Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Letter to the "Great Satan"

A Letter to “The Great Satan”
Ali-Asghar Kazemi

May 9, 2006

Not long ago, during the peak of heated debates over the nuclear issue and while the case was on the way to the U.N. Security Council, it was revealed by U.S. media that Americans are aiming at “regime change” in Iran. Many peoples were quite anxious that Iran’s intransigence on nuclear enrichment could finally unleash an armed conflict in the region. Two years ago I argued that chances for a clash between the two states are very slim for quite different reasons. More recently I wrote in a short paper “When….the survival is at stake, everything is permissible, since ends justify means. This is to say that principles can be sacrificed when the issue reduces to this simple question: To be or not to be?”Along the same line, when on April 11, 2006 Iranian president solemnly declared Iran’s full access to enrichment on industrial scale and claimed that Iran should be regarded as a new member to “Atomic Club” I wrote the following lines as concluding remarks to another paper on “Iran’s Mixed Signals to the West.” I argued that:“Whether the Islamic regime will surrender to the demand of the U.N. Security Council in order to avoid further escalation of the nuclear issue, is a matter of threat perception of the Iranian decision makers and their capacity to manage the crisis. Indeed, if they realize that the risks of defying the U. N. demands are much too high and beyond their endurance, they will surely come to their sense and do whatever necessary to avoid the worst to happen.”Not surprisingly, after almost a quarter of century of antagonism and controversies against the “Great Satan,” the hard-line president of the Islamic regime, who ushered his term of office with bold and aggressive deportment vis-à-vis the West, suddenly softened his position by sending a “confidential letter” to the U.S. President on may 8, 2006. The content of this letter does not really matter, the importance lies in the mere fact that at a critical moment, when a resolution under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter is under serious consideration, the Islamic regime is now leaning towards its arch-enemy for truce.I had always argued in my previous writings that the key to end Iran’s lingering enmity with the U.S. lies in the hands of hard-line new conservative elements of the regime and not necessarily the progressive liberals. Since, as we know, the reformists were not supposed to acquire credibility in public eyes. They were regarded as traitors and enemy’s fifth column who were acting in a Gorbachovian manner to pave the way for the downfall of the regime. It was thought that the trend of democratization, as conceived and carried by the previous liberal-minded and enlightened clergy president (Khatami), was a dangerous path to collapse.Now that the new-conservatives have all the state power as well as the backing of the supreme leader, they can use all the means, tactics and skills by following Machiavellian advice of how to save a state and its institutions from the dangers of dissolution and disintegration. This does not mean that the young zealous president ever read or even heard about Machiavelli’s art of statesmanship: (roar like a lion and lament like a fox). But he seems to follow the advice by his life instinct leading to the same innate conduct.As I said before, the new conservatives are more pragmatic than reformists. They have a strong sense of survival and thus are capable to do anything to remain in power. That is why most observers believe that if there has to be any breakthrough in US-Iran relations, only conservatives are capable to do so. This is to say that if they feel their very survival and real interests threatened, as Winston Churchill once said, they will go to hell to make a deal with the “mother of Satan.”[1]Let us remember that politics is the “art of impossible” and those involved in this realm, disregard of their religious beliefs and personal creed, are somehow inadvertently dragged to the same path for what is known as the raison d’état or inherent instinct for survival.Thus, for new conservatives, values and principles are good and important as long they are subservient to their causes and interests. This does not mean that they are wicked or hypocrite, but this is considered as a virtue involving flexibility in action towards finding ways and means to achieve more fundamental objectives. In other words, when a sublime cause is at stake every thing is permissible even sending a letter to “The Great Satan.”[2] Whether the United States takes the letter seriously or not, surely, the outcome of the venture is much less important than the deed itself. /

[1] This is the historical case in which during WW2 United Kingdom concluded a peace treaty with Soviet communist in order to face Nazi’s overwhelming threat to Europe and England.

[2] As Imam Khomeini once said, for safeguarding of Islamic regime, even the primary duties of Moslem devout, such as regular daily prayers, fasting and Hajj pilgrimage, can be neglected, suspended or postponed. The main reason behind the creation of State Expediency Council was in fact to accommodate religious principles to the vital needs of the contemporary state.


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