Translator’s Note: Below are translated excerpts from an article by Mohammad Reza Nikfar, philosopher and chief editor of Zamaneh, a human rights radio station and website based in Amsterdam.
Title: A Big Sip of the Second Cup of Poison*
Author: Mohammad Reza Nikfar
Date: April 2, 2015
Translated by Frieda Afary
… [The leadership of the Islamic Republic] couldn’t continue the Iran-Iraq war. The survival instinct dominated over the greed of a war economy. They drank the poison and at the same time, engaged in the large massacre of the Summer of 1988.** The new chapter of “reconstruction” began with this massacre. Afterward, the Islamic bourgeoisie entered the phase of “earn and enjoy.” The military sector received the delicious profits of reconstruction. The dynamism of militarism and the lessons which the Islamic Republic had learned from Saddam Hussein’s nadir, easily turned the avenues opened by war into an avenue for enriching uranium. The sect of artificers entered its radioactive stage and an important part of the political economy of war continued in the form of a nuclear political economy. The ideologues, army leaders and merchants as well as the Basijis*** who now knew what to issue slogans about, all became satisfied and proud.
Shi’ism and the main current of Iranian nationalism are not one. However, each is the building element of the other. In the creation of the political Shi’i movement in the form of Khomeinism, various genes were involved, of which nationalism is undoubtedly one of the most important. Khomeinism claimed that it could realize what nationalists could not: independence, constructiveness, and achieving national glory. If Khomeinism had not offered such a claim and objective, engineers would not have supported it. Engineers are a pillar of Khomeini’s movement. Khomeinism is not a pure movement of the clerics or clerics-merchants-lumpenproletariat. It is a synthesis of faith and technique. We will comprehend its “modern” reality better if we view it as a movement of clerics-engineers.
[Mohammad Reza] Shah’s modernization produced engineers, and an engineering worldview imposed itself on our political culture. It imposed the will to destroy and build, and believed itself to be better and able to calculate everything. Guerrilla organizations also had a share in this engineering worldview. This worldview easily arrives at militarism. A machine is a weapon and a weapon is a machine. The military commander-engineers set up lessons on nuclear science for the clerics, and the clerics built a new monument: Uranium. The engineers’ sense of pride, constructiveness and ambition for glory was the bond that connected uranium to nationalism, and made it easy to justify [nuclear technology]. Uranium was becoming the source of our national unity. Even secular patriots began worshipping uranium…
The function of nuclear energy in Iran is not to solve the energy problem or to produce special drugs or to serve knowledge creation. Uranium is in the service of creating a mafia. It is in the service of militarism. Ultimately, the nuclear file will be opened. Then the people of Iran will comprehend that during the period when they were suffering from the sanctions, various intelligence organizations –CIA, Mossad, etc.—and Iran’s ruling mafia were benefiting from the feast.
But when will this file be opened? After opening and publicly examining the file of the massacres and the repression. Then it will be time for opening both the Iran-Iraq War file and the nuclear file. At that time the connection between torture and killings in prisons, and the slogans, “War, War, Until Victory” and “Nuclear Energy is our Definite Right” will become clear to all.
How fortunate it was that [the leaders of the Islamic Republic] drank the cup of poison which symbolized their agreement to the cessation of the Iran-Iraq War. May they also enjoy this second cup of poison! They are drinking it out of desperation and concern about the future of their actions. Perhaps even the main leaders of the mafia have discovered that continuing to play the uranium game might be dangerous for them. They decided to back off. This backing off does not mean that the nuclear mafia has been contained. Similarly, accepting the ceasefire in the Iran-Iraq War did not stop the new warmonger generals. The military commanders found other avenues for reconstruction. This time too, they will.
While I am happy to see another cup of poison being poured into the regime’s throat, I also have to express my dismay over the fact that the Iranian people did not contain the radioactivity of the Religious Jurisprudent [title for Ayatollah Khamenei—tr.]. The ideal was to have a widespread protest movement contain this regime, a movement against impoverishment caused by “enrichment”, a movement against the mafia of the Religious Jurisprudent, a movement against militarism, a movement with environmental consciousness and familiar with the debates on nuclear technology, including debates in light of the catastrophes in Chernobyl and Fukushima…
People of Iran! Be curious. Have courage and ask questions! You were thoroughly deceived by the “enrichment” which was at the cost of your impoverishment, the isolation of the country and the promotion of a military race in the region. This deception is similar to the bloody deception you suffered through the Iran-Iraq War. Remember that they killed many of your children, broke pens and shut down newspapers in order to fool you.
Mohammad Reza Nikfar
April 2, 2015
*In July of 1988 after an eight-year war with Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini, in his words, “drank the cup of poison” and accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations. Despite the total death toll of one million or more Iranians and Iraqis, Khomeini insisted that continuing the war even after Iraq’s truce offer in 1982, had not been a mistake.
** Reference to the state-sponsored executions of political prisoners across Iran in July 1988. Please see the link below for a short film by Delnaz Abadi.
*** The Basij is a militia subordinate to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The original organization consisted of civilian volunteers who fought in the Iran-Iraq War. It now consists of young volunteers who receive official benefits in exchange for activities such as policing of morals and the suppression of dissident gatherings.