The Union of Iranian Plateau

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dr. Mirmehrdad Mirsanjari

A Step Conforming to 20-Year Vision Plan

Active ImageUnder political conditions governing the new world, regional groupings in various parts of the world are of special significance.

At present, there are various unions in different parts of the world and all of them have been established on the basis of specific geographical coordinates, racial characteristics or historical and cultural commonalties examples of which include the European Union with 27 European members, the Arab League with 22 Arab members from West Asia and North Africa, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and the Union of South American Nations. Experiences of those unions have shown that they not only cement and consolidate regional convergence, but also strengthen economic, defense, and political standing of member states. Therefore, the void for a union of nations with common Persian roots is greatly felt as such a union can work to facilitate Iran’s long-term plans as outlines in the 20-Year Vision Plan.

Active ImageGeopolitical, historical, and cultural positions of Iran through thousands of years of coexistence has had an undeniable impact on newly independent countries around it and despite efforts made by colonialist powers to divide nations, that position is still recognized.

During the past 196 years and though eight new countries have been born in south Russia, some on occupied parts of the Iranian territory, and despite the fact that the British colonialists have created two countries on the east of Iran, such changes have not been able to cut spiritual relations among those nations and those relations have been even consolidated in the past two decades. Empowerment of Iran can provide a good ground for the establishment of a union of countries on the Iranian plateau which share thousands of years of historical and cultural heritage.

Where is the Iranian plateau?

The Iranian plateau is a vast part of central and southwest Asia. It is bound by Amu Darya River on the east, Cora River on the northwest, Sind River on the southeast, and Euphrates on the southwest. Pamirs and Hindu Kush mountains on the east, the Central Asia plains, the Caucasus mountains on the northwest, the Zagros mountains and Mesopotamia on the west, and the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman on the south.
Active ImageIran, with an area of about 1.648 million square kilometers, is just part of the plateau.
Therefore, the great Iranian plateau is a triangle with its main vortex located in the Caucasus and its base being a hypothetical line connecting Jeihoun river to estuary of Indus in the Sea of Oman. This vast area has been a crossroads where various peoples have met and this has had great impact on evolution of a common history and culture among peoples living in this region.

Undoubtedly, all peoples living on the Iranian plateau, including Kurds, Turks, Taats, Tajiks, Pashtus, Baluches, Taleshis, Armenians, and Ossetians in caucus share a common history, culture, and traditions. Separation of various parts of the plateau in the past 196 years has been artificial and brought about by Russian and British colonialists. Therefore, establishment of a regional union of the Iranian plateau consisting of countries inheriting the Persian culture will lead to cultural and economic convergence among various peoples who have lived in coexistence through the history and share the same cultural and civilizational elements like Norouz, Persian and other Aryan languages as well as common myths, culture and history.

Active ImageThis regions encompasses 11 countries including Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as well as semi-autonomous regions in Iraqi Kurdistan and north Caucasus like Daghistan and Ossetia where peoples have lived through a common culture and history for thousands of years and have been separated in the past centuries due to colonialist intrigues.
Background of the idea to form a regional Iranian union

The idea of establishing a union of countries sharing the Iranian civilizational legacy was first proposed as pan-Iranism by Dr. Mahmoud Afshar Yazdi in 1926 that used that term to point to the necessity of establishing a union of Iran and Afghanistan as well as other countries which share the legacy of the Iranian civilization. He maintained that anywhere that people of the Iranian stock have been living “since remote past” is part of Iran and every place which is part of the Iranian plateau and is inhabited by Iranians or other peoples has taken advantage of the Iranian culture. This idea became prominent after the occupation of Iran by the Allied forces in September 1941 which kindled patriotic sentiments of Iranians.

Active ImageThe first practical step to create a union between Iran and Afghanistan as two countries sharing cultural and civilizational legacy of Iran was done by Mohammad Davoud Khan, the prime minister of Afghanistan in 1960. Since the idea of creating a union of countries in the Iranian plateau had preoccupied thinkers for years, Mohammad Davoud, the then prime minister of Afghanistan, visited Iran during new year holidays in 1960 to talk about establishment of a confederation of Iran and Afghanistan. Therefore, he took part in that year’s Norouz ceremony as it is a common custom among all countries located on the Iranian plateau whose nationals enjoy common history and culture and, therefore, are considered a single nation as defined by many sociologists, including Max Weber.

During past years and after certain people proposed that Iran should become an observer member of the Arab League, which concerned many patriot Iranians, the need for establishment of a union of countries located on the plateau was felt more than before.

Active ImageBased on proposals at that time, the union would include 11 independent states which have played the main part in the formation of the Iranian culture and civilization and have 11 votes in the United Nations.
Those countries include:

1. The Islamic Republic of Iran (as the main bearer of the official legacy of ancient Iranian culture and civilization);

2. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan;

3. Tajikistan;

4. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan;

5. Uzbekistan;

6. Turkmenistan;

7. Azerbaijan;

8. Georgia;

9. Armenia;

10.  Kazakhstan; and

11.  Kyrgyzstan.

(Of course, countries and semi-autonomous areas like Bahrain, Iraqi Kurdistan, Nakhichevan, Ossetia, Chechnya, and Daghistan in north Caucasus can be added to the list.)

Active ImageThe main goal of the union will be to organize and rebuild identity of nations and peoples carrying the legacy of the Iranian culture and civilization in the Iranian plateau and areas surrounding it within the framework of a regional political, economic, and cultural union which will be active in the following areas:

1) Expansion of cultural, economic, and political cooperation among member states;

2) Research on history and political, cultural, and scientific background of member countries to know about share of each country in “culture and civilization of ancient Iran” and to bolster local cultures;

3) To establish a free economic market among member countries of the union and create an integrated economic zone (in the long run);

Active Image4) To make joint investments in economic, industrial, trade… projects both inside and outside the union;

5) To pave the way for introduction of a “single currency” among member countries;

6) To expand cooperation in security and police activities and to fight drug trafficking and international organized crime in order to reduce crime rate in member countries;

7) To provide information to citizens of member countries on culture and tourism attractions of every member state; to facilitate travels aimed at sightseeing and pilgrimage; to develop tourism among member countries of the union and bolster cultural ties among nations;

8) To develop scientific and academic cooperation among member countries to revive and make optimal use of scientific and practical achievements of all countries;

Active Image9) To develop cultural cooperation among member countries in such areas as publication of books, production of films and television series, and writing screenplays on history of countries and historical figures to determine share of each member country in culture and civilization of ancient Iran and their national history;

10) To develop educational and social cooperation to eradicate illiteracy in member countries and promote scientific awareness of citizen.

The functional difference between a union of the Iranian plateau countries and the Economic Cooperation Organization member states is that ECO is focused on “economic” activities and has nothing to do with politics. For example, although Turkey is a member of ECO, it is endeavoring to become a member of the European Union as well.

Major advantages of establishing a union of countries located on the Iranian plateau are as follows:

1. The main axis of convergence is the Iranian culture and civilization;

2. Countries and nations have been recognized in their present form by respecting their independence and territorial integrity;

3. It includes, at least, eleven independent countries (with a population well over 300 million and an area of 7,277,190 square kilometers);

4. By recognizing additional identity of regional people as bearers of “the legacy of the Iranian culture and civilization,” it recognizes different parts of those countries in forming and enriching what we know as the civilization of ancient Iran;

5. In line with regional convergence and establishment of regional unions, it presages establishment of a powerful regional union on the basis of the Iranian culture and civilization.

Active ImageIt should be noted that establishment of the aforesaid union has been welcomed by Iranians and most countries that bear the legacy of the Iranian culture, but the plan has not entered into force yet and this calls for close attention from concerned officials.

Union of the Iranian plateau will ensure political stability in the region

Undoubtedly, establishing a union of the Iranian plateau countries will lead to more interaction and cooperation in the long turn and play a positive role in guaranteeing political stability and social welfare for all peoples of the Iranian stock. Also, the union of Germany and return of Hong Kong to mainland China have all led to territorial integrity for people who have lived in separate territories.

1. At the end of World War II, when the Nazi government gave in to unconditional surrender, Germany was occupied by four conquering powers. To weaken Germany, they divided it into East and West Germany. However, 46 years later in 1991, the two parts came together without a single bullet being shot or a drop of blood being shed, to form a united Germany.

2.  On the other side of the world, Hong Kong returned to sovereignty of China after being separate for 156 years followed by Macao which was also assimilated by the mainland China after more than one century of Portuguese rule.

Active ImageIn all the above instances, governments, which were aware of their lost national rights, chose different ways to achieve their goals. Being totally aware of political issues, the government of China remained patient while the government of Germany took advantage of the collapse of the Soviet Union to unite the German nation.

Also governments play a unique role in unity of their nations, but the role of people is even more important. Recognition of national rights, pressing demands for unity, and finding a way to achieve unity are all responsibilities shouldered by people, especially the elite in every society. The most important factor in realizing the unity of Hong Kong with China, North Vietnam with South Vietnam, and East Germany with West Germany was aware conscience of their people and pressing demands for unity on the basis of a common national background. During all years of separations, those nations did not let their historical rights to be forgotten; whether those rights had been taken by contract or by sheer force.

Active ImageSince 1813, accords have been imposed on the great nation of Iran by inefficient governments. Those agreements have torn the Iranian land into many parts and the name of Iran is currently applied to part of the great Iran. Just in the same way that they tore the land of Iran apart, those contracts which were imposed on the nation, can become reasons for our unity in due time. During long years, there has been high resistance to separation on both sides of common frontiers and the government of Iran, the people of Iran and Iranians living separate from the mainland have done a lot to realize unity. However, those efforts have been obstructed by colonialist powers on different occasions.

Existing conditions and pressures from eastern and western colonialist powers to divide peoples living on the Iranian plateau remind us of Ferdowsi who has noted in his Shahnameh that Selm and Tour, two sons of Fereidoun, who ruled western and eastern parts of the world, destroyed their other brother, Iraj, in order to dominate the land of Iran and prevent Iranians from emerging as a powerful nation.

At times, conditions are not suitable for restoration of lost national rights, but it is important to keep those rights alive in the minds of people and transfer them from one generation to another until they are restored.

Active ImageTherefore, it is not important whether grounds for unity exist at this time or not, but it is important to keep this thought alive in the minds of all peoples of the Iranian descent until those grounds are provided.

Despite differences in ethnicity and language, all Iranian peoples share the same homeland, culture, history and customs. The current state of division has been imposed on those peoples. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to do our best to establish a union of Iranian peoples on the Iranian plateau and turn it into a confederation of peoples with the same roots. We must keep common memories alive in the minds of our children and look for an opportunity to realize the aforesaid historical and national unity.

Source: Tabnak News Site
Translated By: Iran Review

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