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July 22, 2007

If Iran Says No, Count On Yes

Topics: Iran
"Speech has a different function [in Iran] than it does in the West. In the West, 80 percent of language is denotative. In Iran 80 percent is connotative.... In the West, 'yes' generally means yes. In Iran, 'yes' can mean yes, but it often means maybe or no.... It makes for bad political discourse. In political discourse people don't know what to trust." - Kian Tajbakhsh, a Tehran-based social scientist.
taqiyya_for_dummies_4.jpgGoing by the history of Iran's denials and promises for over 20 years, if Iran claims that it has no secret arms deal with Syria made in return for an agreement that Damascus would not hold peace talks with Israel, then we can damned well count on such a deal being, in fact, a fact!

Let's not forget that Iran "wrote the book," so to speak, on Taqiyya (religiously-sanctioned deception or dissimulation to conceal one's true intentions and beliefs), kitman (deception) and khod'eh (trickery or claiming one's true position by half-truths rather than outright lies or deception), and Taarof (a form of deception through diversion of meaning from the subject or issue under discussion). These are all well established deception techniques inherent in Iranian statecraft and nuclear negotiations with the Europeans and the United States.

And as for Iran's purpose, it's clear; a "clash of civilizations" is Iranian state doctrine:

In August 2005, President Ahmadinejad presented a 7,000-word manifesto to the Islamic majlis (parliament) which detailed his Government's "short- and long-term" plans. The document states that the region is heading for a "clash of civilizations" in which Iran represents Islam, and the U.S. carries the banner of a West that has forgotten God. Ahmadinejad presented the driving force behind Iran's policy as the belief that the decadent U.S., which is "in its last throes", is an ofuli (sunset) power, destined to be superseded by the tolu'ee (sunrise) power of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the developing multipolar world, other "sunset" powers include the European Union and other "sunrise" powers include China and India. But the most dynamic power will be Iran, the "core power" around which all Muslim powers will coalesce. Furthermore, he stressed, Iran is prepared to develop its nuclear programme regardless of the concerns of the "outside world". (29) Further, his policy is: "a jihad to reshape the world and ensure Islam's universal dominance".

[...] Dr Hassan Abbasi has emerged under Ahmadinejad with many roles in the Iranian national security apparatus: adviser in the Office of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, theoretician of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' intelligence and head of the Centre for Doctrinal Strategic Studies. He is popularly referred to as "Iran's Dr Kissinger" and is a leader of the newly-formed "Brigade of the Shahids of the Global Islamic Awakening". Most significantly, he is a key advisor to President Ahmadinejad.

In June 2004, addressing the Gathering of Seekers of Martyrdom in Tehran, Abbasi stated:

"If it is possible to cast terror into the hearts and lives of
infidels ... and the enemies of Islam, which is in fact possible, then
this terror is holy terror.... Until we destroy liberal democracy,
there will be no possibility for the Appearance (of the 12th Shi'ite

"[H]istory is nothing except human (endeavor) to sacrifice this body
for God. Martyrdom has a road called Jihad.... Jihad is more important
than prayer, than pilgrimage, than fasting."


In June 2006, Abbasi addressed the increasingly popular strategy of "waiting Bush out". Addressing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Baseej Mustafadin (Mobilisation of the Dispossessed) officers, he referred to his "dream" of a recurring image of U.S. helicopters carrying the last of the "fleeing Americans" forced from the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) "by the Army of Mohamed".

Abbasi's believes the U.S. cannot wage protracted warfare as it lacks one of Iran's greatest assets--patience. He says: "The Americans are impatient. At the first sight of a setback, they run away. We, however, know how to be patient. We have been weaving carpets for thousands of years."

[...] Ahmadinejad's motivations can be summarized in a single word: mahdaviat, that is, "belief in and efforts to prepare for the Mahdi". The Mahdi is, according to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the long-prophesied Islamic messiah destined to be "the restorer of religion and justice who will rule before the end of the world". A member of the family of the Prophet, the Mahdi is otherwise known as the 12th and last of the Imams, or the Hidden Imam. Shi'ite tradition claims that this mystical figure, as a child in the year 941, disappeared or "occulted" to another plane of existence, but is destined to return at the end of time and reign for seven years before bringing final judgement and the end of the world.
As I first noted above, we can always count on the fact that regardless of what Iran says or promises, we'd better count on the fact that it indeed means the opposite is true. To think or base our strategies on what Iran says or promises, will only lead to our demise. We must never forget that, "The imperative injunction in relation to Iran must therefore be: do not trust, but verify"!

Important related reading - Iran and deception modalities: the reach of taqiyya, kitman, khod'eh and taarof.

Posted by Richard at July 22, 2007 9:25 AM

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