Exonerating the Iranian People

By Manda Zand Ervin

Source: Gatestone Institute

One aspect of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 that seems to have been overlooked is the history of Iranian-Jewish relations.

Since the Khomeinist power grab, the Iranian people have been paying a great price for the continuing hard-line inhumane practices and policies of the Shia clergy and their militant Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Iranians who live in Iran have been stripped of all their human and civil rights, while living in constant fear and substandard economic conditions — forced to accept the unacceptable.

The ones who have been lucky enough to flee their homeland have had to keep their heads down: as the result of the Islamist regime’s actions and policies, they have been labeled as terrorists.

Iranians, once proud of a heritage that made outstanding contributions to human civilization, are now forced to obscure their identity because of the actions of a kleptocratic collective of immoral men, who are holding Iran hostage.

In an unscientific, underground poll inside Iran, taken in 2005, the Iranian people, not the regime, overwhelmingly expressed their disapproval of the Iranian regime’s anti-Israel policies and belligerence. A large majority said that , despite the regime’s constant anti-Israel indoctrination, they felt no animosity toward Israel.

It may be too presumptuous to say that the first Zionist in recorded history was an Iranian of the Pars tribe. In the year 539 BCE, Cyrus the Great freed and returned 50,000 Jews from the Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem, and his proclamation of human rights, initiated in Jewish history, is referred to as the “return to Zion.”

Over the last 2500-plus years, despite what history has brought, the relationship between the Iranian people and the Jewish people has not only been one of friendship and respect, but one of support and protection of each other in times of need.

During Israel’s 1967 war, not only did Iran refuse to participate, despite outside pressures, it openly supported Israel.

Various historians have maintained that some Arabs never forgave the Shah of Iran for standing with Israel, and even spent millions of dollars financing Khomeini’s takeover from him.

The name “Persia” has also been subjected to a long and frustrating discussion. Many whose political ideologies demanded, have managed to twist facts to their advantage, camouflaging historical evidence.

As Cyrus the Great was from a Parsi tribe, the name “Persia” was given to the Iranian empire by the Greeks. The Iranian plateau was populated by the immigration of the Parsi, Persians in Greece, Meads, Toranians, Akadians, and many other tribes who all came from the Eurasian steppes and are called Indo-Europeans or Iranic people — 2400 years before Nietzsche and Hitler.

A short look into Iranian literature and history books clearly shows that Iran has been the only name Iranians have used for their country. In the very popular and famous Iranian book of mythology, Shahnameh, or The Book of Kings, 9th century, the only name used for the country is Iran. The book begins with the statement: “If Iran is not, I am not” — 1100 years before the European holocaust.

From 626 AD until 1924, Iran had been occupied first by Arabs, then by Mongols, then by Turks, then by Mongols again, followed by Turks again several times over.

During the last 500 years, the Shia clergy worked hand-in-hand with every occupier and invading horde to keep Iranians oppressed and deprived of their identity.

During the 19th and most of the 20th century, Iran endured Russian and British colonialism; so Iran per se, effectively did not exist, and what the Westerners called her became the fact.

In 1933 the new Iranian king, Reza Shah (a populist constitutional revolution soldier who challenged the authority of the Mullahs), challenged the British method of Iranian oil misappropriation: he declared that the British could no longer get away with taking Iranian oil without paying Iran its fair share.

When the allies occupied Iran in 1941 to support the Soviet Union from the back door, the British government used the occasion to oust the Iranian king by lying to President Roosevelt that he was a fascist Hitler sympathizer. Their proof was that he changed the name of the country from Persia to Iran, or “the land of Arians,” the race that the Nazis had chosen.

History, however, shows that Reza Shah was neither a fascist nor an anti-Semite. Unlike the Western world, the doors of Iran were open to all the Jewish refugees of East Europe, Russia, Iraq or any other country; my mother’s uncle married one of the polish refugees. The Iranian embassy in Paris even helped European Jews by giving them Iranian passports.

It is unfair to accuse an entire nation of sins they have never committed. In every society there are those whose political coercions cast a long shadow. Although since 1979, Iran and Iranians have been defined and identified by the posture of the Khomeinist cult — which has continued to be bolstered by various Western elites who continue feeding the Islamist crocodile — it is important to acknowledge and appreciate what was done right.