Monday, October 29, 2007

War, no war... part two

Part two.

He is on a scholarship trip in the Netherlands for a couple of months. I did not know he was here until a common friend asked me if I had seen Namver (not his real name). I call him right after I talked to our common friend.

We are both doing some research on two different projects. We agree to meet another friend of his who is a long-time university professor and researcher at a well-known institute in Amsterdam.

“You just have to agree with whatever he says; otherwise we will be here for couple of days.” Namver tells me. I agree and walk to meet his friend in that institute. Not even two minutes pass after we meet and start our conversation that I start scratching my head.

“There are a lot of power struggles in the Iranian government at this moment,” he says.

I think dinggggggggggggggggggggggg, you don’t have to be rocket scientist to know that. It is so simplistic to come up with this again.

Yes we do have a power struggles in Iran, and we have had them for a long time, since the first days of our recorded history. What is new about this? I think to myself.

Are any of those involved with this power struggle worthy of trust? Are they really so diffirent from each other? Or do they just want the same thing but have different ways of getting it?

“Maybe this power struggle will end up in war,” the professor continues.

Bush is getting ready for war I am thinking...

They are counting minutes


When I talk to my friends most of them, like I am, are against war (At least in public).

Not only because they think war is devastating, but also so that they can tell everybody later that “I told you so” when things go wrong. And you know, things always do go wrong.

Power struggle or no power struggle, Iran should get ready for a nasty war, I think by myself quietly. There will be war. I have been saying this for almost two years, but I don’t want to tell anybody, “I told you so.”

“Americans are seeing that the option of diplomacy is not getting them anywhere. You can see that clearly. There are still some people in the Iranian government who believe we should be more willing to work things out with the European negotiators, but those people are not inside the power lines,” the professor tells us. “Look at history, and you can get your answer. Those mullahs don’t make deals until things get really bad.”

I don’t think this any more. This time I don’t believe they will compromise. Ahmadinejad said, “We don’t need experts; we need believers.”

Believers in what?

We all agree that if Iran is attacked and there is the possibility of regime change that we would see months of horrific bloodshed in the streets of every big city in Iran. Mobs will go wild and tear apart Teheran. The regime must know this. Just look at these pictures Kamangir found.

We talk about what might happen: pardons, arrests, riots, etc.

“What about 125,000 revolution guards forces?”

“Will they target us?” my friend adds. “What will happen to the MEK? Can you imagine if they get power?”

We all decide not to think about it.

I don’t personally know any Iranians outside Iran who would openly say that he wants the US to attack Iran. I am sure there are many in US who are just jumping up and down waiting until the day the US bombers attack Iran. Most of those are not people who care about the lives of Iranians that may be lost in case of war as long as this regime gets the lesson they deserve. Those people are just waiting to take power for themselves and steal more of our resources and money.

In Iran I met many people who could not wait to be (freed) by America. In the last two years I heard many Iranians say that they cannot take it anymore and that living cannot be worse than what they have even if there is attack.

I hate to admit that most of those people who I spoke to felt I had a direct line to the white house and wanted me to tell Mr. Bush “please just don’t hit my house.” One guy said that he wanted to paint an American flag on the roof of his house. “America. Friends,” he said he would write under the flag.

I don’t think it is a question of if there will be an attack but more of when. One friend says, “If it’s war or the regime, maybe war is not so bad.” Then my wife says, “What if it is war and the regime?” We both look at each other, and we are just shocked.

The sanctions and the talk of war are pushing Iran closer to Russia and China, some may think, but most Iranian don’t believe that Russia is there to help us. Russia is like poker player who is holding his cards close so that he has more options. Later they can say, “we were the only friend you had in those hard days when you were under attack from all over the world.” Or they can say to the US, when we realizes the danger of Iran with the N weapon, we took the right side. (Listen to this interesting interview with Steve LeVine on Fresh Air)

A couple of months ago when I met a friend here in Amsterdam who just married a nice Iranian girl, I was shocked to hear a different story. He told me that there are a couple of other possibilities. “Imagine Khameneie would get really sick from whatever he has and die in the next couple of months and there is a fight for his replacement and a lot of people are putting Rafsanjani forward since most of the people believe Ahmadinejad is not able to deliver what he promised two years go. He would be in power, and he would make a deal with US. End of story,” he told us with a small smile but self-confident face.


I told him, “Imagine Rafsanjani would die long before Khameneie.” When I told him this scenario, he was not happy. He told me, “You Iranians are always unpredictable.” I shook my head and told him that is the problem with the west, you only see things in black and white.

He was clearly frustrated with me. Yes there are a lot of options out there, but none as effective as a military attack.

His boss, a professor at a university in Amsterdam, told me a couple of months ago during a dinner, that there is 3rd option: the West could find a way to live with a nuclear Iran.

“Like they live with Pakistan?” I asked. “What about if things change in Pakistan, and you don’t have a president like Mosharaf who changes his polices in one night from not worried about terrorists at all to commando in chef of the war on terror in the region?” The professor had to leave after my question, so I never heard his answer.


“Dadash jan Khoobi?” I asked my brother when I called him yesterday.
I can’t wait to ask him how he and his family is doing, but I asked him first, “Are the people getting ready for war?”

“Which war” he asked.

“Here in the west everybody thinks there will be a war or better put: an attack.”

“Na dasash jan (No my dear brother ) don’t worry, there would be no attack. Nothing will happen,” he is confident. Why? I don’t know. “Na dadash jan, nothing would happen,” he changed the subject. I don’t know if he does it because he is worried he is being recorded or he just wants to make feel better.

“Iran said that they would fire 11,000 rockets in the first few minutes if they are attacked.”

“How many?”


“What would they do when those are finished?”

“Fire 11,000 more?

“How is your wife?”

“I miss you too.” This time there is no way I can change the subject

I hung up the phone, stretched, flexed my muscles like a bodybuilder would, looked out the window happy to have heard his voice but worried very much about whether he and his family would be okay when and if an attack starts.

I would never forgive anyone who would attack and harm my family and friends. That is why I hate and can never forgive the Iranian government for killing and imprisoning and torturing of a lot of my dear friends. They killed the dreams of millions.


VinceP1974 said...

One thing that is definately bothering some of us in the US is the constant talk by the IRI about the Mahdi.

All this Mahdi talk is part of what is behind the view that the govt of Iran is act totally irrationally and that the govt of Iran wont be deterred.

Tori said...

Experts tell me that there is no hastening the Mahdi's appearance and that it is not equivalent to the rapture when all of us unbelievers will be left on earth to face the wrath of a vengeful god.

i am not an expert, though. And I doubt that none of the pundits are either.

VinceP1974 said...

This page is a good summary regarding Mahdism vis a vis the Iranian govt... including the contrary view as well , which I have not pasted.

Immediately upon assuming the presidency, Ahmadinejad began to assert his belief in the imminent return of the Mahdi as the basis for his political activities. Despite the traditional belief that no one can foresee the hour of the Mahdi’s return, Ahmadinejad frequently stated that his coming was nigh, and even gave a more specific prediction. During a meeting with the foreign minister of an Islamic country, he said that the crisis in Iran “presaged the coming of the Hidden Imam, who would appear within the next two years.” [4] In a December 2006 speech in Kermanshah, Ahmadinejad wished the Christians a merry Christmas and said: “I hereby announce that, with God’s help, the day is not far off when Jesus will return at the side of the Hidden Imam.” [5]

Not only has Ahmadinejad wished to proclaim the imminent coming of the Mahdi, and thereby to legitimize his policy and actions by associating them with Hidden Imam - but he has also presented himself as being directly connected to God. In a recent speech about Iran’s nuclear program, he claimed to have “a connection with God,” and exhorted the Iranians to be true believers so that God would support them in their just struggle for nuclear technology:

“Believe [me], legally speaking, and in the eyes of public opinion, we have absolutely succeeded. I say this out of knowledge. Someone asked me: ‘So and so said that you have a connection.’ I said: ‘Yes, I have.’ He asked me: ‘Really, you have a connection? With whom?’ I answered: ‘I have a connection with God,’ since God said that the infidels will have no way to harm the believers. Well, [but] only if we are believers, because God said: You [will be] the victors. But the same friends say that Ahmadinejad says strange things.

“If we are [really] believers, God will show us victory, and this miracle. Is it necessary today for a she-camel to emerge from the heart of the mountain [6] so that my friends will accept the miracle? Wasn’t the [Islamic] Revolution [enough of] a miracle? Wasn’t the Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini] a miracle?... " [7]

Ahmadinejad has also presented himself as being privy to God’s intentions and actions, as reflected in his statement that “God has appointed the Hidden Imam to be our supporter.” [8] His claim of having a direct relationship with God was also evident in the speech he made upon his return to Iran after addressing the U.N. General Assembly in 2005. Ahmadinejad claimed that, as he was delivering his U.N. address, he felt himself “surrounded by a halo of light” symbolizing the messianic nature of his message to the nations of the world. [9]

Ahmadinejad’s speeches have been characterized by the use of messianic terms and by emphasis on the need to prepare the ground for the Mahdi’s return. [10] For example, in a May 2007 speech in Kerman province, he said: “We have a mission - to turn Iran into the coutnry of the Hidden Imam.” [11]

As part of their commitment to these preparations, and at the suggestion of senior Ahmadinejad aide Parviz Daoudi, the Iranian ministers signed a pledge of allegiance to the Hidden Imam during the government’s first session, along with the pledge of allegiance to Ahmadinejad. [12]

In accordance with his messianic policy, Ahmadinejad has also endorsed an Iranian-Shi’ite folk tradition which maintains that the Hidden Imam attaches special importance to the Jamkaran Mosque in Qom - a tradition that has not been supported by the conservative religious establishment. [13] As part of this policy, Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi was ordered to drop the ministers’ pledge of allegiance into a well in the courtyard of the Jamkaran Mosque, where believers drop prayers and personal requests. Ahmadinejad has also allocated $10 million for renovating the mosque and its surroundings in preparation for the return of the Mahdi, and in 2005, he spent some $8 million on refreshments for pilgrims during the celebration of the Mahdi’s birthday. [14] The regime’s encouragement of Mahdism is also evident in content on the website of Iran’s government broadcasting service. For example, the site presents information on the Iranian TV series “The World Toward Illumination,” which deals with the imminent arrival of the Mahdi. [15]

It should be noted that political manifestations of Ahmadinejad’s messianic beliefs were evident even prior to his election to the presidency. According to reports, during his term as mayor of Tehran (2003-2005), the municipality printed a city map which showed, among other things, the route that will be taken by the Mahdi upon his return. [16]

At the International Seminar on the Doctrine of Mahdism, held in Iran September 6-7, 2006 during the celebrations for the Mahdi’s birthday, and attended by representatives of various countries, Ahmadinejad emphasized the universal and active nature of Mahdism and called on the West to accept it: “Today mankind is proceeding towards the truth. Today the happiness of mankind depends on proceeding towards the truth. Today we invite everyone to proceed towards the truth, since [the truth] is the only way... This celebration [of the Mahdi’s birthday] is not only for Muslims but for the entire world. The Mahdi belongs to all of mankind...

“The Hidden Imam has no tangible presence among us, but he is always [here], and we must prepare the ground for his speedy appearance... Some claim that during his occultation, his [nobility] is suspended, but that is not true... On the contrary, we must rush towards him and hasten to prepare the ground for his appearance. [He will not appear] if we sit idly. Mankind must hurry towards the Hidden Imam in order to reach him. A person who [actively hastens the coming of the Imam] is different from one who does not... Today, mankind is proceeding rapidly towards perfection, truth, justice, love, peace and compassion, and this is possible only under the rule of the perfect man [i.e. the Hidden Imam]...” [17]

Messianism in Iranian Foreign Policy

The messianic doctrine of Mahdism is also manifest in Iranian foreign policy, especially in its attitude towards the Western superpowers and towards the nuclear program. Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi, mentor to Ahmadinejad, expressed this approach in an October 11, 2006 speech: “The greatest obligation of those awaiting the appearance of the Mahdi is fighting heresy and global arrogance [i.e. the West, primarily the U.S.].” [18]

Ahmadinejad’s speeches are characteristically derisive of the “forces of arrogance,” i.e., the West, primarily the U.S., and threatening towards anyone who does not accept Shi’ite messianism as an alternative to the “perdition and destruction” awaiting them: “Those who do not respond to the call to proceed towards the truth - a good destiny does not await them. I heard that the president of one of those countries [i.e. U.S. President George Bush]... said that Iran’s president was threatening him. I say to him: ‘I am not the one threatening you. It is the entire world that threatens you, because the world in its entirety is steadfast against oppression and the oppressors. You [Western countries] are nothing compared to the might of God. We invite you to [take] the righteous path, the path of the Prophets, of monotheism and justice. If you believe that you can sit in your glass palaces and determine the fate of the world, you are mistaken... Our call [to you] to take the direction of truth [stems] from pity. We do not want you to get into trouble, since you know that the outcome of oppression and injustice is perdition and destruction.” [19]

These characteristics are also evident in Ahmadinejad’s nuclear policy: In contrast to Khatami’s government, which endeavored to soften the position of the West on the nuclear issue via ongoing dialogue, Ahmadinejad and his close circle do not avoid confronting the West, since they consider this struggle to be one of the ways to prepare the ground for the return of the Mahdi.

According to the Internet daily Rooz, “Some of those close to Ahmadinejad, who frequently speak [of the need] to prepare the ground for the Mahdi’s return, explicitly link the [fate of] the Iranian nuclear dossier to this need... According to reliable information, they stressed, in various private meetings, that the [Iranian] opposition to global pressure [on the Iranian nuclear program] and its insistence on the right to utilize nuclear power are among the ways to prepare the ground for the return of the [Hidden] Imam.” [20]

Mahdism in the Ideology of Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-e Yazdi

The address given at this year’s International Seminar on the Doctrine of Mahdism by Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-e Yazdi shows that he too regards belief in the Mahdi as a concept that transcends the religious or theoretical realm. Ayatollah Yazdi gave this belief a tangible political-ideological dimension when he explained that the Mahdi’s return would lead to the establishment of a single rule over the entire world, and that the present battle against the infidels and against “the global arrogance” is preparing the ground for, and hastening, the coming of the Mahdi: [21]

“...Implementing the laws of Islam, establishing justice and fighting heresy and oppression are the most important duties for those who await [the return of] the Hidden Imam and prepare the ground for his coming... We must enhance religious faith and [the power] of religion in Iran and in the entire world... In order to hasten the coming of the Hidden Imam, we must disseminate justice and religious law, in order to increase the public’s awareness of them [throughout the world], so that the [Shi’ite] faith will be accepted by society [everywhere]...

“One of the ideological aspects of the Mahdist doctrine is [its] universality, since the Mahdi comes to establish justice and righteousness in the entire world. Another aspect is the dissemination of justice and righteousness [under the rule of] a single man, a single center, and a single system. Since it is the Hidden Imam who is responsible for disseminating righteousness and justice, the world will need to have a single center and government... so that it will emerge from a state of [division] and establish a single [universal] rule headed by the [Hidden Imam], and every kind of oppression and exploitation will [then] vanish from the world...”

In a 2006 speech marking the Mahdi’s birthday, Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi emphasized the importance of fighting heresy, which, in his opinion, is delaying the coming of the Mahdi: “...Our noblest duty is to strive to reduce oppression, to be more [stringent] in our implementation of Islamic law... and to weaken the control of oppressive and tyrannical regimes over the oppressed. These [actions] can [hasten] the return of the Hidden Imam... If we wish to expedite the Mahdi’s coming, we must remove any obstacles [delaying his return]. What are the obstacles delaying the appearance of the Mahdi? [They are] the [heretical] denial of the blessing [conferred] on society by the presence of the Imam, [as well as] ingratitude, insubordination, and objections [to the doctrine of Mahdism]. If we want to hasten the coming of the Mahdi, we must eliminate these obstacles. We must strive to instate greater justice, ensure a [more stringent] implementation of Islamic law, [bring] the people to take greater interest in the faith and its directives, [establish] the religious laws as the dominant [values] of society, [ensure] that religious faith be taken as a consensus at conferences, and limit the [control of the oppressors, i.e. of the Western powers] over the oppressed throughout the world - both Muslim and non-Muslim. [This is what we must do] in order to prepare the ground for the Mahdi’s coming. Thus, the greatest obligation of those awaiting the appearance of the Mahdi is fighting heresy and global arrogance.”

VinceP1974 said...

This part really stands out to me:

In a 2006 speech marking the Mahdi’s birthday, Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi emphasized .. “...Our noblest duty is to strive to reduce oppression, to be more [stringent] in our implementation of Islamic law... ... If we want to hasten the coming of the Mahdi, .., ensure a [more stringent] implementation of Islamic law, [bring] the people to take greater interest in the faith and its directives, [establish] the religious laws as the dominant [values] of society, [ensure] that religious faith be taken as a consensus at conferences

Is this not what the regime has been doing all year?

Anonymous said...

you are a Iranian so don't belive them when they sat someting like "america sould attack as soon as possible". you know that must of us don't think about what we're saying.we just open our mouthes and say what we feel.

I think an Atomic Iran is better than an unarmed because when you have the nukes then the possibility of a war would decrease dramatically

Anonymous said...

Nukes for Iran. I preder peace on earth. No nukes for radical muslims please!!!

Marie said...

Excellent article, Kamran. But let us pray there is no war. Even the thought is too terrible.

ella said...


You want us to pray for Iran to get nukes? Are you crazy?
Let's see, in the 30 years or so USSR got nukes there were many incidents where west and russians were infinitesimally close to nuclear war. That there was no war was something of a miracle.
You think of nukes only as a deterent or a bargain piece. It is not, not when Egypt and KSA, right now, want nuclear power (read: nuclear bomb) too.
You think that nukes would make Iran safe, but this ia false idea.
What's more, Iranian government will have no deterrent to do what it wish. Iranians complain now about arrests, new laws, new restrictions and IRI judiciary...........wait till IRI gets the bomb, then you will see what IRI judiciary can really do!

Tori said...

Ella, who wants you to pray that Iran will get nukes?

ella said...


Nobody, that was my mistake. I have read previous posts too quickly.
Anonymous only wrote that "an Atomic Iran is better than an unarmed because possibility of a war would decrease dramatically."
I disagree with that and I do stand by what I wrote regarding Iran and the nukes.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting such original comments and insight on the feelings of war with the US. Currently, I'm in a class in a NY college that is trying to find out more about Iranian culture and its people in order to help understand and overcome the perceived animosity our two nations share. I was wondering if it would be possible for you to answer a few questions for me any my classmates. We will soon be putting up a website to facilitate exchanges between Americans and Iranians. If you would like to talk to us, please e-mail me at Thanks again and we look forward to your next column.

Anonymous said...

All of this business started with 9/11.

Don't engineers have to figure out the tons of steel and tons of concrete to put on every level of a skyscraper? Wouldn't that information be necessary to figure out if airliners could bring down the towers. The NIST doesn't even tell the world the total amount of concrete.

Why don't architects and engineers in Iran do an analysis and expose the stupidity of the US?

The nation that put men on the moon can't tell the entire world the tons of steel and tons of concrete on every level of buildings designed before the moon landing. RIDICULOUS!