Islamic Iran’s resistance economy and culture

Developing Just Leadership

Tahir Mustafa

Jumada' al-Akhirah 01, 1435 2014-04-01

News & Analysis

by Tahir Mustafa (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 43, No. 2, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1435)

While the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 continue, the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei has called upon officials and people to continue on the path of the resistance economy as well as safeguard their Islamic cultural values against Western onslaught.

Despite optimistic reports emanating from Vienna about Iran’s nuclear talks with the P5+1, the Islamic Republic is not banking on their outcome for economic and political relief. While the sanctions imposed on Islamic Iran are illegitimate, in the current global environment dominated by imperialists and Zionists, fair dealings cannot be expected from the world’s oppressive powers. Thus, the leadership of the Islamic Republic has repeatedly stressed that the country must strive to stand on its own feet.

As part of this program, the Rahbar, Seyyed Ali Khamenei has consistently reminded officials that they must embark on a “resistance economy” to overcome any difficulties. In this year’s message delivered on the eve of Nowruz, the new Iranian solar calendar year, the Rahbar again stressed that the country’s economic and political policies should take precedence and that reliance on oil income should be minimized. Addressing hundreds of thousands of people in Mashhad on March 20, the Rahbar announced the new Iranian year of 1393 as “The year of economy and culture with national determination and jihadi management.” Last year was named, “The year of political and economic epic,” stressing the importance of economic independence.

In addition to continuing with the resistance economy, the Rahbar also emphasized the importance of culture this year. Resistance economy means an economic plan that utilizes Iran’s intellectual potential as well as domestic production capacity to reduce the country’s vulnerability to sanctions and external factors. As a result of Western sanctions that undoubtedly have caused difficulties in some areas such as lack of medicines for critical healthcare, Iran has made enormous strides in many other fields and has achieved remarkable breakthroughs in numerous scientific arenas.

Iran’s scientists and engineers are world renowned. Given their aptitude in math (Iranian students consistently do better than students from other countries in electrical engineering and computer sciences), they have made great strides in math-related technology. This covers essentially all scientific fields and can serve as a great export resource. Not surprisingly, Iran is one of the few countries in the world — and the only Muslim country — to have put its own satellite into space. Similar strides have been made in missile and drone technology (the successful overpowering of America’s drone by Iranian scientists in December 2011 is one such example).

Describing the US-led sanctions against Iran as ineffective, Imam Khamenei said that only a resistance economy will thwart the enemy’s plots. He had made the same point in a meeting with members of Iran’s Assembly of Experts on March 6. He told them that the existing consensus among Iranian officials regarding the implementation of the resistance economy heralds the fact that the “resistance economy will overcome the sanctions and the enemies’ ploys.”

The Rahbar said, “The enemy, bearing deep-seated grudge [against Iran], is incapable of confronting the Islamic establishment and the Iranian millat (Ummah) and due to this inability, it has resorted to sanctions. They themselves know well, however, that the tool of sanctions has been ineffective since the outset of the [1979 Islamic] Revolution.” Alluding to the verbal threats of military action against Iran by US officials was also indicative of the ineffectiveness of these sanctions, said the Rahbar.

Equally important is the arena of culture. In fact, it is even more important than the economy because cultural penetration of societies is a more subtle form of influence. Given the hedonistic culture of the US and the West in general, its influence that appeals to base instincts, is all pervasive. Despite claiming to be free, Western societies are totally monitored and controlled. From where they go, what they eat and what form of payment they use, the government and its various agencies monitor everything. While individuals are closely monitored, they are given virtually total freedom when it comes to sexual mores. Thus, every kind of behaviour is permissible. With religion out the window, human lust has gripped society. Such base instincts appeal to some people and set them on a course that leads to sexual anarchy.

An Islamic society is governed by different sets of values and standards in which sexual anarchy has no place. It was to this aspect that the Rahbar drew the attention of officials and people of Iran. The Rahbar reminded his audience and the country at large since his speech was broadcast live on television throughout the country, “Culture is like the weather — whether we want to or not, we have to live it; therefore, whether it is clean or polluted, it will have different effects on society and the country.” Emphasizing the importance of culture, he said it impacts people’s “economic, social and political views; therefore, cultural beliefs cast a shadow over all other issues and is more important.”

The Rahbar asked Iranian officials to “be careful with sensitivity and alertness of the extremely dangerous cultural breaches and to perform their required and defensive duties.” It is at this level, that every society is vulnerable to the subtle influence and penetration of Western cultural traits and values. With television satellite dishes, the internet and other forms of communication, the West is able to breach the defensive walls of every society. The only protection against such negative influence is the inculcation of proper Islamic values among people. True, no society can be totally immune from hedonistic cultural influences but their impact can be minimized if officials are vigilant in their duties. Unfortunately not all officials in the Islamic Republic maintain this level of diligence. While referring to this, the Rahbar warned that it is important to “not ignore the enemy’s destructive activities of the last 35 years.”

He instructed officials confronting the various cultural breaches that they should not think they are infringing on people’s freedoms, because “freedom, as a great divine blessing, is completely different from carelessness, indifference and abandonment.” He used the example of someone using heroin and its destructive effects to demonstrate that freedom does not necessarily mean anyone could do whatever he wants. The Rahbar pointed out that while claiming to promote freedom, there are certain redlines that the West imposes rigidly. He gave the example of the Holocaust that cannot be debated or discussed in the West. “They stand firm on their redlines; then how can they have expectations that we ignore our redlines on our beliefs and the revolution of our country?”

“Entrusting cultural issues to the people does not negate the regulatory role and guidance of the administration,” the Rahbar had told officials of the High Council of the Cultural Revolution at a meeting in December 2013. Guarding a society’s cultural values is one of the most effective ways to safeguard it from external influences and penetration. This is even more important for an Islamic society like Iran that is under attack because it has maintained its independence over the last 35 years.

“Today, the enemies of the Iranian people are among the most notorious ones. At the international level, the US government is known as a violent and criminal player and a violator of human rights. Inside the US, it is known as a hypocritical, lying regime,” the Rahbar said, adding that the American people’s trust in their own government has slumped to the lowest level. “The arrogant front holds deep grudge against the people of Iran; and today, everybody can see the depth of the enemies’ grudge in the words that they utter,” Imam Khamenei said.

No effort should be spared by any Muslim society to safeguard its own cultural and social values so that the people can realize their true potential in an environment free from sabotage and destructive influences. Islamic Iran has been under constant threat ever since the revolution succeeded in overthrowing the US-backed dictatorship of the Shah. The level of hostility directed at the Islamic Republic has been unprecedented in contemporary history. Safeguarding cultural values would also safeguard the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

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