As the recent demonstrations in Iran attest, the Islamic Republic has reached the end of its rope. Quite to the contrary of the mainstream media narrative in the West, the protests in Iran are not about liberal democracy, human rights, or even secularism. Nor are they limited to economic grievances. Rather, close attention to the slogans that were chanted from December 28 onward in at least 73 cities and towns across the country reveals that Iran is undergoing a cultural revolution that aims to re-root the future social and political development of Iranians in their pre-Islamic Persian heritage. This is not a color revolution with the goal of free elections. People are not asking, “Where is my vote?” They are chanting, “Reza Shah, may your soul rejoice!” “By cannons, tanks, or guns, the clergy have to go!” “Islam and the Quran, we sacrifice them both to Iran!” “We are Aryans, we don’t worship Arabs!” Indeed, an explicitly “Aryan” regime is about to replace the Islamic Republic and it will not be a liberal democracy, but it could become the greatest ally that the state of Israel has ever had – even more reliable than America. One of the most popular slogans of the uprising is “Neither for Gaza, nor for Lebanon, I’ll sacrifice my life for Iran!”
This Aryan cultural revolution is known as the Iranian (Persian) Renaissance, and I am a senior advisor to the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of the 501c3 organization that is facilitating and coordinating this organic social movement. Out of desperation, elements of the intelligence directorate of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have for some months now been attempting to hijack this movement’s discourse of Aryan identity and use it to breathe new life into the anti-Israeli policies of the Islamic Republic.
A rabid anti-Semite by the name of Kaikhosrow Arash Gorgin began to appear as a regular guest of independent broadcaster Omid Dana, who gave him a platform to begin making increasingly outrageous claims that ended with the ludicrous assertion that the IRGC is about to become Zoroastrian and that it is “an occulted Aryan force.” The proper name of the organization, “Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution” makes its purpose quite clear. It was formed to put down potential coup attempts on the part of patriots in Iran’s legitimate national military forces (there were several of these, and one of them would have been successful had it not been for the Iraqi invasion of Iran).
Gorgin, whose real first name is Amir, is connected to wealthy members of the IRGC in Tehran. Around October 21, 2016, at a time when I had no idea who this man even was, he a scribbled an unprovoked social media tirade against me, taking the most belittling and patronizing tone imaginable. I am not prone to responding to personal attacks, especially when they are baseless, so I ignored it. However, once Gorgin used Omid Dana’s program to attack the Iranian Renaissance as a Zionist organization conspiring to undermine the national interest of Iran, simply because our Board includes prominent members of the Persian Jewish community, I could not remain silent.
The regime in Tehran recognizes that its Islamic fundamentalist ideology is bankrupt as far as the general public is concerned, and so it is trying to justify support for Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Islamist organizations in the vicinity of Israel by coopting the discourse of Iran’s Aryan identity. This will, however, prove impossible for them, because to the extent that the cultural revolution underway has a single icon, that man is Cyrus the Great, who is both the founder of the Persian Imperial tradition and the only gentile referred to as a “Messiah” by the Jews. When hundreds of thousands of Iranians gathered at the tomb of Cyrus the Great on October 29th, 2016 to chant slogans such as “We are Aryans, we don’t worship Arabs!” and “Our Aryan Cyrus, You are our honor!” they made it clear that, at least in Iran, Aryan identity is not tantamount to anti-Semitism.
The Persian Jewish community is the oldest continuous Jewish diaspora in the world, dating back 2,700 years, since the Assyrian tyrant Shalmaneser V conquered the northern part of the Kingdom of Israel and sent Israeli captives to Khorasan (Eastern Iran). Subsequently, the Jews faced even more severe persecution at the hands of the Babylonians who took them captive in the second major Jewish exile after the one in Egypt. Once Iran gained its political independence from the Assyrians and Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 BC (the starting point of the Persian Imperial Calendar), the Jews gained a special place within the vast Persian Empire of the Achaemenids (which, based on the population it governed, was the largest empire in world history). Cyrus (Hebrew Koresh) not only granted them freedom of religion in Babylon, and allowed Jews who wished to leave, the right of return to Israel in peace and security, he also commissioned the building of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at cost to Iran’s treasury and at the hands of the Persian corps of engineers. Construction was completed under the reign of Darius the Great, who also endorsed the project. For such deeds, Cyrus is valorized as the “Messiah” of Israel in both the Biblical book of Ezra and Second Chronicles. The Jews did not recognize Jesus, one of their own, as a Messiah, nor did they accept the claim to prophet-hood of their fellow Semite, Muhammad. But even today, many Jews await the coming of another Koresh HaMaschiach who will build the Third Temple where the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock now stands.
The story of the special historical relationship between Iran and Israel only begins with Cyrus the Great. Many Jews chose to remain in Iran rather than return to Israel. Iranian Studies scholars are familiar with the fact that the Achaemenids first struck silver and gold standard coinage imprinted with portraits (shekel, a Persian word meaning “semblance” or “image”), invented the bank check, and established the world’s first banking system based on credit. In Babylon, which became the administrative capital of Iran, the Jews played a key role in this development. Perhaps on account of their growing influence, a court Minister of Xerxes I, named Haman, headed a vast conspiracy planning to liquidate Jews across the Empire. When Xerxes’ Israelite Queen, Esther (Hebrew Hadassah), became aware of this and brought it to her husband’s attention, Xerxes instead turned on his own court officials. He executed tens of high-ranking individuals involved in the plot and appointed Mordechai, Esther’s godfather, Prime Minister of Iran.
The Purim holiday is a celebration of this second salvation of the Jews by the ancient Persians. Xerxes apparently allowed Mordechai to establish Purim as a holiday celebrated in Susa (Shushan) and other cities. Xerxes is the most respected ancient Persian Emperor after Cyrus and Darius, but unlike them, Xerxes was not known for his tolerance and humanitarianism. He burned Athens to the ground during his invasion of Greece, which makes his treatment of the Jews all the more fascinating and meaningful.
During the Sassanian period, more than one Shah of Iran had Jewish blood and Jewish scholars participated prominently in the university system established by Shapur and Khosrow, which laid the groundwork for the so-called ‘Islamic’ Golden Age. Even in Islamic times, it is only during periods when parts of Iran managed to get out from under Arab and Turkic overlords that the Jews were treated as something more than second class citizens. The Nizari Ismaili Order of Assassins based at Alamut, Iran, under the leadership of Hasan Sabbah, fought the Crusaders and the Caliphate simultaneously. The Assassins took the Persian Jews under their protection as respected equals, freeing them from the Caliphate’s jizya taxes and other stigmas imposed on non-Muslims.
Aside from this ancient history, the people of Iran and Israel are also bound together by virtue of the fact that they are the only two peoples in their part of the world who have survived the vicissitudes of history without being totally uprooted. Names such as “Egypt”, “Syria”, and “Lebanon” that were picked out the Bible and placed on these territories by European colonialists are artificial and do not reflect the survival of any authentic sense of ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, or Phoenician identity on the part of the Arabs who now dwell in those lands. The language and culture of these ancient peoples was destroyed by the imposition of Arabic, the Muslim religion, and the oppressive reign of several successive Caliphates, including the Ottoman Caliphate, whose identity was Islamic and not ‘Turkish’ (the national identity of Turkey is also totally artificial and not older than 1924). Only the Persians and the Jews managed to resist and retain their own language and cultural identity.
After a series of failed regional revolts against the Arabian Caliphate and semi-autonomous Persian fiefdoms crushed by the Turks and Mongols, Iran finally reemerged within its traditional imperial borders with the establishment of the Safavid Persian Empire in 1500s – a hiatus of some 800 years after the Arab-Muslim invasion of Iran! While the Jews did not manage to reestablish their political autonomy until 1948, it would be misleading to claim that simply because it took longer in their case, Zionism is reducible to a modern will to power aiming to establish an artificial nation-state on somebody else’s land, whereas the idea of Iran has a legitimate pedigree. Shah Ismail was only able to carve out Iran again politically through a grand compromise that thoroughly amalgamated Persian culture with Shiite Islam. It is only now, in the last few years, that a radical and widespread movement has emerged to shed this Shiite cloak (which is all it was for the esoteric elite among the Assassins and earlier anti-Arab partisans) in favor of a more authentic return to Iran’s Aryan heritage. This Iranian or Persian Renaissance has a great deal in common with Zionism from a philosophical and structural standpoint. Above all, like Zion, which in the eyes of a Zionist is by no means reducible to the nation-state of Israel, for us Irânshahr (of which “Iran” is an abridged form) is not the name of one country amongst other nations. Like Zion, Irânshahr is an eternal idea in the Divine Mind and a pole of orientation for the entire cosmic order.
The Islamic Republic came to power with the aim of destroying both ideas. Opposition to the very existence of Israel is one of the foundations of this anti-Iranian regime, but the founders of the Islamic Republic also dreamed of bulldozing Persepolis and replacing Persian with Arabic as the national language. They tried, and failed, to ban the Iranian New Year celebration of Nowruz. They have censored and interpolated works of classical Persian poetry! This is a regime that, when an early victory was at hand due to the strength of the military that the Shah left behind (despite its being decapitated by the Ayatollahs), needlessly prolonged the Iran-Iraq war for years and sacrificed hundreds of thousands of Iranian lives to the futile goal of conquering ‘Qods’ by way of Karballah. Meanwhile, the Israeli Air Force took out Saddam’s nuclear facilities and probably saved millions in Iran’s cities from the horror of an Iraqi atomic bombing campaign.
Sure, the Mossad has in recent years begun supporting Kurdish separatists and Israel secretly funds the despicable Islamist-Marxist Mojaheddin-e-Khalq, but only in response to the Islamic Republic’s decades of support for Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Islamist terrorist groups along or even within Israel’s borders. As far as Stuxnet and the assassination of nuclear scientists goes, what patriotic Persian would want this regime to build an atomic bomb? (I’ve gone on record saying that the next, post-Islamic regime of Iran should have the world’s largest nuclear weapons arsenal.) I am, frankly, surprised that with rhetoric like Ahmadinejad’s, the Israelis have shown so much patience and restraint. They were wise to wait until the Ayatollahs lost legitimacy.
After the imminent overthrow of the Islamic Republic, we have a lot more to look forward to than restoration of the friendly relations between Iran and Israel that were characteristic of the Pahlavi era. These relations were very friendly indeed. In accordance with David Ben Gurion’s concept of an “alliance of the periphery,” Pahlavi Iran joined Kemalist Turkey and the Kingdom of Ethiopia in a pact with Israel that acted to contain the Arab world. Meanwhile the Shah of Iran, Aryamehr (Light of the Aryans) Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, played a key role in negotiating peace between Israel and Egypt by building the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline and supplying the Israelis with cheap oil. More privately, the SAVAK and Mossad had a high-level intelligence collaboration and Iran pursued a number of classified military-industrial projects together with Israel, such as the Project Flower missile system. Today, there is no longer a periphery. In Turkey the artificial ideology of Kemalism has given way to an Islamist re-appropriation of the legacy of the Ottoman Caliphate, and it is suspected that Erdogan is secretly supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as a preliminary stage on the path to setting up his son and heir as the new Sultan and Caliph. His government has all but broken ties with Israel. Only Iran remains on the other side of the hellish chasm of the nascent Caliphate that threatens to surround Israel from every direction, eventually including Egypt.
Instead of threatening to destroy Israel before the new Sunni Caliphate does, post-Islamic Iran can focus its imperial might on the Caucasus and Central Asia, regions that are far more legitimately a part of Iran’s civilizational sphere of influence. The borders of what we in the Iranian Renaissance call “Greater Iran” (Irâné Bozorg) extend far to the north and east of Iran, but the Western border of Greater Iran is situated precisely at the Eastern border of what Zionists call Greater Israel: the Euphrates river in Iraq. The Iranian-Israeli partition of the Middle East is a vision that I’ve had since my adolescence. A close childhood friend of mine, who now lives in Israel, can vouch for that. It is also a vision that I discussed with “Reactionary Jew” during a Kosher Persian lunch at the zenith of my involvement with the Alt-Right and European Identitarianism. I have always believed that there is absolutely no conflict between the legitimate national interests of Iran and Israel. In fact, in the case of each, no other nation on Earth has more of a mutual interest than the other.
However, it is not ultimately on the basis of a cold calculus of interests that I unapologetically identify as an Iranian Zionist. It is because I believe that we are the chosen people. We are, and we should move forward to the fulfillment of our common destiny together. That destiny is best expressed by the ancient Persian concept of Frashgard, whose Hebrew equivalent is tikkun olam. I am a Zionist because I am a Kabbalist who knows the truth about the origin of Kabbalah and the esoteric relationship between Abraham and the most ancient Iranian peoples of the northwestern Zagros mountains, the rapport between the Order of the Magi and the Pharisees. What the Germans failed to do, despite the genius of German Jews such as Kafka and Husserl, is something that Iran has long been destined for: the transformation of Aryan consciousness in response to the Shekhinah, which is the completion of human evolution.