This article sheds some light on Iran-US relations, Iran’s Syria policy, and Iran’s nuclear policy including the current nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1. It demonstrates that we need to examine Iran’s regional and ational relations in light of Iran’s geopolitical concerns and constrains.
Part 1 of this series described the birth of the nationalist-religious movement in the early 1940s, and its development all the way to 1977. In the present article, I describe the efforts of the nationalist-religious groups and activists between 1977 and 1979. As this article makes clear, the Iran of that era has striking similarities with the country and its state of affairs today.
The end of the Cold War era coincided with the beginning of a shift Iran's foreign policy from the ideological to the pragmatic. The collapse of the Soviet Union created an important geopolitical region in the north of Iran. The dialogue doors were opened by Khatami's "dialogue among civilizations" in contrast to the "clash of civilizations". With the election of Bush and especially after the September 11 th attacks, the US code was changed from globalist to regionalist. In this period Iran, was named as one of three countries in the "Axis of Evil". After 2005, the Iranian policy towards the US changed fundamentally so that Israel and the US were seen as the main enemies of Iran. Also, Iran's nuclear issue aggravated the hostility and it was used by the US to maximize its hegemony. In this context, the US efforts to impose its geopolitical codes on other countries to be involved in conducting its policies against Iran could be justified. It was also regarded as a geopolitical imperative, Today, the US has to curb Iran's ideological-political activities and if both Iran and the United States do not scale down their demands, military confrontation could be predictable.
Beginning with this article, I will describe the history of the nationalist-religious movement, its key figures, and the role that it has played in Iran's modern history. The present article describes the history of the nationalist-religious movement from its inception to the 1979 Revolution. Part 2 will review the work of the nationalist-religious groups since the Revolution. In Part 3, I will look at the lives, thinking, and accomplishments of major nationalist-religious figures.
Despite the critical role that economics play in the ongoing power struggle in Iran, that vital role does not usually receive the attention it deserves in the analyses of the country’s socio-political developments. Instead, most observers of those developments tend to attribute them to purely religious, ideological, or political factors. Yet, it can demonstrably be argued that, for example, Ayatollah Khamenaei, the “supreme religious leader” and his conservative cohorts derive their power more from real vested economic interests than from pure or abstract Islamic principles.
U.S.-Iranian relations of the recent past have been marked by unique and somewhat contradictory developments. While economic interactions between the two countries have been steadily expanding, political relations seem to have deteriorated as the so-called “battle of words” between Washington and Tehran has escalated since Bill Clinton’s arrival to the White House. Such conflicting developments in the areas of economics and politics have, understandably, been quite confusing to observers of the relations between the two countries, and have therefore led to rather divergent, sometimes even diametrically opposed, judgments regarding the future of these relations.
On 3 December 1979, almost one year after Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi left Iran, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran replaced the monarchical constitution of 1906. The new constitution was to guarantee that the monarchy was abolished and the Islamic Republic system of government was enforced in its place. The constitution was to observe the Islamic and the nationalistic aims of the revolution with regard to the demands of a public that came from various social, religious, ethnic, and political backgrounds. Thus the 1979 constitution included differing components, which necessitated the amendments and the modifications that were added to the constitution in 1989.
During July and August 1979 I visited a number of Iranian factories. There I held discussions and interviews with militants and activists of different political hues, and with ordinary working people, about the workers’ councils that have appeared in Iranian factories since the February 1979 revolution. My distinct impression is that large numbers of Iranian industrial workers have been through an extraordinary experience, which no outsider, even the most sympathetic, can record or convey. As far as I can gather, there has been little effort to institutionalize this experience, to generalize from it, or to coordinate activities among the councils of different factories. There seem to have been as many different instances of “workers’ control” as there are factories in Iran. This article cannot substitute for a proper record of these events, now perhaps irretrievably lost, but I hope it can convey a sense of the variety of these experiences, which may be regained at some uncertain point by a successful renewal of the struggle.