What sets up apart!


by Kamangir

During the last three decades, we've seen an Iran that has amazed and surpised most Iranians, as if what we see is a mutation of the Iran we knew to a new entity that simply carries the name of Iran while representing something non-Iranian to many of us. We then come to realize that this Iran that many of us decided to leave behind and many others wish to leave behind, cannot have happened overnight, the forces behind this 'new' Iran must have been present in Iran itself in a passive way, in hybernation.

Few could deny Iran's deep connection with its pre-islamic times, this goes beyond ruins of Persepolis or pasargad. This is not simply a turistic attraction that reminds tourists how sofisticated and great the old Egyptian civilization was, whereas the Egyptian people todays barely see themselves identified with those magnificent and ancient monuments of their own country. In Iran's case, even if every single historical remain is destroyed and erased, the deep cultural connection of the Iranians with their ancient ancestors will be present and alive. We haven't survived as a distinct nation 'because' of our Persian language, names or culture, actually it seems the other way around, these traits have survived thanks to our Iranian and Persian essence. As Sandra Makcay tried to express in her book : The soul of a nation, despite cultural and historical blows to Iran, some of them quite severe which may have been the caused the current caos in Iran, there're visible common traits between today's Iranians and their Persian ancestors. This essence is what sets us apart. Our Persian language and names, our Persian art or the Persian and Iranian way of expressing art, our rich literature, all this is what sets us apart. On the other hand, the religion of the vast majority of Iranians, the arabic names and customs so much present and enforced in today's Iran, in other word the religious aspect of Iran is not necessarily what sets us apart from our neighbours. A Persian name matters, a Persian word matters, our language matters our Iranian customs matter, more so nowadays! Iran's name is not compatible with this 'new' and bizarre entity called the 'Islamic Republic'!


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Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

Dear Kamangir........

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

Thank you for your response to my question. So, in your view, foreign governments felt that they could more easily manipulate the current Regime over the leftist  party in Iran? Would this be an accurate assessment of what you stated?

 I do have the book by Sandra MacKey. I must say that I found it interested that she quoted the following:

"Neither our thoughts nor our doctrines nor our minds' forces,

Neither our choices nor our words nor our deeds,

Neither our consciences nor our souls agree."


 I have not had a chance to read the book yet, as I only picked it up from the library today. However, I was checking the Table of Contents and it mentions Iran's Revolution (Part III), Iran's Second Revolution (Part III), and The Double Revolution (Part IV). I must say that I am intrigued and captivated already. :o)

My apologies for such a late response. On the bright side, I am finally over the flu.

Solh va Doosti



Re: Natalia & Niloufar Parsi

by Kamangir on

Dear Nadia

With regard to your questions, I personally have an answer or opinion for the first one: as per why the Iranian revolution was won by the most backward part of the Iranian social group (the very religious clerigs and individuals)  To me the answer is to be found in the very wrong and much sold and accepted term 'revolution'. I do not believe that what took place in 1979 back in Iran was a revolution. They called it so, thanks to the international media, everyone believed it so, but there was never a real revoution there. What took place was an international conspiracy, enginnered by the West to isolate, discredit and weaken their own allie, the Pahlevi monarchy nd to replace it with what we see today. I'm not saying that there wasn't a social discontent with the old regime (specially if we bear in mind that communism had strong presence in Iran, as well as Islamism, both trends very much against the monarchy)

The leftists (or communists) played an important role in the caos (strikes that damaged the economy and the normal functioning of the entire nation) However, The west didn't want the leftis to take over, mainly the US. Iran's weak point was its religion and its backward religious sectors and that was exploited to the very end up to today. In my opinion there was never a real revolution, but a manipulated caos.

Dear Niloufar:

I agree with you that the ones rulling Iran now are Iranians, but their way of life and idiology is not. Their essence is not Persian or at least not Iranian in origin. This is a very complex situation, where some of the elements withing the regime are very much against anything Persian (history, language and customes) on the other hand you have individuals among them that are simply following the trend and are somehow there and do see themselves a true Iranians and do appreciate their country's uniquness...

Iran is a diverse nation, but yet the its main structure, the pillars and columns that have always kept this great nation toghether has been its Persian essence and language, its unifying factor.

Please note that the current regime, identifies itself with the arab history (nothing Iranian) such as the events taken place in Kerbala, mecca and medina and at the same time they promote the shiism and islamism, jihad and all the that with in my opinion is not and has never been Iranian. The IRI does not represnt Iran at all.


Niloufar Parsi

Kamangir khan salam

by Niloufar Parsi on

I am going to be a party pooper here I am afraid! And with some trepidation I would add... 

The central problem I have with this piece has its rational within your own text:

'We then come to realize that this Iran that many of us decided to leave behind and many others wish to leave behind, cannot have happened overnight, the forces behind this 'new' Iran must have been present in Iran itself in a passive way, in hybernation.'

For this very reason as you have pointed out, it is futile to deny the overpowering reality of Islam in Iran and Iran's culture. Trying to describe the last 30 years as a foreign (Arab) invasion really does not help us to come to terms with the situation.

On a different level, are you not romanticising 'Persianness' a little? I will not play the trick of asking you to define 'Persianness'. We know it would not be reasonable to ask for such a definition. But we have to acknowledge the diversity of what Iran is. In fact, we do Not really even have a national language. Farsi is just barely the first language of the majority in modern Iran, and despite centuries of its rule as the dominant language.

And I am sure that I am not the first to raise such points, and certainly not the first to contend that Iran's distant history is just that: it's distant history. We cannot dream it back to today. What happens tomorrow is another matter, and I would not claim that we cannot 'try' to bring back the spirit of Cyrus.  

None of this is meant to question your motives or to launch a personal attack. I am rather keen to hold this conversation with you and others here.

To me, those in charge of Iran today are every bit as Iranian or Persian as the rest of us. They just happen to believe in different things, and rather unfortunately, they seem to have just about enough genuine Iranian support to maintain their grip on power. But they Are Iranians too, as much as any of us. 

We should find a way to make peace with them rather than question their nationality or race in a manner that portrays them as some 'foreign' agents. 


Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

sfds Sepaas!

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

Thank you for the source of information. I shall add it to my wish list at amazon.com as well.


Solh va Doosti


Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

Man on a white horse.............

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on


Yes, Iran and Iranians have the capacity to be a great nation and people.


 Does anyone on  this thread have the answers to the following questions?

The revolution was guided by intellectuals. How could they not have seen what was to happen? Was it an illusion or a delusion?

"So, why did Iran's revolution take the form of an Islamic march backwards? Did the Iranians really want religion back in their lives? Was it spiritual hunger, as so many analysts, including Mackey, tell us? Or was this revolution the result of lack of critical thinking?" (Review on globalthink.net) 

 Also, MacKey seems to believe that Iran and Iranians are waiting for a savior "Man on a white horse" to liberate them as it has occurred throughout the centuries. What are your views on this?

Here is another part of the review on Mackey in which I would like to hear your opinions on...............

"The day that Iranians give up their illusions about the just king and just priest is the day that they will begin to honor the third leg of their character, the capability of exploring ideas from everywhere and adapting them to their own substantial culture. We may be seeing the beginning of this today."

(Keep in mind that the book was first published in 1996)

Solh va Doosti



Disclaimer: I am not trying to be harsh. I seriously want to know what happened so many years ago. Also, from what I have been reading there seems to be some pattern in how leaders of Iran are replaced.


we should value both parts of Iranian culture

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

not just one or the other. Post Islamic Iran also has achieved many great things. Many cultures have had a change of religion or a great historical event. It doesn't mean that one part is more important.

If you are one of those people who see Islam as exclusively bad thing and think that pre-Islamic iran was better, then you should not be surprised that there are extremist Iranians on the other side too.

both are important.


have you been to Egypt?

by jalili (not verified) on

Egyptians very much see themselves as the inheriters of their old culture. Their government offices and architecture has many of the same preIslamic themes. Some Egyptians even do not like to be called 'arab'. I don't think you have this part correct.


Kamangir, you are truly a tolerant persian

by Iran First (not verified) on

Iranians with adapted non-Iranian neighboring nomadic Arab culture are blindly helping genocide of Iranian culture.

Iranians, Arabs, and Israelis are all victims of this backward cultish religion of Islam.


What sets us apart?

by samsam1111 on

We are the mixed remnants of those Aryan nomads who left their cold ancient motherland in central russian steps (Aryae Vaejoo)  3 millinums ago to start a new beginning in a strange land in the south and continued to be an Oasis of glory in the once , mediocre land . 

 Middle east without children of Cyrus is an arid land of nothingness.

Thanks Kamangir & yes every name counts!


Great Essay Kamagir. Nadia:

by sfds (not verified) on

Great Essay Kamagir.

Nadia: "Lost Wisdom" by Abbas Milani is a Must Read.

This article is great also:

The Iranian Identity Crisis: Islam V. Persian Identity


Maryam Hojjat

Anti Iranian/Persian Essences

by Maryam Hojjat on

Dear Kamangir:  I agree with you that there is such essence as anti-Iranian/Persian but we who love our country Iran & Iranian culture and history must not allowed them to succeed.  We must do every thing in our power to keep alive our persian essence as this essence has done so much for civilization of the world.

As IRI has been trying to remove Persian essence, IRI also has given awareness of its evil intentions to Iranians particularly its young generation.  I believe with my whole heart that future of our country is very bright and would shine with its Persian essence in the world.  It just require some patience.

P.S. I always enjoy reading your articles.


The real enemy of Iran!

by Anonymously (not verified) on

IRI is not the only enemy of Persian culture and Persian identity(persianness). There is a ethnical group in Iran that try to destroy everything that is related to pre-Islamic Iran. You might have read their comments here and there posted in Iranian.com when there is something about Persians and Persian culture. As always they are ready to pop up and bash the Persian culture and history as it would be a thorn in their eyes. Make a trip to Iran and convince yourself!!!.


The funny thing is that

by jamshid on

The funny thing is that despite of the IRI's propaganda machine that rivals that of Goebel of Nazis, Iranian youth more than ever are seeking for their pre-Islamic roots.

I am sure to my pleasure, this is a thorn in the eyes of IRI and its supporters.

Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez


by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

As a non-Iranian and impartial person, I too seek to gain a better understanding of Iran and Iranians. I really do find Dr. Sandra MacKey's book interesting and have in fact added it to my amazon.com wish list. I am slowly but surely building a little reference section of books for my personal library. :o) I confess that I am a bookworm and proud of it.

I look forward to the approaching discourse on your thread. Much is to be learned by all. I shall check back in a couple of days and perhaps I can also add some of my insight to the discourse.  I wish you much success. :o)

Solh va Doosti


PS: Incase it is not apparent by now.......I Love Iran and Iranians. :o)



From on of the reviews and

by Kamangir on

From on of the reviews and from Mackey itself:

 The third pillar of Iranian character: the desire to explore and adapt the new and best currents of world culture.

The adaptive and modernizing ability of Persians is not new; it is a basic part of their historic character. The great culture of the Sassanian Dynasty (third to 7th centuries CE) was characterized by its openness to Chinese and Indian ideas, technologies, and goods, and this openness carried on into the Muslim Golden Age, in which Persian intellectuals, artists, and administrators were in the vanguard of the most dynamic international society the world has seen until today.



by Kamangir on

Dear Natalia

I very much appreciate your interest in this suject and the links that are very helful.  I just want to mention that I've always believed that just as a psychologist sees a patient impartially from outside, a non-Iranian and impartial person can have a better overall view of Iran (although the overall result may be considered as personal opinion) This of course requires a very deep research and investigation which in this case Sandra Mackay carried out. I cannot agree more with the author with the fact that there's a very deep cultural conflict in Iran that existed long before the so called revolution. She refers to it as a conflict between the Persian essence of Iran and its later acquired religion called Islam. However; I think that this is not a clash between a religion and our Iranian culture, but rather a conflict between two essences: teh Persian and the later imposed arabic, which in no way would go together as they were essencially two separate entities, quite antagonic. This is visible in our language, names and customes.

I strongly believe there're very strong anti-Iranian/Persian essences in Iran, that can only grow and expand by getting rid of our Persian essence and that's exactly what the IRI is doing.



Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

Kamangir..I took the liberty of......

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

I took the liberty of posting some links leading to information on the book and author mentioned in your blog. I also located two reviews on the book which I hope presents a balanced view.

I hope that this is favorable in your eyes. I just wanted to create a more lively discourse for your thread. :o)


 Solh va doosti


Sandra MacKey

 The Iranians: Persia, Islam, And The Soul Of A Nation

Review by globalthink.net

Review by Middle East Forum