The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


January 11, 2001

On discrimination & race

In response to Ali Noshirvani's letter ["Time to take responsibility"] in which he justified discrimination against Iranians due to events such as the U.S. embassy hostage taking and "support for terrorism": I would like to point out that I as an individual had no role in any of that, so I as an individual am quite justified in blaming and condemning discrminatory conduct based on my ethnicity.

What you're espousing is guilt-by-ethnic or historical-asssociation. If the same standard were followed consistently, then every American should undergo a thorough body cavity search before he or she is allowed on board an airplane anywhere in the world, thanks to the various historical misdeeds by the US government such as U.S. support for Saddam Hussein and General Pinochet, napalming innocent civilians in Vietnam, and shooting down civilian airliners in the Persian Gulf, and mining harbors in Nicaragua.

Iranians in the U.S. are entitled to the full protection of the laws, as is anyone else, and should be absolutely adamant in asserting their rights.

As for the issue of inter-racial marriages ["Iran has seen worse..."]: while having pride in one's heritage is certainly commendable, remember that the KKK too denies being "racist" and instead claims to be merely in favor of "protecting ethnic identity." Such assertions are nothing more than blatant racism as well as a sign of extreme insecurity.

Iran is not an ethnically or racially "pure" nation and it never was. All those people who tout their "Aryan" or even "Persian" origins had better remember the Arabs, the Greeks, the Mongols, Indians, all of the conquerers and all the conquered, who intermixed in Iran over the course of five millenia, as well as the various groups which have resided within Iran. Much of those carvings in Persepolis, for example, where made by Greeks.

The truth is that Iran has shared in the world's heritage. Iran's strength is in its cosmopolitan, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nature, not in some mythical "purist" state. Hopefully this will be the last word on these two issues which seem to have dominated The Iranian.

John Mohammadi


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