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Amir Taheri

Дата рождения: 9. Июнь 1942

Amir Taheri is an Iranian-born conservative author based in Europe. His writings focus on the Middle East affairs and topics related to Islamic terrorism. He has been the subject of many controversies involving fabrications in his writings, most notable of which was the 2006 Iranian sumptuary law controversy. He is the current Chairman of Gatestone Institute in Europe.

Цитаты Amir Taheri

„De Bellaigue is at pains to portray Mossadegh as — in the words of the jacket copy — “one of the first liberals of the Middle East, a man whose conception of liberty was as sophisticated as any in Europe or America.” But the trouble is, there is nothing in Mossadegh’s career — spanning half a century, as provincial governor, cabinet minister, and finally prime minister — to portray him as even remotely a lover of liberty. De Bellaigue quotes Mossadegh as saying that a trusted leader is “that person whose every word is accepted and followed by the people.” To which de Bellaigue adds: “His understanding of democracy would always be coloured by traditional ideas of Muslim leadership, whereby the community chooses a man of outstanding virtue and follows him wherever he takes them.” Word for word, that could have been the late Ayatollah Khomeini’s definition of a true leader. Mossadegh also made a habit of appearing in his street meetings with a copy of the Koran in hand. According to de Bellaigue, Mossadegh liked to say that “anyone forgetting Islam is base and dishonourable, and should be killed.” During his premiership, Mossadegh demonstrated his dictatorial tendency to the full: Not once did he hold a full meeting of the council of ministers, ignoring the constitutional rule of collective responsibility. He dissolved the senate, the second chamber of the Iranian parliament, and shut down the Majlis, the lower house. He suspended a general election before all the seats had been decided and chose to rule with absolute power. He disbanded the high council of national currency and dismissed the supreme court. During much of his tenure, Tehran lived under a curfew while hundreds of his opponents were imprisoned. Toward the end of his premiership, almost all of his friends and allies had broken with him. Some even wrote to the secretary general of the United Nations to intervene to end Mossadegh’s dictatorship. But was Mossadegh a man of the people, as de Bellaigue portrays him? Again, the author’s own account provides a different picture. A landowning prince and the great-great-grandson of a Qajar king, Mossadegh belonged to the so-called thousand families who owned Iran. He and all his children were able to undertake expensive studies in Switzerland and France. The children had French nannies and, when they fell sick, were sent to Paris or Geneva for treatment. (De Bellaigue even insinuates that Mossadegh might have had a French sweetheart, although that is improbable.) On the one occasion when Mossadegh was sent to internal exile, he took with him a whole retinue, including his cook… As a model of patriotism, too, Mossadegh is unconvincing. According to his own memoirs, at the end of his law studies in Switzerland, he had decided to stay there and acquire Swiss citizenship. He changed his mind when he was told that he would have to wait ten years for that privilege. At the same time, Farmanfarma secured a “good post” for him in Iran, tempting him back home.“

—  Amir Taheri

"Myths of Mossadegh" https://www.nationalreview.com/nrd/articles/302213/myths-mossadegh/page/0/1, National Review (June 25, 2012).

„Khamenei is not the first ruler of Iran with whom poets have run into trouble. For some 12 centuries poetry has been the Iranian people’s principal medium of expression. Iran may be the only country where not a single home is found without at least one book of poems. Initially, Persian poets had a hard time to define their place in society. The newly converted Islamic rulers suspected the poets of trying to revive the Zoroastrian faith to undermine the new religion. Clerics saw poets as people who wished to keep the Persian language alive and thus sabotage the ascent of Arabic as the new lingua franca. Without the early Persian poets, Iranians might have ended up like so many other nations in the Middle East who lost their native languages and became Arabic speakers. Early on, Persian poets developed a strategy to check the ardor of the rulers and the mullahs. They started every qasida with praise to God and Prophet followed by panegyric for the ruler of the day. Once those “obligations” were out of the way they would move on to the real themes of the poems they wished to compose. Everyone knew that there was some trick involved but everyone accepted the result because it was good. Despite that modus vivendi some poets did end up in prison or in exile while many others spent their lives in hardship if not poverty. However, poets were never put to the sword. The Khomeinist regime is the first in Iran’s history to have executed so many poets. Implicitly or explicitly, some rulers made it clear what the poet couldn’t write. But none ever dreamt of telling the poet what he should write. Khamenei is the first to try to dictate to poets, accusing them of “crime” and” betrayal” if they ignored his injunctions.“

—  Amir Taheri

When the Ayatollah Dictates Poetry http://www.aawsat.net/2015/07/article55344336/when-the-ayatollah-dictates-poetry, Ashraq Al-Awsat (Jul 11, 2015).

„As some of us noted before Saddam Hussein’s 2003 fall, banning the Ba’ath as such was a mistake – for, in a sense, the Ba’ath had also been a victim of Saddam’s savage rule. The Ba’ath, modeled on European fascist parties, was never a democratic movement. Yet, before Saddam turned it into an empty shell to be filled with his personality cult, it had been a genuine political movement, representing a significant segment of Iraqi opinion. It had started as a predominantly Shiite party seeking to downplay sectarianism by promoting pan-Arab ideas. Saddam turned it into a sectarian party, first dominated by the Arab Sunni minority and eventually by his Tikriti clan. The wisest course would’ve been to let those Ba’athists who had been purged, imprisoned and exiled under Saddam to reclaim their party and rebuild it with full respect for Iraq’s new democratic and pluralist political system. Those Ba’athists who committed crimes were known to all and could’ve been blacklisted and tried as individuals. The blanket ban suddenly transformed some 1.4 million civil servants, including tens of thousands of teachers and medical doctors and some half a million military personnel, into pariahs simply because they’d been nominal Ba’ath members. Yet most had joined simply to protect their careers under a brutal regime.“

—  Amir Taheri

"Iraq: Reconciling with the Ba'ath" http://nypost.com/2008/01/16/iraq-reconciling-with-the-baath/, New York Post (January 16, 2008).
New York Post

„Those who urge an alliance with Assad cite the example of Joseph Stalin, the Soviet despot who became an ally of Western democracies against Nazi Germany. I never liked historical comparisons and like this one even less. To start with, the Western democracies did not choose Stalin as an ally; he was thrusted upon them by the turn of events. When the Second World War started Stalin was an ally of Hitler thanks to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Soviet Union actively participated in the opening phase of the war by invading Poland from the east as the Germans came in from the West. Before that, Stalin had rendered Hitler a big service by eliminating thousands of Polish army officers in The Katyn massacre. Between September 1939 and June 1941, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Stalin was an objective ally of Hitler. Stalin switched sides when he had no choice if he wanted to save his skin. The situation in Syria today is different. There is no alliance of democracies which, thanks to Obama’s enigmatic behavior, lack any strategy in the Middle East. Unlike Stalin, Assad has not switched sides if only because there is no side to switch to. Assad regards ISIS as a tactical ally against other armed opposition groups. This is why Russia is now focusing its air strikes against non-ISIS armed groups opposed to Assad. More importantly, Assad has none of the things that Stalin had to offer the Allies. To start with Stalin could offer the vast expanse of territory controlled by the Soviet Union and capable of swallowing countless German divisions without belching. Field Marshal von Paulus’ one-million man invasion force was but a drop in the ocean of the Soviet landmass. In contrast, Assad has no territorial depth to offer. According to the Iranian General Hossein Hamadani, who was killed in Aleppo, Assad is in nominal control of around 20 percent of the country. Stalin also had an endless supply of cannon fodder, able to ship in millions from the depths of the Urals, Central Asia and Siberia. In contrast, Assad has publicly declared he is running out of soldiers, relying on Hezbollah cannon fodder sent to him by Tehran. If Assad has managed to hang on to part of Syria, it is partly because he has an air force while his opponents do not. But even that advantage has been subject to the law of diminishing returns. Four years of bombing defenseless villages and towns has not changed the balance of power in Assad’s favor. This may be why his Russian backers decided to come and do the bombing themselves. Before, the planes were Russian, the pilots Syrian. Now both planes and pilots are Russian, underlining Assad’s increasing irrelevance. Stalin’s other card, which Assad lacks, consisted of the USSR’s immense natural resources, especially the Azerbaijan oilfields which made sure the Soviet tanks could continue to roll without running out of petrol. Assad in contrast has lost control of Syria’s oilfields and is forced to buy supplies from ISIS or smugglers operating from Turkey. There are other differences between Stalin then and Assad now. Adulated as “the Father of the Nation” Stalin had the last word on all issues. Assad is not in that position. In fact, again according to the late Hamadani in his last interview published by Iranian media, what is left of the Syrian Ba’athist regime is run by a star chamber of shadowy characters who regard Assad as nothing but a figurehead.“

—  Amir Taheri

Opinion: No, Bashar Al-Assad is no Joseph Stalin http://english.aawsat.com/2015/10/article55345413/opinion-no-bashar-al-assad-is-no-joseph-stalin, Ashraq Al-Awsat (16 Oct, 2015).

„Poetry interprets the chaos of human life and tries to bestow meaning on it. Without imagination there could be no poetry; and imagination chained by ideology produces only propaganda.“

—  Amir Taheri

When the Ayatollah Dictates Poetry http://www.aawsat.net/2015/07/article55344336/when-the-ayatollah-dictates-poetry, Ashraq Al-Awsat (Jul 11, 2015).

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„Many Frenchmen see their society as drifting in uncertain waters without an anchor. They are concerned by increasingly powerless elected governments, distant bureaucrats who intervene in every aspect of people’s lives, and an economic system that promises much but delivers little. The advocates of Western decline claim that Europeans no longer believe in anything and are thus doomed to lose the fight against homegrown Islamists who passionately believe in the little they know of Islam. A note of comedy is injected into this tragedy by people like President Hollande who keep repeating that the terror attacks had “nothing to do with Islam.” Is Hollande an authority on what is and what is not Islam? Talking heads repeat ad nauseam that France is not at war against Islam. OK. However, part of Islam is certainly at war against France, and the rest of the civilized world, including a majority of Muslims across the globe. One’s enemy is not whom one wants him to be but whom he wants to be. The Charlie killers saw themselves as jihadis, and it is only in seeing them as such that one could start dealing with them in an effective way. In designating them as Islamists, one is not “at war against Islam.” Millions of French are expected to take part in marches across the country today to pay respect to the 17 people, including 10 journalists, who were killed in the attacks. There is going to be just one slogan: “We are all Charlie.” Do they believe it? The French would do well to remember that, once all is said and done, they still live in one of the few countries in the world where they can think and say what they like, a state of bliss a majority of Muslims across the globe could only dream of. And, the prophets of decline notwithstanding, that is something worth living and fighting for.“

—  Amir Taheri

What happens to Western values if no one stands up against Islam? http://nypost.com/2015/01/11/what-happens-to-western-values-if-no-one-stands-up-against-islam/, New York Post (January 11, 2015).
New York Post

„In Iran, no-one can ignore the tragic record of the revolution. Over the past three decades some six million Iranians have fled their homeland. The Iran-Iraq war claimed almost a million lives on both sides. During the first four years of the Khomeinist regime alone 22,000 people were executed, according to Amnesty International. Since then, the number of executions has topped 80,000. More than five million people have spent some time in prison, often on trumped-up charges. In terms of purchasing power parity, the average Iranian today is poorer than he was before the revolution. De-Khomeinization does not mean holding the late ayatollah solely responsible for all that Iran has suffered just as Robespierre, Stalin, Mao, and Fidel Castro shared the blame with others in their respective countries. However, there is ample evidence that Khomeini was the principal source of the key decisions that led to tragedy… Memoirs and interviews and articles by dozens of Khomeini’s former associates—including former Presidents Abol-Hassan Banisadr and Hashemi Rafsanjani and former Premier Mehdi Bazargan—make it clear that he was personally responsible for some of the new regime’s worst excesses. These include the disbanding of the national army, the repression of the traditional Shi’ite clergy, and the creation of an atmosphere of terror, with targeted assassinations at home and abroad. Khomeini has become a symbol of what went wrong with Iran’s wayward revolution. De-Khomeinization might not spell the end of Iran’s miseries just as de-Stalinization and de-Maoization initially produced only minimal results. However, no nation can plan its future without coming to terms with its past.“

—  Amir Taheri

"Opinion: Iran must confront its past to move forwards" http://www.aawsat.net/2015/02/article55341173, Ashraq Al-Awsat (February 6, 2015).

„It might come as a surprise to many, but the truth is that Islam today no longer has a living and evolving theology. In fact, with few exceptions, Islam’s last genuine theologians belong to the early part of the 19th century. Go to any mosque anywhere, whether it is in New York or Mecca, and you are more likely to hear a political sermon rather than a theological reflection. In the highly politicized version of Islam promoted by Da’esh, al Qaeda, the Khomeinists in Iran, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Boko Haram in Nigeria, God plays a cameo role at best. Deprived of its theological moorings, today’s Islam is a wayward vessel under the captaincy of ambitious adventurers leading it into sectarian feuds, wars and terrorism. Many, especially Muslims in Europe and North America, use it as a shibboleth defining identity and even ethnicity. A glance at Islam’s history in the past 200 years highlights the rapid fading of theologians. Today, Western scholars speak of Wahhabism as if that meant a theological school. In truth, Muhammad Abdul-Wahhabi was a political figure. His supposedly theological writings consist of nine pages denouncing worship at shrines of saints. Nineteenth-century “reformers” such as Jamaleddin Assadabadi and Rashid Rada were also more interested in politics than theology. The late Ayatollah Khomeini, sometimes regarded as a theologian, was in fact a politician wearing clerical costume. His grandson has collected more than 100,000 pages of his writings and speeches and poetry. Of these, only 11 pages, commenting on the first and shortest verse of the Koran, could be regarded as dabbling in theology, albeit not with great success.“

—  Amir Taheri

"The mad dream of a dead empire that unites Islamic rebels" http://nypost.com/2014/06/14/the-mad-dream-of-a-dead-empire-that-unites-islamic-rebels/, New York Post (June 14, 2014).
New York Post

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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