Throw shoes at me if you want to, but I have to admit that if there is at least one thing that the IRI has done cunningly correct is its policy of extending its economic ties to non-Muslim countries? Since its inception, the Islamic government of Iran has been building close economic and political associations with many different countries particularly with those with anti religious regimes and their subscription to communist agnostic ideology: China, Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela, for instance. Nine out of top ten of Iran’s trade partners are non-Muslim countries. For many of us, this may be hard to expect from a country whose governing system is strictly based on Islamic laws and traditions and is clearly in contrast with a strong denunciation of communism by the founding father of the IRI, Ayatollah Khomeini. He once said publically “we do not forge any kind of alliance with communists even for the purpose of toppling the Shah’s regime.” But, rhetoric is rhetoric and real life problems cannot be solved by slogans. I venture to argue that the IRI has followed a well-crafted ploy by extending its friendship to these countries. Potentially, such association could result in a win-win situation for IRI. It has not only gained economically but also these countries feel obligated to endorse the IRI theocratic ideology. If those nations benefit from trade with Iran, which they definably do, they most likely keep their mouths shut and raise no objection to the human right abuse and suppression of individuals’ freedom in Iran. In the meantime, such a strategy will enable the IRI to blend trade, foreign policy, and theology all together.
People who have strong economic stake in us will respect our beliefs and tolerate our behaviors and will never question them; they live and let us live. Lack of questioning will help the IRI to elude the threat of criticism and unaccountability. These countries also remain the supports of IRI when it comes to international conflicts or another sanction against Iran. It seems these gains are so valuable for the rulers of IRI. They have apparently outweighed the guilt of doing business with non-believers.
This is one area in which the IRI government has overcome its one sidedness and has been willing to extend its friendship to other nations, especially, to openly non-religious countries just for its own gains.
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