Monday, May 22, 2006

Iran is not and will never be Nazi Germany

Kash Kheirkhah

Amir Taheri's untrue article on the new dress code for religious minorities has once again been published, this time in the conservative NY Post.

As an Iranian who is unequivocally opposed to the diabolical regime in Iran and its inhumane policies, I wanna let all my foreign readers specially Jewish ones know one thing for sure: Iran is NOT Nazi Germany and will never become one even under the current hate-mongering leadership.

For centuries, Iran has been a safe haven for a wide range of ethnic and religious minorities, from Armenians who fled Turkey to Jews who have found solace in Iran for more than 2500 years.

As Doctor Abbas Milani, director of the Iranian studies program at Stanford University and a co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution, recently wrote in the International Herald Tribune:

"The Jewish feast of Purim celebrates the story of how Esther, queen to a Persian king, saved the Jews of the kingdom from annihilation. But along with the benevolence of Cyrus and the wisdom of Esther, there also lurked on the horizon the evil vizier, Haman of the race of Agog, whose mind and heart were darkened by rancor and hate.

Today, there sits in place of Cyrus one who has inherited not the magnanimity of Cyrus, but the malice of Haman: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who openly calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Even in the modern history of Iran, the two strands, one lofty and humane, the other base, have continued to thrive side by side. In 1941, as Hitler was beginning to put in motion his murderous final solution, the Iranian government convinced Nazi race experts that Iranian Jews had lived in Iran for 2,500 years, were fully assimilated members of the Persian nation and must be afforded all the rights of Iranian citizens.

The Nazis accepted the argument, and the lives of Iranian Jews residing in Europe were saved. Moreover, thousands of European Jews were saved when Iranian diplomats provided them with Iranian passports. And in the years after World War II, the Iranian government and people were exceedingly helpful - according to Israel's first ambassador to Iran - in facilitating the travel of hundreds of Iraqi Jews escaping persecution and heading for what was soon to be Israel. "

Now 27 years of theocratic despotism CAN NOT change what has existed in our hospitable culture for thousands of years . It’s true that since Ayatollahs' ascendance to power in 1979, tens of thousands of Jews have had to leave Iran, but by the same token MILLIONS of Iranians of other ethnic and religious backgrounds--majority of whom Shias-- have had to leave Iran too. It's not only the rights of Jews that are being trammeled by the current regime; it's the rights of every single Iranian, regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.

To let you know how a typical Iranian thinks of this issue, let me draw your attention to the following comment posted on my blog by a buddy of mine who is one of the million Iranians forced into exile:

"Everybody who knows me knows that there is nothing in this world that I hate more than mullahs in Iran but this story was not fair and true and i am very disappointed with mr Tahery who used to be my favorite journalist. So i say it here even if this law was passed in Iran, nobody could enforce such a stupid law in a Country like Iran which is the nation of lawlessness, unlike Canada or The West. I simply would like to mention that no matter what religion or gender u have in Iran, your basic rights are being violated on a daily basis. So There is not a united Muslim population who oppresses minorities in Iran but there is a minority of Mullahs who are repressing all Iranians including Muslims (Sunni, Shia, Sufis ..), Christians and of course Jews who are no exception."

That's why it's important for all you who follow Iran's developments these days to know there's no way the Iranian people can be compared to the Hitlerite crowd who supported Hitler and his crimes against humanity half a century ago. Once again as Dr Milani beautifully puts it:

"The captive people of Iran, or the millions forced into exile by the regime, must not be held responsible for the sins of the ruling cabal. Instead we must try to find ways to help the Iranian people achieve their hundred-year-old dream of democracy. Only in a genuine democracy can the spirit of Cyrus be truly celebrated and the shadow of Haman expunged. "