by Zafar Bangash (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 49, No. 12, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1442)
No country has faced greater challenges and unremitting hostility in recent history than the Islamic Republic of Iran. In its 42-year existence, it has faced internal sabotage, a campaign of assassinations of its leading figures and a US-Arabian-Western-backed war of aggression that lasted eight years (1980-1988). It has also been subjected to decades of illegal sanctions led by the US.
Sanctions have caused massive suffering for its people. This constitutes a war crime and crime against humanity. Despite such pressure, Islamic Iran remains unbowed.
Any other country would have collapsed long ago. Not so the Islamic Republic. What accounts for its resilience—indeed survival and progress—in the face of such relentless pressure?
To answer this question, one must understand the underlying principles and philosophy of the Islamic revolution. In one word, it is Islam. This needs elaboration. Most people including many Muslims make the fundamental error by assuming that Islam is like any other religion. As long as the rituals are performed, one has done one’s duty. Islam is not religion as understood in the conventional sense. In the Qur’an Allah (swt) describes it as deen—a comprehensive way of life that encompasses all aspects of life whether social, cultural, political or economic (3:19; 5:03).
Islam lays great emphasis on social justice and commands its adherents to stand up against all forms of injustice and oppression (3:18; 5:08). This is what terrifies the demonic powers and their agents that rule the world today. Those that stand up against them in support of the oppressed and the downtrodden (the Qur’an refers to them as mustadafeen) are vilified. In most cases, they are attacked and no means are spared to destroy their societies.
This is what has been attempted against the Islamic Republic since the first day of the victory of the Islamic revolution. The people of Iran led by Imam Khomeini (ra) not only overthrew the Shah—a US puppet—but also embarked on a course to make the country totally independent of the oppressive and exploitative policies of all tyrannical powers, especially the US. This was considered a cardinal sin and Iran could not be allowed to break the chains of slavery otherwise people elsewhere would get inspiration from its example and seek genuine freedom.
Soon after the victory of the Islamic revolution, a campaign of assassinations of leading figures was launched. The Western-backed Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist outfit that quickly earned the epithet, the munafiqeen, spearheaded this campaign. It targeted ulama, academics, intellectuals, ministers, the president and prime minister and many others. Some 1200 leading figures were martyred in the first few years.
The Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei who was serving as the Imam’s representative on the Defense Council in 1981, was also the target of an assassination attempt but miraculously survived. A bomb planted in a tape recorder was placed on the podium when he was delivering a speech at the Abuzar Mosque in Tehran on June 27, 1981. He suffered serious burns to his face and arms and damage to his vocal cords and lungs.
“The right side of his body was full of shrapnel and pieces of radio. A part of his chest had been completely burned. His right hand was swollen and wouldn’t function any longer. The bones in his shoulders and chest could easily be seen.” He lost the use of his right hand but with the help of Allah, survived after being close to death.
A day later, a massive bomb destroyed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party that resulted in the loss of 72 leading figures of the revolution including the chief justice Ayatullah Beheshti, five other ministers and several members of parliament.
Then on August 30, 1981, another bomb assassinated Iran’s President Mohammad Ali Rajai, Prime Minister Mohammad Bahonar and another person. Th bomb was planted by the MKO terrorists in the prime minister’s office where a meeting was underway.
The Western-backed MKO terrorists have not hesitated taking their murderous campaign into foreign countries either. Iranian embassies in London, other European countries and even in Ottawa were attacked. On April 5, 1992, the MKO terrorists stormed the Iranian embassy in Ottawa by using ladders to climb through the embassy windows. Once inside, they not only smashed equipment but also attacked the Iranian ambassador breaking his arm.
Despite such a gory record, Western regimes starting with the European Union but also the US, Canada and Japan removed the group from their list of terrorist organizations. Instead, leading US figures among them such notorious racists as John Bolton (former National Security Advisor to Donald Trump) and Rudy Giuliani (Trump’s personal lawyer) have attended MKO meetings and spoken for hefty fees (For the record, Trump is refusing to pay Giuliani’s legal fees over the election fraud claims!).
Writing in Politico, the US web news portal, former ambassador Daniel Benjamin wrote on November 23, 2016 that “Giuliani took money from a group that killed Americans. Does Trump care?” Trump had just won the presidential election in a surprise outcome. Benjamin names many others on the take from the MKO terrorists including Bolton!
Th MKO terrorists had throughout the 1980-1988 Iraqi war of aggression against Iran sided with the regime of Saddam Hussein. They were, therefore, guilty of treason and deserved to be punished. The Western regimes’ embrace of MKO terrorists clearly show their malevolent intent.
The West’s hatred is also visible in the raft of illegal sanctions that have greatly affected Iran’s economy. While technically imposed by the US, other Western regimes—Britain, France, Germany et al—have also followed them despite the fact that under the 2015 nuclear deal, all such sanctions were to be lifted and Iran allowed to conduct normal business. When it comes Islam and Islamic self-determination, the mustakbireen (arrogant powers) are one.
Sanctions are one dimension of the West’s assault on Islamic Iran. There has been a systematic campaign of assassinations of its nuclear scientists, the latest of which was the November 27, 2020 assassination of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Both Zionist Israel and their MKO allies were involved in this and other dastardly crimes. At the beginning of 2020 (January 3) Iran’s top general, Qassem Solaimani was assassinated in a US drone strike as he arrived at Baghdad airport on a diplomatic mission at the invitation of the Iraqi prime minister. This was a war crime for which Trump and his accomplices will be held accountable.
All these acts of terrorism, whether carried out by groups or states, have had one specific purpose: to undermine the Islamic Republic and bring about its collapse. Far from achieving their nefarious agenda, the Islamic Republic has withstood its ground. True, the Iranian people have suffered greatly as a result of sanctions and other terrorists acts but aware that theirs is a higher calling, this is a price they have willingly paid.
Instead, Islamic Iran has made great progress, both at home and abroad. In matters of defence, it has become virtually self-sufficient. It has also made impressive gains in missile and drone technology. Tehran has shared such technology with resistance movements in Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen enabling them to defend themselves against external aggressors.
Such achievements should be celebrated by Muslims everywhere but regrettably, some Muslims have fallen for the vicious propaganda of Western, Zionist and Arabian media outlets. This has resulted in Muslim hostility toward the only success story in the Muslim world in the last century.
To such Muslims we say this. If the Islamic Republic were to collapse (may Allah forbid this), Muslims would not be able to raise their heads again for another century. Would this serve the interests of Muslims anywhere?