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Fascism, this time a religious one

There are many different interpretations of the Iranian regime. Some believe that the power in hands of the Mullahs is just another model of dictatorship in the shape of cleric rules. Some think that they are just another version of a theocracy like the Taliban in Afghanistan. Some analysts go further and name the Iranian authority as a fascist regime. But in reality, the Iranian regime is different from all of these models that have been practiced by different regimes throughout history. In the 21st century, the world is facing fascism, this time a uniquely religious one.

The Islamic regime in Iran is different from a customary dictatorship because its function is beyond a regular totalitarian authority. In addition to suppression, torture and execution of political prisoners, the accepted methods by which a dictatorship stays in power, prisoner in their custody must listen to the blaring sound of the Quran and practice the Islamic sharia at all times. The psychological torture of these prisoners by Islamic rules and practices destroy their resistance and in some cases drives them to permanent mental illness. These aggressions are not just limited to prisoners. The regime takes caskets and dead bodies to universities and Government job sites and buries them in order to remind people that these unknown martyrs were killed for the sake of Islam and nobody should forget them and have an easy life. The regime tries to enforce the culture of death in all aspects of people’s lives for the sake of pushing its own ambitions. In addition to suppressing NGOs like all other dictatorships, the religious fascism creates its own religious NGO just to change the concept of NGO and fight other ones. This regime scratches the society’s nervous system by institutionalizing the culture of death, the Quran sound and its religious practices in order to push forward their agendas.

This regime is different from a theocracy like the Taliban in Afghanistan because the clerics utilize a different set of tactics. For many historical and religious reasons (Shia), the Iranian ruling system has shown more flexibility than their former counterparts, the Taliban in Afghanistan or Ekhvan-a-l- moslemin in Egypt and others in the Middle East. Here, flexibility does not suggest tolerance but pragmatism and deception for the purpose of reaching its goals. This regime, unlike the Taliban, is willing to do anything from negotiating with the United States (“the great Satan”) to exploding Shias’ holy sites just to stay in power. The Taliban, in contrast, was a historically conventional religious dictatorship that did not encompass any surprises. The Taliban had a predictable theocratic behavior that would implement the Islamic Sharia, practices such as severing hands and feet, public hangings, and forcefully putting bags on women’s heads and forcing men to grow a beard. But in contrast, religious fascism in Iran is built entirely on the element of surprise. They even carry out practices that are against their own beliefs and often do not do what that one would expect, including their political policies or religious verdicts.

The religious fascism in Iran is different from classic models of fascist regimes. The classic type of fascism relies heavily on the nationalistic and chauvinistic commotion of people or the suppressed nostalgic history of the homeland whereas religious fascism takes advantage of people’s religious beliefs and passions. Using religious zeal is much more dangerous than patriotic. In a national and chauvinistic political system, leaders have to use down-to-earth arguments and logic in order to encourage and provoke their followers to go beyond what they normally would. But in a religious fascism, there is no need for logic or scientific empiricism. These so called spiritual leaders have the simple task of storytelling from their holy books. In their world of deceptions, shams, and tricking, messages come from a supernatural force only to religious leaders and disobeying of those messages and decry sends other believers to hell, side by side with the infidels. The mission of deploying suicide bombers for religious fascism is much easier than those in classic type of fascism. Religious fascism needs only a ritualistic ceremony that influences a believer’s mental balance.

 In terms of suppressing the society, religious fascism is much more challenging than a classic fascist regime. If, for example, a Nazi would execute dissidents and create a holocaust, religious fascists eliminate virtually everyone who is on their way. A cleric’s blade does not slash only a Bahai’s throat but purges Shia, Christians, Jews, Kurds, Arabs, and Balouch. There are no exceptions and no insiders. If the classic type of fascism spies on people at work place, universities, or other public places, religious fascism makes school kids spy to report on their parents’ bedrooms to the authorities.

The similarity of both types of fascism is the reliance on intimidation and the conquering other countries. Both types are after nuclear weapons to gain an upper hand for their future wars. But religious fascism does not repeat the Nazi regime’s mistake. Unlike under Hitler, this regime will not commence their expansion of Islamic fundamentalism to other countries before accessing to atomic bomb. The atomic bomb is a vital element and a must have for religious fascism in Iran to move toward its goals. Before that time, this religious fascism only supports terrorist groups in the region and throughout the world and is preparing for its ultimate goal.

Dangers and catastrophes that this regime in Iran can create for humanity are immense. The victims will not only include the Iranian people who have suffered in the past 27 years. These catastrophes, compared to what happened in World War II, will be more destructive and will apply to all nations and all people around the world.

What needs to be done?

After analyzing the actual nature of the Iranian regime, the question arises: “what needs to be done?” It is vital to recognize its true nature because Iranian opposition groups are misled into taking the wrong steps if they see only the surface and not the systematic religious fascism in power. It is easy to make a mistake and provide the wrong response by opposition forces. If this regime was a normal dictatorship or regular type of religious fundamentalism government like the Taliban, perhaps the opposition groups’ struggle would have lead to a regime change or at least some reforms in Iran in the past two decades.

Another problem that might interfere with the answer to the question of what needs to be done is utilizing the older method of recognizing the true nature of this regime. Opposition groups that seem to know its true nature behave so unrealistically, in action, that it is as if they were ignoring the persons whom they were confronting. Also, the right answer cannot necessarily be foreseen for the right problem. The right solution needs the right approach after careful analysis and deliberation.

Now, in order to find a solution, one needs to assume some facts in advance. To answer the question of what needs to be done, the assumption of dealing with a religious fascism is already accepted. Not being on the same page with this issue will not take us anywhere. If one believes that naming the Iranian regime as a fascistic type of authority is an exaggeration, there is a huge disparity in views that should be resolved in order to find the right answer to the question. For example, one of the facts in our discussion is: if we are facing a religious fascism, then the regime’s goal is unquestionably that of possessing the atomic bomb through uranium enrichment. Here, the result, which is reaching the capacity of having nuclear weaponry, is not concluded by other arguments such as having the nuclear project kept secret by the regime, or finding the higher percentage of enrichment on centrifuge equipments by IAEA, or contradictions and confessions of senior leaders about the issue. These kinds of arguments are for those who still have doubts about Iranian regime intention in their nuclear venture. But, here, the fact is simple: if the nature of the Iranian regime is a religious fascism, therefore, the clerics will attempt to acquire the atomic bomb in order to extend their Islamic fundamentalism throughout the region and perhaps the rest of the world, by employing their nuclear power. So, with this premises, I offer my answer to the question of what needs to be done.

The anti-religious fascism front

One issue that has been proven the hard way in the past is that it is impossible to confront religious fascism on an individual basis and without assistance. History has shown that until all of the anti Nazi forces were gathered in a coordinated front, they could not defeat the fascists. On the contrary, this delay in collaboration among anti-Hitler force, gave Nazis the chance to make such catastrophic events that registered in history.  It is erroneous if an organization, a party, or a group believes that it alone can confront religious fascism. This is also true for foreign countries that presume that without any Iranian opposition there can still be a solution to these problems. It’s not coincidental that most of the opposition groups were launched due to the necessity of cooperation and coalition in their efforts in confronting this regime. It is good, but not good enough. Even full cooperation among Iranian opposition groups, which is the first step that has not been taken thus far, is not enough. Since the religious fascism will not be limited to inside Iran’s boundaries, the problem is both regional and global. Religious fascism cannot be defeated unless maximum forces, both Iranian and international, are gathered in a common, united front. The only way to confront religious fascism is by utilizing all the resources at our disposal, because this religious model of fascism is more dangerous and menacing than its counterpart, the classical model of fascism. It is important to note that exaggerations here are not used to better or prove an argument against the regime. This is a reality that, if ignored, will produce a catastrophic burden that would surpass any in past century. Without a doubt, if, in the beginning, all anti- Nazi forces would not have hesitated confronting Hitler in WWII, the cost in human life would have been far lower. We are currently witnessing the same mistake by western countries in dealing with the Iranian regime. For years, the west has thought that they can modify the Iranian regime’s behavior or encourage the regime to end supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East, or give up their nuclear ambitions. The European countries disappeared after economic deals and ignored consistent human rights violations.  It is understandable from their point of view, but there is no justification for the big swing from the Warren Christopher policy to the Madeline Albright policy of appeasement during the second period of Clinton administration. As a result now, the entire world is anxiously looking for a solution to an emergency situation.

The characteristic of an anti-religious fascism front

One of the most prominent characteristics of an anti-religious fascism front is the lack of limitation in which maximum expansion is possible. There should be no restraint on anyone or any group, Iranian or international, that opposes religious fascism for any reason. For the Iranian opposition groups, the issue of an alternative government should be deferred until after the collapse of the current regime. Any issue other than how to overthrow the current regime of Iran, must be avoided. Of course, those forces and groups enter into the front that desires the expulsion of the current regime. At this moment, the discussion about the different proposals that can be suited for the type of a true Republic cannot yet solve the problem of the existence of the current regime. The religious fascism gets its support from certain countries and utilizes that support to their fullest advantage. There are some neo-fascists and ultra-right wing racist groups among these supporters. The anti-religious fascism front can also employ all internal resources and support around the world to confront its opponents.

It is impossible to desire the expulsion of the Iranian regime and take no position or a soft position on the current issue of Iranian nuclear stand off with the west. If we are on the side that wants the regime to stop its uranium enrichment, there is no middle position. These positions give a mixed message to the Iranian people and strengthen the regime’s argument that uranium enrichment is, in fact, in Iran’s national interest. There is no center position on the issue of the enrichment of uranium. Either we, as Iranian opposition groups, are against uranium enrichment, or for it. Saying that there exists a right for the regime to enrich uranium, only encourages religious fascism to pursue its goals.

Anti- religious fascism front position on religion and Islam

Since Islam is the main tool for religious fascism to spread in Islamic societies, it is very important to see how an anti-religious fascism front takes its position on religion and Islam in particular. The position should be neither anti religion, nor religious. Secularism is the best stand. Assuming that the majority of people in Iran are Muslim, and at the same time, are against the regime, we can assume that much of the population has reached this conclusion: that although the majority of the people still believe in Islam, the interference of religion with government policies are dangerous. There is no official consensus or scientific statistics through ballet or real election, but the rough consensus in totalitarian societies is measured by the quantity and intensity of public protests by the people, the level and intensity of suppression by the regime, and the number of political prisoners and those who are executed for their beliefs. So far, this regime rejects all calls by opposition forces to hold a free election under the supervision of the United Nations.

In the case of participating religious groups that oppose the Iranian regime in the front (no matter how large or popular they are), there should be no sign of religious campaign in order to contest with the regime to win Muslim attention. These messages imply confusion within the front and, therefore, confuse people. On the other hand, any anti- Islam misinformation only gives fuel to the religious fascism’s propaganda machine to alarm its believers. Those who think that they are fighting the Islamic Republic by insulting the prophet and the Shias’ Imams are, in fact, only serving religious fascism.

Conclusion:

The Islamic Republic as a religious fascism regime is an immediate threat to the Iranian people, Middle East, and the world as a whole. This regime is not a simple dictatorship or theocracy. This regime has proven its capability and superiority over other totalitarian regimes by overcoming many crises. By using religion and Islam, it gives religious fascism better and more effective ammunition to reach its goals compare to classic type of fascism. The regime needs the atomic bomb in order to expand its influence. There will be no hesitation to use the bomb as a threat or for psychological war, if they reach the capability to develop nuclear weapons. The attainment of nuclear power is when the blatant aggression begins. The anti-religious fascism front must be created in order to confront this threat. All Iranian and international forces should take part in this front. There should be no limitation for any participation in the front. Secularism is the best position with having religious groups taking part in the front. It is a task for Iranian opposition groups to be placed in the leadership of a harmonized international effort for regime change in Iran to prevent more catastrophic situations like military intervention. Let’s puts our differences and doubts aside and start creating a front against religious fascism in Iran.

Kayvan Kaboli

Green Party of Iran Spokesperson

3/20/2006

kayvan@iran-e-sabz.org