What is the “Iranian School”?

By: Bahman Aghai Diba

The close ally and relative of Ahmadinejad have been talking about what is called “Iranian School” (Maktab-e-Irani). Ever since Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie , used the expressions of “Iranian School” on several occasions, this has turned into a serious debate in various levels, up to the highest ranks of the clerics and state officials in Iran. The supporters of the idea have been accused of high treason and acting against the most important tenets of Islam and in turn, the supporters of the idea have accused its opponents of being narrow minded, and ignoring the life saving mechanism existing behind this notion for the troubled political system in Iran. The idea of “Iranian Republic” was first spread after the 2009 presidential elections and the some of the opponents of the Iranian regime asked for “Iranian Republic”. But the “Iranian School” is what Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, the Chief of Staff of Ahmadinejad talked about it for the first time in the gathering of the Iranians residing abroad in 2011. He said: “There are various approaches to the Islamic School and our approach to the essence of Iran and Islam is the Iranian School and we should try to introduce the Iranian School in the world.”His remarks provoked serious protests from some groups of clerics, and government officials, including several Principalists Majlis representatives in Iran.

– Mr. Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran and a presidential candidate, has said: “ the slogans such as “Iranian Republic” [Johurye Irani], and “Iranian School” are two examples of passiveness and backward-looking or reactionary thinking in the society…we love our country and we fight for safeguarding the homeland but the path of the Islamic revolution is not Iranian School…the Islamic Republic of Iran belongs to the Islamic School.” (http://radiozamaneh.com/print/news/irn/2011/02/10/1613)

– Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, the Head of Iranian Judiciary, referring to the “Iranian School” has said: “these kinds of claims are to the loss of our country…we are proud to be Iranian, but our dignity is from Islam and whatever we have is from Islam…the article 4 of the Iranian Constitution says that the regime is Islamic and Islam is dominant over all other principles.” (http://www.boursenews.ir/fa/pages/print.php.?cid=39012)

– Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, who was once known as the spiritual mentor of Ahmadinejad has said: “we want Islam and in this path, we do not bargain. Whoever deviates from Islam, we reject him.” (http://bamdadan.net/2010/08/12/)

– Major General Hassan Firoozabadi, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, in response to Mashaie’s remarks has said: “when you say Iranian School, it means that all other Islamic countries are separate from us. This is the disintegration of Islam.” He said that Mashaie’s remarks are examples of crimes against national security. He was complaining why the Judiciary did not take action against Mashaie. (In response, Mashaie threatened Firoozabai to filing a complaint against him. (http://bamdadan.net/2010/08/12/) The question comes to mind if the idea of Iranian School has so many strong opponents, how come the idea and its main supporter have managed to survive in a regime like the present system of Iran that does not tolerate even the mild reformists? The answer is in the fact that:

1- The idea carries a great deal of reality. The present combination of Islam ( Shiite 12 imamed) with certain political views such as Velayate Faghigh ( government of the supreme Mullah as the deputy of the Hidden Imam) is an Iranian innovation (fabrication if you like), and it does not exist anywhere in the world and it has never existed in any juncture of the Islamic Arabic or non-Arabic history. In fact, Shiitism is not genuinely a religion. It is a defense mechanism elaborated by Iranians to differ from the mainstream Arab dominated current of Islam. The Mullahs of Iran, whether they like it or not, are part of this game.

2- The combination of Islam and Iranian nationalism can be a new and effective engine for the regime of Iran which has lost its attractions for the people of Iran. The fabrications produced by demagogues like Ali Shariati about lofty ideals of Islam and its solutions for the present day problems of nations, have lost their appeal for the people of Iran. It simply does not work anymore.

3- The so-called “Iranian School” can be a life line thrown to the regime of Mullahs in Iran. Looking at the arguments presented by its supporters, some of the major tenets of the Iranian School are:

1- Islamic Republic of Iran is the motherland ( Ummul-quraa) of Islam

2- The true branch of Islam is the 12 Imam Shiite ( Shieye Ithna’ashariyeh)

3- The Supreme Leader is the central figure of the political system of Islam

4- Islam (with our interpretation) is destined to rule the world.

5- The Western liberal democracy is going to fall (just as the communism fell).

6- The only nation in the world that is the flag-bearer of the Hidden Imam is the nation of Iran It is clear that this version of Iranian School is not really intended to respect the identity of Iranians or recognizing the glorious history of this nation and revive the real sense of nationalism as opposed to the religious identity. This is an effort to misuse Iranian nationalism in favor of the Islamic regime imposed upon Iran by the Mullahs who have stolen the Iranian revolution. Ahmadinejad knows that the regime in general and Principalists in particular are unpopular. Iranian school can give Ahmadinejad and his group a good chance to stay away from the Principalists, while they are considered part of it, and at the same time to absorb some of the supporters of the Greens and even find a place at the heart of the silent majority.

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