I wonder if Daniel M. Pourkesali knows the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, Javad Zarif. If he doesn’t, they should definitely be introduced to each other, because Pourkesali claims “”, and Zarif says, “for 250 years Iran has not invaded any country”.
“Attack”, “invasion”, “any neighbors”, “any country”, “Iran”, “Persia”, I don’t care about the subtleties of words, I decided to learn about this last invasion.
250 years ago coincides with Zand Dynasty (1747-1787). Many territories of Persia, which was previously captured by the Ottoman Empire, were taken back by some kind of conflict, but relatively a peaceful era. In 1763 Karim Khan had allowed the British to establish a base and trading post in Bushehr, which opened the country to the British East India Company. However most of the trade from India was going to Basra, which was an Ottoman port at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. In 1775-76 Karim Khan Zand invaded and captured Basra, but this was 230 years ago, and Pourkesali and Zarif do not consider this an invasion because, I think, there wasn’t enough bloodshed.
So, the last invasion that they refer to must have occurred during the rule of Nader Shah (1688-1747), which is great for us because we might learn a thing or two from that part of our history and try to apply it to our contemporary one.
Nader Shah, sometimes referred to as the last great Asian conqueror, ruled Iran from 1736 to 1747. He first achieved his greatness by decisively defeating the Afghans under Mahmud who had occupied a great part of Persia. Nader Shah after ending the Safavid Dynasty and taking the throne for himself proceeded to invade northern India in 1739, which is precisely 267 years ago, and captured and sacked the capital of Mughal Emire, Delhi. He forced Muhammad Shah to turn over the royal treasury of India, which included such items as Peacock Throne (takht’e tavous), Mountain of Light (Koh’e Noor), Sea of Light (darya’ya noor), and thousands of elephants, horses, and camels loaded with stolen goods. Overall he conquered Kandahar, Ghazni, Kabul, Lahore, Delhi, Bahrain, Oman, and Najaf. During Nader Shah’s reign of terror thousands of people were killed in Iran and occupied lands, including the people who had witnessed his own son’s blinding.
It turns out that this period of Iran’s past history of Nader Shah has many parallels with the contemporary era of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). Of intereast to me is the failed invasion of Iraq from 1982 to 1988.
Like Nader Shah’s mistrust of his own sons, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh who had stood by Khomeini during his exile like a son ended up being executed for plotting to overthrow IRI regime, although he denied the accusation that he planned to assasinate Khomeini. Abolhassan Banisadr who was the spiritual son of Khomeini also alomost lost his life to the father.
Nader Shah managed to put together an army of 400,000 soldiers. Ayetollah khomeini dreamed of a 20,000.000 army. Nader shah killed thousands of his real or perceivied enemies, Khomeini did the same, especialy after he drank from the posioned cup. Nader shah after driving Afghans out Iranian territory proceded to invade the rest of Afghanestan, Khomeini did the same thing with Iraq.
Once defeated and driven out of Iran in the first two years of the Iran-Iraq war, Sadam hossein with the help of other Arabian countries offered to pay war reparation amounting to billions of dollars, enough to load thousands of elephants, horses, and camels.
Khomeini like Nader Shah attempted or at least talked about uniting Sunnies and Shias, but soon gave up on it. Khomeini like Nader Shah had grand plans, including expanding his empire to Jerusalam, for Islam, and repeatedly said the war is going to continue even if it takes twenty years, but Nader Shah’s conquest of India and retreat from it only took two months (recent Israel’s invasion and withdrawal from Labanon also took about two months).
To reach Jerusalam, after conquring Iraq, Khomeini would have had to attack or at least bring into the war other countries namely Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Palestine. The fact that he was defeated does not diminish the fact that he intended to liberate (i.e. invade) Palestine, and free it from the occupying Zionist regime (i.e. Israel).
In Iran it is now debated by Rafsanjani’s camp that victory at war requires victories at three corners of a triangle, military, economical, and political fronts, which is nothing new to military campaign planners. Khomeini lost his war at all fronts. Classical military of Muhammad Reza Shah was replaced with the army of Jahadis and Basijis that could not win the war militarily, the country was in economic ruins, and Iran was politically in almost total international isolation.
Pourkesali and Zarif want us to believe that the regime in Iran has maintained friendly relations with its neighbors but that is not true. Once the flame of war starts, it will spread quickly as everyone knows and that certainly was true with the Iran-Iraq war. In June 1984, Iranian and Saudi Arabian jet fighters were involved in an aerial battle, where one or two Iranian jets were destroyed. During the same periodKuwaiti oil facilities and tankers were attacked and destroyed by Iranians, and overall hundreds of ships belonging to several countries were also attacked and damaged during the Tanker War.
In July 31,1987 Iranian pilgrims in Mecca tried to stage a political demonstration against the rulers of Saudi Arabia who were allies of Iraq. Security forces used firearm and over 400 Iranian, Saudi Arabian, and citizens of other countries were killed. The following day about one million people demonstrated in Tehran, and attacked Saudi Arabia and Kuwait’s embassies and demanded the overthrow of their rulers. Meanwhile the Saudi’s were issuing the sternest warnings that they would not tolerate any violation of their territories or interference in their domestic affairs.
In the same period Iran and Pakistani backed Taliban nearly entered into a war when Afghanis killed nine Iranian diplomats and officials in 1988.
So, the argument that Iran historically has had friendly relations with its neighbors is ludicrous. It wasn’t there with (clockwise) the Russians when we lost a good chunk of Persia to them and were occupied by them under Stalin, it wasn’t there when we fought the Afghans under Mahmud and lost our claim to it when they were under the British, it wasn’t there with the Pakistanis (India), not there with the Persian Gulf countries (Bahrain and Oman), and not there with the Ottomans (Turkey), and we were definitely not friendly with the Iraqis.
I believe the last invasion occurred under the rule of Khomeini.