The day after

After IRI, what can hold Iran together?


The day after
by Arash Monzavi-Kia

Nothing lasts for ever, least unstable and dictatorial regimes. But what will be the central force to hold Iran together after the regime change? The majority (say 2/3 of population) hates the IRI; but to build something new, one needs love! What will be the cohesive force to establish a new order?

The human psyche is a mixed bag of hateful and compassionate emotions. We probably have evolved with that duality, in order to survive the ruthless life in the wild, as well as be able to gather and cooperate in groups. Shear individual force is what maintains the life of many simpler animals, but social ties and binding forces are needed for the more sophisticated species. No man is strong enough to win it all on his own, without cooperation, love and respect of a social support group.

Of course the most primal cohesive social forces come from love and family ties, which can then evolve into tribal loyalties. The warriors of each tribe can be heralded to fight and sacrifice for the higher good of their common survival, which is invariably formulated as a moral and religious duty. Worship of common tribal roots and past ancestors, who are immortalized in legends, leads to reverence for gods and the hatred of demons (the enemy tribes).

We can find fault with gods and religions as much as we want, but the fact remains that no human society has ever evolved without religiosity. A strict set of do’s and don’ts, a common belief in god(s) and a moral foundation has been the cornerstone of every society from the most primitive to the most sophisticated. Even the democratic and secular view of society has a religiously protected set of creeds (individual rights, private ownership and freedom of expression) which are indeed the evolved form of Protestant, Roman and Greek believes.

Without turning this piece into a protracted sociology term paper, let’s see what has kept Iran together in the past, and what can do the trick in the future. Even a cursory view of the past shows a strong religious belief in the core, with at least one god (good) and one demon (bad). God, through its prophets and priests told the people what to do (good behavior) and what to avoid. God (actually priests) also confirmed the ruler of the time, who was in charge of the warriors of the tribe or nation. National monarchy needed monotheism as a simple way to herald people’s faith and love; and the feeble priests needed the warrior kings to survive among the unruly brutes.

That simple social order was cyclically challenged through wars of succession, foreign invasions and indigenous uprisings. However, like a faithful circle of life, Iran as a nation has tumbled around, but been mostly ruled by the simple Warrior-Priest (WP) alliance throughout history. Dynasties, religions and tribes have come and gone, but the central premise stayed the same, until the 20th century.

Contemporary challenges to the ancient regime came from an understanding of the modern Western ways, and culminated into the Constitutional Revolution (1906), near abolition of monarchy (1925), Tudeh and National-Front movement (1952) and finally the 1979 revolution.

After the collapse of IRI, the following forces will try to build cohesive national or regional systems, by recruiting the young masses of society around their ideas and ideals. As currently IRI does not allow free expression of thoughts and flourishing of ideas, upon its collapse; it will again be a mad rush to fill the power vacuum and reach the top.

1. The Western minded democratic seculars, who are disorganized, with little cohesive support in Iran. What is the binding force that this group can use to muster the masses around its ideals? Will people understand them, love them and trust them? Can they translate their thoughts and expressions (say secularism) into the people’s language? Iran may eventually evolve into their path, but not immediately after the collapse of IRI.

2. The Monarchists: with the reverence for a select family who reportedly god had assigned as the true rulers of Iran. IRI has made their predecessors look real good now, but do they have the love, understanding and trust of people? Will the people of Tehran, Tabriz or Mashhad be able to bond with a group of LA based wealthy and vain monarchists?

3. The Marxists who come under numerous names and groups, typically each with less members than titles. They still cling to one version or the other of the discredited Marxist belief that we would all be better off, if the disposed (actually the Communist Party) rules the whole society with the iron fist of the dictatorship of proletariat. Any chance for them in the religious, trade-loving and conservative Iran?

4. The Islamist-Marxists: with their strong personality cult and legion of fearless mujahidin, who have tried to bridge the gap between socialism and Islam? They are certainly much more prepared than groups 1, 2 or 3; with more devoted supporters and much better organizational skills. But will the Iranians dare to experiment with their peculiar version of Shiaism, after 30 years of madness?

5. The reformists and the opportunists: who are already established in the 2nd tiers of Iran’s power structure? They benefit from the same religious base as IRI, have adopted many of the democratic slogans, and actually live and breathe in Iran. Their problem is timidity and hesitation, as they fear life after IRI, as much as they dislike its oppression. This group can initiate the collapse of system (like Gorbachev did to Soviets), but will probably lose the ultimate power struggle to a forceful populist (like Putin).

6. The ultra-nationalists who hate anything that reeks of ‘Arabs’ and Islam? They can offer a dreamy version of past glories; even align with the monarchists and seculars, on a negative platform of IRI cleansing. History shows that such groups can form an effective alliance around a ‘strong-man’ who can muster the underlying prejudices and prides of the masses toward a forceful take-over, especially during times of intense internal trouble.

7. The regional forces who seek independence and sovereignty, apart from the arrogant and oppressive Fars? After a painful collapse, they will surely have a fighting chance at least in the minority dominated provinces of Azerbaijan, Kurdistan and Khuzestan. Will their internal resources and perhaps foreign aid be enough to defend an independent territory? Will they be able to ally and even join the neighboring ‘states’ of the same ethnicity?

IRI has surely holed up Iran in an unpleasant, unbearable and unpredictable conundrum, which threatens its future, as this fascist regime nears the end of its pitiful existence. The winds of change are gaining power, shame that due to the relentless IRI oppression and propaganda; the Iranian people are mostly unprepared to realize the viable future choices for a democratic and prosperous country.


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more from Arash Monzavi-Kia

Are you guys blind?

by Anonymous Irooni (not verified) on

It seems to me that almost all you "professors" have missed the basic themes of this article, and instead are arguing if the persians ruled iran or the turks! Who cares?

All I want to know is: why the heck this guy thinks that IRI is gona fall soon?

Is he saying that the next regime in iran (like russia) will not be demcratic either?

Is he suggesting that there is a real chance that the country can break up?

Is he saying that our history has been mostly ruled and still is, by an alliance between ZOOR (pasdars) and TAZVIR (mullahs), and can be so in the future?

Grammatical errors? Who cares! What about historical errors?

Anonymous Observer

No Fars Overlords

by Anonymous Observer on

I agree with Parthian in that post-Islam, Iran has not had many so-Called “Persian” rulers.  In fact, the majority have been Turk and some Mongol and Arab, i.e., the Safavids, Afshars, Gaznavids, Ghajar, etc…

 So, the whole notion that there is some Persian dictatorship in Iran that somehow unites the country by force is misleading.  If anything, Iran has been the perfect example of relative peaceful coexistence of various ethnicities, religions and races for thousands of years.  There are surely extremist elements in Iran (such as that vile terrorist Abdelmalik Rigi), but the overwhelmning majority of Iranians are very tolerant people.  Most families in Iran (such as my own) have intermarried (without any regard to ethnic issues I may add).  Additionally, a great percentage of Iranians have resettled in various parts of the country that cannot be considered their ethnic birthplace.  Overall, the Iranian culture is a very inclusive one.  By contrast, one can look at other countries where different ethnicities live together, and one can see the atrocities, and ethnic cleansing which is almost entirely absent from Iran’s history. But unfortunately, recently, I personally have seen a lot of noise made by outside forces (I am not referring to this article) that try to stir up ethnic strife in Iran for their own self gain.  I do have hope in the intellect of Iranians in realizing who is behind these attempts, and seeing right through the façade


What Does This Article Say?!!!!

by God (not verified) on

I rarely leave comments on this site. However, after reading this piece I felt the need to do so. This is a very poorly written piece with many grammatical errors. I cannot figure out what it intends to say or the message that it tries to convey.

The one thing that I did get from this piece is that the author of this article is extremely biased against those he calls "Fars". Who are the oppressive "Fars"? Khamenei, who is a Turk?!! Shahroodi, with his Arab ancestry?!!!

I think that the people who run this site should show a little more discretion in posting articles on their site.


1. After IRI, what can hold Iran together?

by Faribors Maleknasri M.D. (not verified) on

2. Maybe Someday We will Get there
Answere 1: Imam mahdi (s).
Answere 2: as far as is kniown every iranian can get there anytime. Even those who have a second national identity and even who have lost their Iranian nationality. But what shall we do there? First of all we would have to visit Koran school. we will have tompay Zakat, khomze and so on. We will have to appear every friday to namaze jamaat. would we could we survy all these stresses? So please let us not may be someday we will get there, ok? , the better chances we have in saving the country? to give it over? to not any more soo great satan? Till then that dirty creature is hundred times dead. it lays allready in its death bed snapping its last drops of air. Greeting

Arash Monzavi-Kia

Dear Darius,

by Arash Monzavi-Kia on

Many thanks for your positive comment on the "Iran after IRI" piece. I find your call for SOLIDARITY very inspiring and appealing, and hope that the general readership will show a similar confidence in an all-encompassing thrust uniting the democratic opposition. Your video clips are such a thoughtful addition, which bring hope and joy to the Iranian hearts.

Arash M-K

Hamid Y. Javanbakht

Humanity in the Cosmic Era

by Hamid Y. Javanbakht on

I've never seen this show, but just to give us humans a hint of what to expect down the line, here's my work of quasi-fiction, not to be taken literally of course, just an instructive metaphor:

Over the next 50,000 years of evolution we'll see two camps of humans. Those who chose a spiritual path and lived in accordance with nature (Telos), and the others who become more integrated with the products of their own engineering (Techne). Eventually we'll populate separate parts of the galaxy, learning more about our roles and responsibility in the cosmos. Neither is better than the other really, just different paths, we are like rays of light passing through facets of a morphous diamond.  


Dr. Michio Kaku or Ray Kurzweil would be more characteristic of the Techne mentality, they don't really think of human life or consciousness as something to be held in reverence, but to be reverse-engineered and controlled. (I hate how he says when "we" physicists, as if they have a unanimous opinion on the subject.)



I don't know if any one group properly represents the other philosophy, however anyone who isn't interested in becoming a robot would probably fall into that category, however they could have to struggle for independence. 



So these ethnically centered middle-east conflicts are really quite simple, they are intended to concentrate power through polarization and various control tactics, until people are able to look past such artificial smoke screens as see what they share in common, they will continue to play into these war games.


True Iran is the one and only answer

by samsam1111 on

There is no ethnic solutions but only in the minds of Ommaties & their brainwashed proteges . Unity around true Iranic values , heritage & psyche . It matters not if you are of any ethnic group , you are an Iranian if you believe in & have respect for our sacred non-ommatist heritage & true Iranic values . I agree with Parthian,MRX1 points of view .



Parthian, Thanks

by Fatollah (not verified) on

Parthian! Thanks for speaking my mind!



by Kurdish Warrior (not verified) on

Your theory in terms of regional powers to seek independence is totally wrong. Eventhou there has been many incidents in those regions specially Kurdistan, I don't believe that majority of Iranian Kurds seek independence. However they all agree on one thing and thats federalism. Central government in regional matters are no longer valid nor works for the next regime. The only way to keep Iran together and away from destruction, is to have secular federal Iran.


Iran Eternal!

by Kurush (not verified) on

This ersatz essay smacks of the familiar platitudes of the pro-monarchist losers who in exile fabricate thoughts and ideas to beguile themselves with their cleverness and woes of exile, a sedative comfort of sorts, an opiate for the lost souls that they are. It ain't gonna happan, dear 'patriots'. It ain't. Get used to it & get over it! It may be of help to you to read the pro-czarist lietrature of the Russian exiles after the October 1917 Marxist-Leninist Revolution in Russia. Scattered throught the world from the plagued China to Istanbul, to the capitals of Europe, they whiled their days in the hopes of their Messiah & Saviour to liberate them form their wretched exile in foreign lands. It never happened. Communist Russia survived Hitler and the Cold war for 70 years. Long after the pro-czarist Russians had their bones buried 7 ft under. The smart thing would have been to reconcile themselves with the reality and to have returned to thier homeland to provide help peacefully and legally to their homeland. But losers are losers. The Islamic Republic will prosper because it does have the support of the majority of the Iranians who have steadfastly defended their Revolution through 7 years of Western imposed war and numerous western sanctions of all types and varieties as well as Western subversions & sabotage and psychological warfare. Would America be so conciliatory today, were it not for this patriotic steadfastness and resilence which the Isalmic Republic has demonstrated? Beguile your days pr-monarchist, Western stooges, who have chosen to betray your country, Iranian clones of Alawis and Chalabis!


Psuedo-intellectualism par excellence

by Rzrzrz (not verified) on

The writer of this article clearly knows nothing about Iran. The general trends within Iran are that their is a gradual evolution for a more pluralistic government. In regards to the 'ethnicity' factor, the majority of Iranians are, and have been mixed amongst the provinces of Iran. This article is just mind-numbingly bad.

Parthian are full of hate...

by Parthian on

I am not 100% "persian" whatever that term means, but you always have a way of sneaking a comment about those "arrogant Fars". Dude where have you been living in the past 1400 years? Of those years, how many year did Iran have a Persian ruler? There is no arrogant fars, there is arrogant Iranians(that includes anyone within that border). You sow the seeds of hate, and I have seen separatists elements in your writing. Get over it, what ever problem, and inferior complex you have to the "Persians", get over it, it is your perception. There is no 100% persians, just as there are no 100 percent kurds or turks in Iran. All Iran is suffering. Instead of labeling a nonexistant group as arrogant, look into the mirror and see true arrogance...



by shirazie (not verified) on

Culture or Lack of it (i.e USA) will hold us together.

Darius Kadivar

FYI/Iran arrests women's rights campaigner (AFP)

by Darius Kadivar on

Iran has arrested a women's rights activist involved in an award-winning campaign that seeks changes to laws deemed unfair to women, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

Security officials arrested Nafiseh Azad on Saturday in the Darakeh mountains north of Tehran while she was collecting signatures for the campaign's petition, the Sarmayeh newspaper said.

Iran arrests women's rights campaigner

Hamid Y. Javanbakht


by Hamid Y. Javanbakht on

Iran may actually come out stronger from the SW of this hypothetical Eurasian Federation, with the Russians incorporating the NW and NE, China/India the SE. The Saudis/Egyptians would be concerned with North Africa. Israel would either learn to become friendly with the Eurasians (including the Iranians), or they'll lose value for U.S./Western European interests. Free trade is the name of the game, what does that mean for everyday people? They'll get poorer over time, as the bankers/energy/war suppliers become more powerful...eventually people will need some type of spiritual guidance or religion to give meaning to their lives in a post-consumer world. Atheism, materialism, technetronics will give way to what I call " holopanentheism", "gyrotelostasis", and "isotelesis"...probably not gonna happen for another 250 years, we've got a lot of globalization to get out of our system, but eventually we'll see the science, humanities, arts, religion are intimately connected. In stead of a U.N. (United Nations), there could be a H.W.S. (Holistic World Synod), as we understand that we're actually living in an intersection of the 'holo'-verse (whole), not just a 'uni'-verse (one), alas, I have no realistic solution, just off-world rumination.


Hamid Y. Javanbakht


by Hamid Y. Javanbakht on

Let the Kurds and Azeris take Iran from the North, and divide lower Iraq for Sunni and Shias.

Ugly truth...or inevitable preference? Fascism always seems to fail. Allowing more diversity will make the region stronger. Counter-intuitive, but having less power in one place allows more power overall.

Holding the U.S. together will be it's own problem someday, look forward to a North American Union, at least in the sense of currency.





Darius Kadivar

An Iranian Solidarnosc Is the Only Way Out !

by Darius Kadivar on

Thanks You for this very Insightful article Arash Jaan.

It poses many true and unbiased question. I humbly believe that the Only answer out of this mess will be to initiate a civil mouvement and NOT a Political Party where ALL political sensitivities would find a ground for mutual action and cooperation. Something like Poland's Solidarnosc Mouvement that comprised people from all walks of life regardless of their social or educational backgrounds and in the process supported by Democratic forced both inside and outside their country.

As Odd as it may appear based on such a common platform and commitment to one another All Democrats and members of the civil society can find a common ground for cooperation while keeping their own ideals and even seperate Agenda's while finding common ground on the essential : Regime Change through Non Violent Civil Dissobedience.

Ironically Solidarnosc Founder Lech Walesa seems to have less trouble than us Iranians in conciling Odds :   

Iran's Shirine Ebadi and Poland's Lech Walesa

Iran's Farah Pahlavi and Poland's Lech Walesa

Why can't we also make that small effort and step towards UNITY be it for the sake of Iran's Civil Mouvement in the making.

Maybe if Monarchists, Secular Republicans, Human Rights Activists, Journalists, intellectuals, Artists any anyone in the Public Eye could set this example then an IRANIAN SOLIDARNOSC would not be JUST A UTOPIA ?

I as a Constitutional ( although not affiliated to a Party) find that however imperfect the WINDS OF CHANGE you refer to finds some coherence in the message of Reza Pahlavi :

Is RP the ideal Catalyst for this Change (if not like Lech Walesa at best like a Secular Pope that Accompanied the Solidarnosc Mouvement in the 80's towards a Democratic Transition in Poland) I don't know ? But what I do know is that this message has the credit of being non exclusive and a coherent blueprint for Unity and Change that summarizes the Historical and political and moral dillemas that we Iranians as a whole have been facing in the past 30 years ...

The Alternative of course is to continue distrusting one another and remaining impotent in the face of all opportunities that will be set upon us in the years to come and as a result see the victory of not the just and legitimate aspirations of Iranians for Democracy and Human Rights be it back in 1979 or  more sincerely d less ambiguously during the 1906 Constitutional Revolution but instead that of a religious dictatorial theocracy where the ideological corruption is as rampant as its betrayal of all that Iran has stood for in its entire history and cultural endeavors.

The Choice Truly depends on our behaviour today and our capacity to prove that we have learned from our mutual mistakes and differences in the past.


Abbas Milani:

Shirin Ebadi:

Azar Nafisi on VOA:

Azar NAfisi on BBC Newsnight report on Women's Day in Iran

Akbar Ganji and Abbas Milani:

Maybe Someday like Nazanin sings We will Get there :



what should hold

by MRX1 on

what should hold the country together is history, lanaguage and the culture. The longer IRI stays in power, the more damages are done to these charactrestics, which is why the sooner IRI is gone, the better chances we have in saving the country.