Iran: A Clash of Religion and Nationalism
by Amir Taheri
Asharq Al-Awsat (pan-Arab newspaper), 22-3-2013
Under the Pahlavi shahs who promoted a nationalist narrative, the adjective “Islamic” was quietly set aside in favor of “Iranian”. Official discourse presented “Iranian” as synonymous with excellent and sublime.Having seized power in 1979, the mullahs were uneasy about the words Iran and Iranian from the start. …
The Khomeinist sect tried to scrap Nowruz, the Iranian New Year and, for years, banned pre-Islamic Iranian names for new-born children. Khomeinists insisted on attaching the adjective “Islamic” to everything under the sun. Thus, we got “Islamic” physics, biology, mathematics, cuisine, and, more interestingly, even music and cinema…
The mullahs’ leftist allies shared their hatred of “Iran” because they, too, saw nationalism as an ideological threat. To Marxists, people should not be defined by national background but by class affiliation.