In 1979, after decades of oppression, people in Iran courageously stood up to the Shah dictatorship and demonstrated power of the people by toppling him. But their hopes of freedom were soon crushed when Khomeini was able to deceive them with false promises to establish a bloody reign of terror, based on a state principle called velayat-e-faqih.
We must not be deceived by media outlets, which try to compare Iran’s state principle to other countries in the region. Velayat-e-faqih means that the faqih, a so-called Islamic jurist, is the custodian of all Muslims until the missing 12th Imam Mahdi reappears. By nature, he must rule not only people in Iran but Muslims all over the world and has the divine duty to give global fatwas and intervene into other nations to “free” them. This is manifested in the preamble of the Iranian constitution of 1979 when it says: “[T]he Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) […] will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country, but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God’s way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God’s law throughout the world”.
We can see here that one main goal of IRGC is the export of “revolution” into other countries. There can never be peace as long as the whole world has been taken over by Iran’s fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. Therefore, we see that the IRGC is meddling in different countries in the region. No other country has a similar state form as Iran with the exception of ISIS. By nature these two ideologies are similar with the difference that Iran claims to be “Shiite” while ISIS claiming to be “Sunni”. The Saudi Crown Prince therefore has every reason to say that dialogue with such a regime is impossible.
These interpretations counter the main principles of Islam which means submission and roots in the very Arabic word peace. When we take a look at the biography of Prophet Mohammad, he was always aiming to achieve peace treaties even if disadvantaging Muslims. It’s worth mentioning that Allah sent him an Ayah for victory (Quran 48:1) not after the winning of a fight but after making a peace treaty in Hudaibiyyah. These very principles are also found in the Quran which particularly aims to make people humble and loving.
Use of force
Similarly, also according to “Shiite” interpretations of Islam, Imam Ali called for the use of force only in situations of defense and only unless a necessity exists, forbidding even further violence when the enemy is injured and defenseless and from attacking innocent bystanders. This is manifested in important Shia sources such as Nahj al-Balagha. Most “Shiite” scholars therefore reject Khomeini’s ideology and his state principle. We can therefore clearly see that the manifestation of the IRGC’s exportation of the ‘revolution’ through violence counters the very teachings of Islam. It is because of the exportation of terror through groups such as the IRGC, al-Qaeda and ISIS that many people have a wrong perception of Islam today.
These groups are therefore enemies of Islam. They misuse the banner of religion to teach anti-religious doctrines. According to the famous cleric Ayatollah Taleghani this is the most dangerous ideology possible, because here fundamentalism is justified through higher powers. In recent years we have unfortunately seen numerous attempts to appease the Iranian regime. The Obama administration, for economic and geopolitical reasons, followed a policy of appeasement with Iran and gave them billions of dollars that were used for sectarian policies, terror and the export of its “revolution”. Even former US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged in an interview that Iran will use money from sanction relief for terrorism.
Qatar also helps Iran when it stroke deals and held meetings with notorious IRGC Commander Qassem Suleimani as recently in Baghdad and by spreading a pro-Iranian narrative on Al Jazeera. Therefore among other reasons Qatar is rightfully targeted by its Gulf neighbors for its involvement in global terrorism.
Economy and IRGC
Moreover according to sources from the Iranian opposition, at least 40 percent of the economy is in the hands of the IRGC. Thence many economic deals with Iran will in the end have no other result than the strengthening of the IRGC and the export of terrorism. Iran’s involvement in terror, assassinations and cooperation with terror groups such as Al Qaeda is well documented and was even mentioned by US President Donald Trump. These failed policies of appeasement have endangered the Middle East and were a main cause for the birth of so-called ISIS. When Iran’s sectarian forces started to massacre the ‘Sunni’ community in Iraq and Syria with help from their governments, many ‘Sunnis’ by nature became more extreme and wanted to retaliate.
According to former US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey, the positions and policies adopted by former Iraqi PM Maliki against Iraq’s Sunni community paved the path for the rise and growth of ISIS. Moreover, in a Fox News interview in November 2014, John Kerry acknowledged how Assad facilitated the release of 1,500 extremist prisoners which parallel to the release of 1,000 prisoners by Maliki in Iraq led to the foundation of ISIS.
To stop fundamentalism and sectarianism in the region, it is important to target the ultimate cause of instability. That can only happen when the international community places the IRGC on its terror lists and starts to confront it. Western governments must no longer listen to corporations and lobbyists who try to benefit from instability but must help the rising people in Iran to topple the anti-religious regime. This will be a huge step to replace the darkness of terror that has taken hostage the people of the Middle East with the bright light of a new dawn of peace, the ultimate aim of Islam.
Mahyar Harsini, Special to Al Arabiya English