facilities but also her entire military infrastructure. Why should Iran alone in the world be denied nuclear power for domestic use? Military action will not remove Iran's quest for nuclear power, rather it would intensify it instead. There are several steps between using nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and creating a nuclear bomb. Does Iran want a nuclear weapon? If Iran used such a weapon its leaders know that retaliation would annihilate the country. It could only possibly want a nuclear weapon as an act of defiance against, and to make a statement of equality with, the US, the Israelis and neighbouring India, Pakistan and Russia which all have nuclear weapons. As to recent allegations, why would Iran a predominantly Shia country arm Sunni Muslims in neighbouring Iraq to stand against fellow Shia believers? It is not surprising some weapons originating from Iran are found within Iraq's borders, it must not be forgotten that both countries were at war for eight years. Such accusations once again reinforce Ahmadinejad's position. Nothing strengthens the fundamentalist regime more than threats from 'the Great Satan", uniting patriotic Iranians behind the regime. Due to the connection between the Shia's of Iran (90 per cent of the population) and those of southern Iraq, and of Iranian-funded Hezbollah in the Lebanon, another war in the Middle East would engulf the entire region in flames, from the Mediterranean coast to the borders of Pakistan. An attack on Iran will result in global conflict. The American led war with Iraq began at Nooruz (New Year) 2003. When Ahmadinejad contemplates what is ahead in the New Year I hope he sees opportunity for peace and reconciliation, a new start and a new beginning for America and for Iran. The country is only just now recovering from the monumental damage suffered during its war with Iraq, which ended some nineteen years ago. I hope he realises that bringing security and peace to the Iranian population and to the Middle East will indeed ensure his legacy. Iran, its people, and the whole Middle East need us to make a stand against threatened military action. Let us pray and hope for a: "Saal-e no-ye hameh mobarak" ≠ "Happy New Year everyone"
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