Convergence Model of Persian Speaking Countries

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mohammad Ali Bahmani 

Active ImageIn the midst of the Taliban war and violence some news reports speak of warm welcome accorded to Iranian products as well as cultural centers and exhibitions in Afghanistan.

This is announced at a time that the international community, particularly the US and Europe after a long period of silence and after overlooking Iran's role have once again focused their attention to Tehran's historical influence and status in Central Asia, particularly in Afghanistan. However, a point that is overlooked in the approach of the international community towards Tehran-Kabul relations is the deeply rooted civilizational and historical dimensions in the relations between the two neighboring nations.

Most of the Western circles analyze Iran-Afghanistan interests from political point of view. Without trying to ignore the role of politics and diplomacy in deepening of Iran-Afghanistan friendship I must stress the fact that the growing link between Iranians and Afghans enjoys deep historical and civilizational roots. For the same reason, all the senior officials in Kabul and at the top of them President Hamid Karzai when describing friendship between the two nations always refer to Ferdowsi, Saadi and Roudaki (three renowned Persian poets) as symbols of close bonds between Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Fortunately, in compliance with this line of thinking, Iran's diplomatic machine has recently placed a plan on convergence of three Persian speaking nations (Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan) on its agenda. The plan which recruits most of the elites and scholars from the three nations intends to recognize and revive civilizational elements in relations between the three countries.

The bond between Iran and Afghanistan is one of history and civilization and its essence is the Persian language and culture and the Islamic religion. In this report, we will offer evidences which are a clear indication of this point. The dimension of friendship and linkage between the two nations of Iran and Afghanistan are too broad to be labeled as a "political conspiracy" by foreign circles. Several forums and roundtables to review and analyze Tehran-Kabul relations have been held in recent years. In these gatherings, the issue of civilization has received special attention from Iranian and Afghan experts and statesmen.

Muzaffar Dareh Sufi in an article under the title "An Inquiry into the Relationship of Religion and Freedom" published in Mujahid journal, the mouthpiece of the Islamic Association of Afghanistan (the party headed by former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani) says: "Afghanistan shares a civilization with its neighboring countries, particularly Iran and the civilization comprises three cultures. The ancient culture before the birth and rise of Islam enjoys its particular features and the Persian language is among the commonalties of this civilizational domain. With the rise of Islam and its infiltration into this land, the ancient culture has engaged in mutual dealings with the Islamic thought."
In a number of other seminars, Afghan diplomats have described the common civilizational domain, the basis of common interests of Tehran and Kabul.

Dr. Abdulghafour Arazoo, an Afghan diplomat as well as poet and writer says: "A policy should be adopted that national interests would be coordinated with civilizational interests in the Persian speaking countries. In other words, our civilizational domain was very large once and the geographical borders were different from what they are today; but today Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan each have an independent state and identity. In fact, these countries enjoy common identity and root and each of them serve their own particular interests and identities."

Elsewhere in his interview, Dr. Arazoo says: "We should know that if we forget the common civilizational identities, access to political commonalties too would become very difficult. The high-ranking officials in these three countries (Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan) should take language and culture more seriously than ever in order to attain this goal, namely to balance and adapt national interests and civilizational interests. This balance would help the economic levels of these countries to get balanced too."

Faramarz Tamana, another Afghan diplomat speaks about other dimensions of the historical bonds between the two nations of Iran and Afghanistan. He says: "Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan which form a civilizational realm can interact with the world on stronger and more efficient grounds through consolidating their commonalties, including the Persian language."

Another Afghan scholar in an article under the title of "Civilization and Civilizational Realm" published in "Paymani Melli" (National Accord) journal has discussed this issue. He says in conclusion that although Persian is the pivotal language of this civilizational realm and plays an important role in bringing the peoples of this land closer but from a civilizational perspective the (Iranian) land is not equal to the political geography of today's Iran. It is a land whose domain corresponds to our civilizational realm. This civilizational domain cannot even be limited to the land of Persian speaking people because this domain would comprise such countries as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan as well.

He further notes that the main axis of this civilizational realm must be regional cooperation and then concludes by saying: “Our civilizational convergence principles and incentives must be sought in the same areas where current rivalries exist through them and because of them, namely in the area of expediencies and interests, both regional and global. These arenas, according to Elvin Toffler, are geo-economic. Thus, debates in our ‘civilizational realm’ are neither ‘Pan-Iranist’ nor ‘Pan-Turkist’. We must show how and why a civilizational convergence would respond to the urgent expediencies of all the political units of this scope; and why this convergence would basically open new possibilities which could not be accomplished by any of those units alone.”

What was cited above were evidences on the extent of the welcome accorded to the theory of Iranian civilizational realm in Afghanistan. We can seek another sample of great interest in Iranian civilizational realm in Tajikistan. The books written and speeches made by Tajik scholars in different forums are filled with interests in the idea of civilizational convergence. Without doubt, this field of interest between Iran and its neighboring countries would be strengthened and yield fruit only through efforts by scholars and elites of these nations. In fulfilling this grave task, diplomacy and diplomats would play the role of accelerators for better interactions.

Source: Iran Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review

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