Political Culture, Mossadegh’s legacy, and Transition to Democracy in Iran
In my article on “authoritarian personality” http://iranian.com/main/blog/masoud-kazemzadeh/authoritarian-personality-and-democracy I discussed several factors that positively contribute and/or hinder democracy. In this blog, I further discuss aspects of Iranian political culture that conducive for democracy or dictatorship.
Culture: The set of beliefs, values, and norms that distinguish the world views of one group of people and differentiates them from all others.
Political Culture: widely shared beliefs, values, and norms concerning the relationship of citizens to government and to one another.
There might be some cultural characteristics that are widely shared by a nation. But I also see various sub-groups of individuals whose political culture is different than others in the same nation.
Therefore, to say that ALL Iranians behave like this or that, appears to me to be misleading. Rather, I see different groupings of individuals. I see the following groupings among Iranians:
1. Hezb Baad [HB]
In Iran, as well as in many other societies, there exist those who have no political or ethical principles. These individuals provide their services to those in power regardless of who is in power. In Persian, these individual are sometimes called “noon o beh nerkh rooz mikhorand,” “ham az toubreh mikhoreh ham az akhur,” “2 nabsheh.” The politically involved, call them “Hezb baad,” or “fahesheh siasi” [Political prostitutes].
The members of this group provide their services to whomever is in power. One day they provide their services to Rafsanjani when he was in power, then try sell their services to Khatami when he president, and now to Ahmadinejad. The primary motivation of the members of this group is personal gain (financial, access, power, etc). Members of this group may establish organizations or lobby groups, or serve as advisors, some write pro-regime articles, or engage in similar activities (e.g., writing posts on popular sites like I.C). It does NOT matter whether the fundamentalists are in power, or monarchists, or Mojahedin, or democrats. The members of Hezb Baad will provide their services to ANY group or person that is in power.
Members of this group are against Mossadegh and Mossadegh’s legacy and method of struggle. They are against Mossadegh because Mossadeghi groups are not in power. If instead of the ruling dictatorship, we had a secular democratic republic and JM was in power, then the members of HB would write the most sycophantic essays about Dr. Mossadegh. The second reason is that Mossadegh’s method of struggle was PRINCIPLED. Hezb baad individuals do not have any political or ethical principles.
2. True Believers [TB] of Dictatorial Groups
There are members and supporters of anti-democratic groups who are anti-democratic and honest. For example, a true believer Basiji believes in his or her ideology. For him or her, democracy is a Western idea and s/he wants a different form of government. S/he is willing to die for her or his beliefs. Or a Shahollahi who supports Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The political culture and pattern of behavior of true believers are different than those of Hezb Baad.
3. Sanctimonious, Self-centered, Uncompromising
For members of this group compromise is equated with selling out. Members of this group could be found in all groups (democratic as well as anti-democratic). To have democracy in Iran, we need to learn to compromise with groups with whom we disagree.
4. Mossadegh’s Legacy: Principled, Pluralistic, and Compromise to promote the national interest
Monarchists, Fundamentalists, and Hezb Baadists have been attacking Mossadegh and his legacy.
Mossadegh held principles. They included independence, freedom, democracy.
Mossadegh fought for Iran’s independence from British colonial control (and lost in the 1953 coup). Mossadegh was also pragmatic. He saw the strength of forces that wanted Iran’s independence and those that opposed them. He forged PRAGMATIC alliances that advanced the cause of independence. Mossadegh was NOT a sanctimonious uncompromising person. If all forces were angels in Iran (or politics in any country) then we would not have had the horrible and tortured history that we have had (and have today). Whether it was anti-democratic individuals or groups such as the Shah, Kashani, or Brujerdi, or Tudeh party, Mossadegh tired to work with them as much as possible. Mossadegh did NOT say: “you are not perfect, pif pif, I will not work with you.”
Mossadegh-JM lost in August 19, 1953 on an extremely narrow margin. On August 16 (25 Amordad), we defeated the coup and won. A number of factors caused our defeat. One primary reason was the brilliance and persistence of Kermit Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s first coup attempt failed and he was told by CIA headquarters to leave Iran. Roosevelt persisted and came up with plan B. Another reason was that Dr. Mossadegh made a number of crucial mistakes on August 18 and 19. Had Dr. Mossadegh not told JM supporters to go home and not ordered the military to go on the streets to restore order (Mossadegh was deceived by Roosevelt and U.S. Embassador to Iran Henderson), then the CIA 2nd coup would not have succeeded.
The REASON Iran suffered from dictatorship between 1953 and 1979 is because we were defeated on 28 Mordad. The reason that there was the revolution was the following brutal dictatorship of the Shah (1953-1979). The fact that Mossadegh rejected the 50-50 deal was simple. The principle of the struggle was for the gaining of Iran’s independence. The British through their control of our oil were controlling Iran’s political life. Some, like the Shah, were subservient to the British colonial control. And as a nationalist organization, JM was for independence. Mossadegh was willing to COMPROMISE on all aspects of the nationalization process from keeping the British personnel, to fair compensation for the nationalization, selling oil to the British company, etc. One may argue that Iran was not ready for independence and democracy. So, the Razmara was the appropriate person. But the fact that we lost by a very small margin and that if only a few minor decisions were made differently, then we would have won, then the argument that Iran did not deserve independence or democracy is shown to be false. We could have and should have won. Our loss on August 19, 1953 was not inevitable.
The referendum was done in order to prevent the Shah from using the Majles to dismiss the prime minister. According to the 1906 Constitution, the Shah could dismiss the PM after a vote of the Majles. Our constitution was modeled after the Belgium constitution, which itself was the codification of the British system. In the British system, it is the members of Parliament who vote for the prime minister (appoint and dismiss) and the monarch’s role to sign it is ceremonial. In fact, if the monarch has the REAL power to appoint and dismiss the prime minister as he wishes, then why have the parliament, and elections for the parliament??????? Actually, the CIA plan for the coup was based on the Shah dismissing the PM. By dissolving the Majles via referendum (a democratic procedure), Mossadegh was undermining the CIA-MI6 coup plan. Mossadegh’s argument was if Majles is dismissed then the Shah and the CIA-MI6 lose the ability to use the Majles members to dismiss the prime minister.
In the past several years, some (usually the supporters of the fundamentalist regime) are comparing Ahmadinejad with Mossadegh. Some (usually the supporters of the fundamentalist regime) are also saying the nationalization of the oil by Mossadegh is similar to Ahmadinejad’s nuclear enrichment program.
Ahmahinejad is a Hitler-like figure, and any comparison between this fascist thug with our pro-democracy leader is not only FALSE, it is insulting.
Many months ago, I posted the following:
Mossadegh = democrat
Ahmadinejad = brutal tyrant
Mossadegh = liberal
Ahmadinejad = reactionary
Mossadegh = progressive
Ahmadinejad = fascistic
Mossadegh = secular
Ahmadinejad = fundamentalist
Mossadegh = freedom of the press
Ahmadinejad = repression of the press
Mossadegh = free election
Ahmadinejad = fraudulent counting in anti-democratic pseudo-election candidates pre-selected by the fundamentalist Council of Guardians
Mossadegh = non-violent
Ahmadinejad = chomaghdar, violent, rape of male and female political prisoners
Mossadegh = supported democracy
Ahmadinejad = suppresses and represses democracy
Mossadegh = defended women’s rights
Ahmadinejad = suppresses women’s rights
Mossadegh = opposed discrimination against religious minorities
Ahmadinejad = oppressors of religious minorities
Mossadegh = foreign policy based on defending Iran’s national interests
Ahmadinejad = jihadi foreign policy similar to Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda
Mossadegh = pro-peace
Ahmadinejad = bellicose, warmonger, terrorist
Comparing Oil Nationalization with the Terrorist Regime’s Nuclear Program
The oil nationalization struggle was a struggle to gain Iran’s independence from the British colonial control of Iran. Our oil was owned by the British which used that control to also control the politics of Iran. In order to be independent it was imperative to get our oil back from the control of the British.
JM was BOTH zede estemaar (against colonialism) and zede estebdad (against dictatorship). In actual fact, the JM was founded in the demand for free elections in 1949. It is false to say Jebhe Melli was only against colonial control of Iran. JM was both for independence and for democracy.
Esteghlal and azadi were our principles. And Mossadegh was pragmatic. He was willing to compromise on alliances. He was NOT willing to compromise on the principle. Mossadegh was a pragmatic politician willing to compromise for the sake of the national interest. Compromise is NOT a dirty word. It is the pragmatic way to find ways to reach the objective.
Mossadegh never said the Shah is against esteghlal, lets kill him. Mossadegh tried to pressure the Shah to respect the 1906 Constitution and reign but not rule. Mossadegh never said Brujerdi or Shah are against freedom, lets kill them. Mossadegh tried to find pragmatic ways to compromise with them. Same with Kashani.
The Islamic Republic’s Nuclear Program
The fundamentalist regime’s clandestine nuclear program is NOT a nationalist cause. The fundamentalist regime’s nuclear program is part of its military program. In another blog, I will detail the military dimension of the fundamentalist regime’s nuke program. Lets suffice to mention only a few indicators here.
The fundamentalist regime’s nuclear program began in 1985-86. Why did the new regime in 1979 stop all the nuclear programs under the Shah? Why did fundamentalist regime in 1985-86 began its nuclear program?
WHAT SIGNIFICANT problem was occurring in 1985-86 the prompted Khomeini to order the clandestine nuclear program??????
During the war, Saddam was using chemical bombs and scuds. Moreover, Iraq’s own nuclear site at Osirak was bombed by Israel earlier. It is idiotic to think that under such war conditions in 1985-86 Khomeini started the nuclear program because he wanted to generate electricity with nuclear power plants in order to conserve crude oil and natural gas for exports. To have electricity generated by nuclear power, one has to have nuclear power plants. Saddam hit the Bushehr plant again and again. Nuclear power plants are huge and easily hit. In 1985-88 Iran was suffering under very bad economic conditions. WHY spend soooooo much on the clandestine nuclear program? To save money down the road or to build nuclear bomb?????
Iran could not build its own power plant. Much of the clandestine nuclear program of the fundamentalist regime is centered around uranium enrichment which is needed to build nuclear weapons. And much of the clandestine program was initiated with the held of A. Q. Khan, the same dude who build Pakistan’s nuclear WEAPON.
In my blog on the fundamentalist terrorist regime’s nuclear weapons program, I will detail other evidence. The above on how the terrorist regime began its nuclear program should be sufficient for any fair person to conclude that the program was to build nuclear BOMB. The above should be sufficient to show that the propaganda on the peaceful nuclear program is to fool the idiots. Hassan Rouhani, the Chief nuclear negotiator himself confessed that the EU3 had evidence that the fundamentalist terrorist regime has done many things that are illegal and that is why IRI had to lie to them because telling the truth to the EU3 would land the IRI to the UN Security Council.
In sum, Mossadegh’s oil nationalization struggle was a nationalist cause.
The fundamentalist regime is a terrorist regime. It wanted to export its reactionary revolution. The ruling gang are a bunch of mass murderers, mass torturers, mass rapists, and charlatans and liars. Ahmadinejad (and other fundamentalist officials) wanted nuclear enrichment as part of their desire to have nuclear bombs. The ruling fundamentalists are jihadis and allies of jihadis (Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinians Islamic Jihad, Moghtada Sadr’s gang, etc). Nuclear bombs in the hands of martyrdom seeking jihaids is putting the lives of 75 million Iranians and tens of millions of other human beings around the globe in jeopardy.
Of course Ahmadinejad and other leaders of the fundamentalist terrorist regime want to portray their nuclear jihadi work as similar to Mossadegh’s oil nationalization movement. We should NOT be fooled. Ahmadinejad and Khomeini and Khamenei are charlatans and liars who have a PROVEN history of LYING.
1. Those groups and individual with a political culture of PRINCIPLED pragmatism would increase the likelihood of transition to democracy in Iran.
2. Those groups and individuals with a political culture of hezb baad increase the likelihood of Iran remaining dictatorial.
3. Mossadegh and Ahmadinejad are NOT comparable. Mossadegh is a democrat, liberal, progressive. Ahmadinejad is a terrorist, dictatorial, reactionary, FASCISTIC, a top leader in the mass murdering, mass torturing, mass raping regime, violent expansionist jihadi.
4. The oil nationalization movement is NOT similar to the terrorist regime’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.
5. It is in the national interest of the Iranian people to overthrow the fundamentalist terrorist regime. It is in the interest of the Iranian people to have democracy. It is against the national interest of the Iranian people to be ruled by the ruling brutal reactionary dictatorship. The fundamentalist constitution is dictatorial and reactionary. Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are reactionary and dictatorial.
6. Appeasement of the terrorist regime allows it to easily sell crude oil and natural gas. This money directly goes into the hands of the terrorist regime. The regime uses this money to pay its coercive apparatuses (IRGC, Basij, Ministry of Intelligence torturers), its social base, and co-opt others to serve it. It is against the national interest of the Iranian people to promote appeasement of the terrorist regime, so that it could continue its brutal dictatorship. It is in the interest of the Iranian people to undermine the fundamentalist regime. Regime change (overthrow of the fundamentalist terrorist regime and establishment of a secular democratic republic) is in the interest of the Iranian people. The Islamic Republic is bad for the Iranian people. Appeasement of the Islamic Republic serves the rulers. Sanctions on the fundamentalist regimes weakens the terrorist regime, thus enabling and empowering the Iranian people, ourselves, to overthrow the ruling fundamentalist terrorist regime.