Iran Is a Republic, Not an Empire

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nematollah Mozaffarpour
Scholar Diplomat


Plato, as the first creator of well-organized theories about politics and governance, believed that the republic is a system of government based on virtues with the most fundamental virtue being justice. De Tocqueville, the famous French political thinker and historian, said in the 1840 that the future world would be a place for a conflict between the American republic and the Russian empire. Napoleon also said in 1814 that the world would soon be either an American republic or a Russian empire.

Such smart sayings show that there is a profound difference between the “republic,” and the “empire” as two systems of government. By taking equality and freedom as the main axis, on the one hand, and territorial expansionism combined with a willingness to dominate people and rule in a totalitarian manner, on the other hand, they practically made the world understand that America is the source of republicanism while Russia was cradle of the empire.

Building on the axial concepts of “paradigm” and discourse and by bringing the aforesaid three historical examples, this article aims to show that regardless of its requirements and practical commitment, how scientifically subtle is this literature and what remarkable objective consequences it can have. The current century must be considered a time for building paradigms and symbols. Symbols blaze the trail for our actions and the winners and losers in the field of global power are those who are winners and losers with regard to symbols and paradigms. In the present world, even when they want to launch a military attack against a country they first question its soft power position and after defaming it, start using artillery in a real war.

The nuclear deal and the paradigm of the Iranian empire

Nuclear negotiations and the subsequent agreement reached by the Islamic Republic of Iran and big world powers in addition to the subsequent provision of necessary infrastructure for the promotion of the country’s national power, which has brought it to the verge of a historical surge and national development, have all led to heated activities among international and regional paradigm builders against the Islamic Republic of Iran. For example, Henry Kissinger has talked about the resurgence of the Persian empire. Many international and regional media outlets have also introduced the nuclear deal as a means used by Iran to form the Persian empire or the Shia Crescent. A consolidated group of Western press and paradigm builders have highlighted the issue of the Persian empire and Iran’s domination on the region. This complicated propaganda campaign along with an extensive wave of long- and medium-term goals, pursue two short-term objectives: the first objective is to promote Iranophobia and undermine Iran’s national power through regional actors and by scaring nations of Iran, while the second objective is to make regional actors give more concessions, ask the United States and Europe for help while purchasing their advanced weaponry. In reality, however, Iran’s nuclear deal, aka. the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as well as Iran’s capacity for both resistance and negotiations is a source of soft power and offers a model of complicated Iranian rationality for all nations in the region and this is not a welcome development for Israel and monarchial regimes in the region.

From a diplomatic viewpoint, building discourse with regard to the Persian empire and domination of the Islamic Republic of Iran over the entire region following its nuclear agreement is just a step taken to deal a blow to Iran’s soft and hard power resources. Iran’s regional rivals and international opponents are trying to make the world believe that the achievements of the aforesaid nuclear deal have not been translated into industrial development, or led to any improvement in Iran’s gross domestic product, per capita income and health care, but have only increased Iran’s geopolitical influence. As such, they argue that the achievements of the JCPOA have not served Iranian development and civilization, but have been at the service of security and militaristic goals of the country.

Iran as a republic

Under these circumstances, intellectual and executive elites in the Islamic Republic of Iran are trying to show that the Islamic establishment in Iran is based on virtues and peace and stability and rational expediencies, and needs domestic development, welfare of its nation, prosperity of the country and attention to its internal situation more than anything else. The political system in Iran is trying to show that in its logic, civilization takes precedence over security; progress and development are preferable to domination and influence; and soft power takes precedence over hard power. The Rouhani- Zarif couple, in particular, insists that following the conclusion of the JCPOA, the country’s parliament, rights, laws and civil society, development, culture and politics take precedence over military ranks. At all official, unofficial and public diplomacy levels, the Islamic Republic of Iran is trying to make sure that the image of Iran is projected to the region and the world not only with its devout defenders and martyrs and war veterans, but also with its parliament and parliamentarism.

In short, one of our national agendas at the present juncture is the effort to introduce the real face of Iran in order to manage the artificial apprehension of the world and our own neighbors. Hadhrat Ali (PBUH), the first Shia Imam, says in Maxim No. 172 in Nahj-ul-Balagha that people are the enemy of what they don’t understand. The leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran want to introduce Iran to the world in a correct way. Comte de Gobineau, the famous French scholar on Iran and that country’s diplomat in Tehran in 1860 and 1863, has written that there is everything in Iran: “God, wisdom, life, existence and good. He added that Iran is like a strong rock covered by the sea waves, which have buried and wounded it, but in due time, it will emerge from the water and influence the entire world by its virtues.”

Key WordsIran, Republic, Empire, Discourse, Iranophobia, National Power, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Soft Power, Regional Rivals, International Opponents, Rouhani- Zarif Couple, Parliament, Mozaffarpour 

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طراحی و توسعه آگاه‌سیستم