The purpose of this writing is not to present you with yet another flabby history lesson about Persia, something which I trust you all to be sick to death of. Yet the topic of the current article is something which I feel I cannot ignore writing about, as it seems that nobody these days cares to sputter about, save myself.
Febuary 21 marks the anniversary of one of Iran's most darkest days in memory. On this day in 1828, Haj Mirza Abol-hasan Khan and Asef o-dowleh, chancellor of Fath-Ali Shah signed a stomach-churning treaty by which:
1. The current republics of Armenia and Nakhjavan joined Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Daghestan as the newest Iranian lands to be annexed by Russia forever. 2. Iran promised to pay Russia 5 million Tomans for money spent by Russia in trying to conquer these lands. 3. Full rights for Russian ships to navigate all of the Caspian and her coasts. 4. Capitulation rights for Russians in Iran.
In return, Russia promised to support Abbas Mirza to gain the seat of monarchy after Fath-Ali Shah (which never happened).
Did it end there? Hell no. The Russians were using skulking vermiform British help in doing the same to Iran in Herat and the rest of central Asia. Persian Asia, I might add.
OK. Sad story. It was just to refresh your memories.
Now, when the British were kicked out of their own empire, they still managed to maintain their presence in their “commonwealth” by various means. They were in Hong Kong as late as 1997. Same goes for the French “La Francophonie”.
I don't see an Iranian presence in the “Iranian commonwealth”. Instead of focusing on the commonwealth of Iranian states, we see a non-plebiscitary system that demands genuflection in trying to define us as culturally Arab, sticking its nose into places where it innately does not belong, such as the Israeli-Arab conflict.
But it gets even worse. While Iran is sucking up to “Muslim brother nations” like Malaysia for economic opportunities, Malaysia smarmily forbids the official hiring of Iranian Muslims. And these are not even Arabs.
That said, it is imperative that every Iranian, from every creed and ethnicity, at least keep the memory alive, before even the memory disappears. The memory of Greater Iran.
What is “Greater Iran”? I. Members of the Greater Iran, a federated commonwealth of Iranian states
Armenia Separated from Iran by the Turkemanchay Treaty. Our government, as well as foreign governments, try very hard to encourage Iranian minorities to leave Iran. That's sad. St Thaddeus is buried in Iran. So are Prophet Daniel and Queen Esther. Iran was inherently pluralist to begin with.
Azerbaijan Turkey is now stepping in to separate Azerbaijan from Iran by claiming Azeris as Turks, and therefore part of “Greater Turkey”. The vainglorious ciphers even claim the Safavis as “a Turkic dynasty that ruled Persia”. Turkic as in non-Iranian. And what do we do instead to make our Azeri citizens feel welcome in their own home? Make jokes about how dumb “Torks” are. The definition of hemaaghat.
Afghanistan The Dari language spoken by Afghanis is Farsi. And if we haven't been treating them as equals to ourselves, then shame on us. I have to keep showing people “Baran” to remind them of this. I wonder what people would be calling Ebne Sina of he were alive todayÖ. An “Afghani”? What about Molavi? Would he be riding a Zamyad pickup with a shovel in hand?
Tajikestan Perhaps one of the most important states of Greater Iran. These people actually appreciate being a member of the Persian family. We should fully embrace that. Ah, but Qods Day is more important.
Turkmenistan Marv is where Yazdegerd finally lost to Omar. It was the capital of Greater Khorasan. Nisa was the capital of the Parthians. No insignificant detail there.
Uzbekistan While western Iran and Fars were enduring the wave of Arabization, the people of this region were preserving our language. Where were the Samanids from? Where is Bokhara? Where is Samarqand? Where is Rudaki from?
Kyrqyzstan Another state inhabited by Iranian tribes such as the Sogdians, whose capital was the city of Afrasyab. Like the other “SSR” states, they lost much of their identity during the russification policies of Moscow.
II. States that should be within the Iranian sphere of influence
Iraq That great vault has been begging for ages to hear Persian poetry recited under her majestic shadow. And how many of you had a grandfather or great ancestor that lived in Najaf or Karbala? Kamal-ol-molk loved it there as did many others. And what about Mashallah and Nowbakht, the Iranian Jew and Zoroastrian that first designed Baghdad based on Firouzabad? Like it or not, Iraq is an Iranoid state by nature. Our presence is eternally felt there.
UAE How many Iranians do we have there? What does a government like Russia do when it has a minority of its citizens living somewhere, say, like in Lithuania? Would it act less than aggressive to protect them? Besides, business is good for everyone. And you see a lot of it in the UAE nowadays.
India These people are proud of their Mughal heritage. It's no coincidence we see Persian poetry in India. No coincidence that The Taj Mahal was built by Shirazi craftsmen. This should be a point for strengthening cultural bonds. India has achieved much schtick as a nation that stood on her own feet and evolved into a democracy. We have a lot to learn from them.
Turkey If you don't try to influence them, they will try to influence you. That's the rule. Otherwise next thing you know, Tabriz and Qazvin are on their maps again. III. States of key importance for Greater Iran
Israel Like it or not, Israel is here to stay. Secondly, Israel is the only country in the region that understands “Iranians are not Arabs”. They understood it during our war against Iraq. They understand it when I go to my doctors, all Jewish, and all top of their class. We need Israel for stability. And Israel still sees us as the descendants of Cyrus the savior.
As ridiculous as it sounds, YOU CAN be a follower of Hossein, and be a brother to a Jew. That is if you don't think Jews are Najes to shake hands with, and aren't stuck in the mold defined by pan-Arabism, nowadays called “Islam”. Even our hero Morgan Shuster was Jewish for crying out loud.
The US Ever since Howard G. Baskerville became the first American to bravely die for Iran's struggle toward democracy, it has become clear that Iran cannot trust any major power, if any at all, other than the United States. The US was the only power who ever tried to help Persia, just for the sake of helping her. Even today, where pro-war neocons reign supreme in Washington, Iran would still be much better off having America as a friend than having Europeans. I firmly believe in this.
Without the US, Iran can't go far in anything it does. Not because Iran is wimpy and powerless, but because America has so much to offer. Au contraire, the US needs Iran too. Iran can be a most loyal friend for a well intentioned United States. It would be very wise for both American and Iranian statesmen to come to their senses and try coordinating efforts to reach their numerous shared interests. Just think, when Arthur Millspaugh and Arthur Pope were helping Iran, what were the Europeans doing? Why do we have a tomb of Phyllis Ackerman in Isfahan?
Conclusion Richard Frye once said: “Many times I have emphasized that the present peoples of central Asia, whether Iranian or Turkic speaking, have one culture, one religion, one set of social values and traditions with only language separating them”.
Empires and kingdoms come and go, but the memory of a unified great state not only continues to inspire folk bards and poets, but also to motivate political action. It is our duty to defend the memory of Greater Iran from her enemies, and try hard to preserve the cultural glue that solidifies the peoples of this great land, whether Persian, Turkic, Afghani, Turkomen, or whatever, in spite of religion and creed, even if Iran herself doesn't. Perhaps future generations will awaken to this reality unlike the current one.