Since coining the concept of “Iranian Zionism”, I have come under fire from all conceivable directions. This was to be expected. Although, I might add that anyone who truly understood the concepts of “the spectral revolution” or “mercurial hermeneutics” from Prometheus and Atlas would not have been surprised in the least at the position that I have taken in response to an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attempt to misappropriate the “Aryan” discourse of the Iranian Renaissance in order to breathe life into the anti-Israel policies of an ideologically bankrupt Islamist government. The IRGC apologists who faciliated attempts to take this discourse hostage have since produced, not one, not two, but three programs in response, deceptively editing my words, lying by omitting key lines from my initial statement, and accusing me of being a paid agent of Israel. (For the record, I would live in a cardboard box before taking money from Israel or Zionists.) I am sorry to see that Shahin Nezhad, the leader of the Iranian Renaissance, has also been attacked for refusing to disavow a position on Israel that is mine alone.
Meanwhile, some of my former associates in the European New Right have even accused me of being a Jew by maternal descent – despite my mother’s Uber-Aryan ancestry, Protestant on her Scandinavian and German side, and Catholic on her Irish side (not that it would bother me in the least if I really were the son of a Jewish mother). I have received numerous death threats for being a “Jew Lover” and a “traitor” to Iran who should be sent to the gallows by a military tribunal of the Islamic Republic. That is what I get for being the only person on this planet with enough faith in Iran to seriously think that the Persians can, and should, actually govern the whole civilized world again.
In my book World State of Emergency I argue that convergent advancements in technology are leading us toward a catastrophic crisis that threatens human existence. Within 30 years, mutually reinforcing developments in biotechnology, robotics, and virtual reality will call into question the very form of life of our species. Meanwhile, the shift of our global energy economy toward the acquisition of resources mined on the Moon and elsewhere in our solar system extend the sphere of potential international conflict beyond the Earth and frame this planet as a distinct territory in a wider exopolitical (rather than geopolitical) space. Adopting and adapting the language of Carl Schmitt, I contend that this situation represents a state of emergency of global scope, one in the context of which a planetary sovereign (Shahriyar) emerges to lead the first World State. Unlike World War I and II, which were international conflicts, the Third World War is a clash of civilizations in the face of the impending technological singularity.
The upshot of World State of Emergency is that a largely unrecognized and distinct world-historical civilization, namely Iranian Civilization (i.e. Greater Iran), is undergoing a post-Islamic renaissance and has the potential to unite the entire Indo-European community into a world state that would be more beneficial to humanity than a global Chinese hegemony or the nightmare of an Islamic World State. In other words, I make the case for what you could call a global Iranshahr (Pahlavi for “Aryan Imperium”) – the native term that Persians used to refer to what Westerners call the “Persian Empire.”
If one reaches the conclusion, as I have, that there needs to be a global Iranshahr by the year 2050, the question becomes what to do about the Jews and the state of Israel. Unlike many other peoples who are ready to relinquish their identity to some form of globalism, the Jews themselves, the alleged masterminds of globalism, are not willing to do so. It should be recalled that, despite its small size, the Jewish state has an arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons and one of the best air forces in the world poised to deliver them.
Furthermore, Israel has the backing of the Jewish diaspora, which, per the minuscule percentage of the world’s population that they constitute, is probably the most well-educated and accomplished ethnic group on the planet in terms of contributions to both the sciences and the arts. One need only count the number of Jewish Nobel Prize winners, world class musicians, filmmakers, writers, and artists. It is also no conspiracy theory to recognize that Jews predominate in the control of both the international media and global finance. What else would you expect? After the Chinese, Ashkenazi Jews have the highest IQ of any ethnic group in the world, on average 20 points higher than contemporary Iranians (and probably comparable to ancient and medieval Iranians). The truth is still the truth, even if it hurts.
From the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948 onward, Iran has only had an antagonistic relationship with Israel during the nearly 40 years of the Islamic Republic. “Death to Israel!” was one of the core slogans of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and opposition to the very existence of the Jewish state remains a core tenant of the regime. Since the early 1980s, when Israel did Iran a favor by destroying Saddam Hussein’s nascent nuclear weapons program, Iran has used several proxies to pose an existential threat to the state of Israel along its own borders. These include Hezbollah paramilitaries in Lebanon and Syria, as well as Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It is only after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the expansion of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s extra-territorial Qods force into Iraq and Syria that Israel has begun to reciprocate by supporting Kurdish, Azeri, and Baluch separatists in Iran and backing the traitorous Mojaheddin-e-Khalq to carry out terrorist activities such as the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists. It should be noted that the IRGC’s Qods Force, led by General Qassem Soleimani, is named after the city of Jerusalem that it aims to conquer. Article 11 and the Preamble to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran officially asserts a duty to spread the regime’s Islamist ideology by means of Jihad.
Interestingly, there are at least five commonalities between Zionism and the Iranshahri (“Aryan Imperialist”) movement that aims to bring about an Iranian Renaissance:
(1) Like the Zionists of the late 19th and early 20th century, we are calling for the political rebirth of an ancient nation that we believe has been occupied for more than a thousand years. As far as the outside world is concerned, we are both romantic revisionists. Even though, unlike Israel, Iran reemerged as a well-defined political state with the rise of the Safavid Dynasty in the early 1500s, first of all this was after a hiatus of nearly 800 years, and secondly, Iran remained ruled by Turkic tribesmen and culturally occupied by Arab Islam (which, in its Shiite form, was actually institutionalized as a state religion by Shah Ismail Safavid in order to shore up Iran’s borders amidst the sea of those vying to control a Sunni Caliphate). Pahlavi attempts to liberate Iran from this occupation failed, because the Pahlavi dynasty’s reforms did not include an Iranian cultural revolution. References to the Persian heritage in state propaganda remained symbolic and superficial. I doubt whether this would have changed even if the regime had survived past 1978, because the Iranian Renaissance that began in 2013 was catalyzed by the experience of decades under an Islamic theocracy that crushed all attempts to reform it and forced Iranians to finally recognize the difference between their own heritage and that of Islam – despite how much of so-called Islamic ‘civilization’ was produced by colonized Persians.
(2) We are also similar to the Zionists in working towards a revitalization of the ancient language of our people. Like Hebrew, Persian survived the Arab and Turkic conquests, but just barely, and throughout the past 1,400 years it has been so badly suppressed and damaged by the introduction of loan words and even foreign grammar, to the point that an analogy can rightly be made to the situation of Hebrew among the Jewish diaspora prior to 1948, most of whom spoke either Yiddish or some other local language. This is an even more accurate analogy when, instead of comparing ancient Hebrew to modern Persian, we consider the Zionist construction of modern Hebrew on the basis of ancient Hebrew. There are certainly similarities between this and our own attempt, in the Iranian Renaissance, to re-construct the Persian language on the basis of ancient and middle Persian with a view to minimizing Arabic, Turkic, and other non-Indo-European deformations of the language. Some have even proposed re-adopting our ancient script. While the idea that Din-Dabireh, the script of the Avesta that is only used in Zoroastrian fire temples, would become the script of Iran again is hard to imagine now, if you had told the average European Jew in 1850 that a modern industrial nation state on the site of ancient Israel would be officially using the Hebrew script for ordinary everyday purposes, he would have considered it preposterous and taken you to be a madman.
(3) As in the case of ancient Hebrew, the languages that we are drawing from for our renaissance (for example, Sassanian period Pahlavi) are also languages of the scriptures of a religion that we want to resurrect as the dominant religion of our people. The Neo-Zoroastrian religious revival, which is inseparable from the Iranian Renaissance, is another similarity between the formal structure of our movement and the Zionist movement, which sought to resurrect Israel as a modern state with an explicitly Jewish identity. It is also worth noting that, just as for many in the Iranian Renaissance who see Zarathustra more as the founder of Iranian Civilization than as a religious figure, secular Zionists did not see the Jewish identity of Israel as a merely religious identity. Many of them were modernists who did not subscribe to an orthodox form of Judaism, which they considered antiquated. Rather, they saw the Jewish tradition, which is rooted in, but not limited to, the Bible, as a living tradition that should define the identity of their nation.
(4) This has to do with the fact that like Iranshahr, “Zion” is not reducible to the territory of Israel, as one nation-state among others. Like Iran, Zion is above all an idea – in the sense of Shahab al-Suhrawardi’s realm of ideas (âlam-e-mosoul) or the even more ancient Iranian conception of Aryana Vaejeh or Iranvij as a metaphysical reality not entirely located in the geography of the physical world, similar to the Western Atlantis or Hyperborea. One is reminded of the Roman General Crassus, who, while leading his nation into war against Iran, said that “Rome is an eternal thought in the mind of God.” Very few other nations in history have had this ideal and transcendent sense of identity, especially if one considers that those who truly believe in Iran or in Zion consider this idea to be the pole of the entire world order. As Nezami Ganjavi once wrote, “The world is the body and Iran is the heart.” Zionists see Zion in this way as well, and not without good reason, since Israel is the point of origin of the religion of two-thirds of our planet. The impact that the Israelite heritage has had on both Western Civilization and the Islamic World is so deep that neither of them would even be conceivable without Israel.
(5) Finally, although the Iranshahri movement has a very significant and growing following inside of Iran, we are lying to ourselves if we do not admit that the experience of exile is as integral to the Iranian Renaissance as it is to Zionism. The most conscious and committed people in this movement felt homeless even when they were living inside the Islamic Republic of Iran, and their decades of life in exile, predominately in the West, have had a deep impact on their vision for the radical reconstruction of Iranian society.
With a view to all of the above, and considering form alone, rather than content, we who advocate an Iranian Renaissance should certainly be able to understand Israeli Zionists. In fact, from a formal viewpoint, we resemble the most radical Zionists, and our view of ordinary Iranians who just want to go about their lives is similar to the way that these radical Zionists view the average Israeli citizen or a diaspora Jew indifferent to Judaism.
However, our relationship with Zion does not end there. Cyrus the Great, the founder of Iranshahr or “the Persian Empire,” who together with Zarathustra (Zoroaster) and Ferdowsi, is one of the three most revered figures in the Iranian Renaissance movement, was considered a Messiah by the Jews for bringing their persecution and exile in Babylon to an end and commissioning the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the construction of which was completed under the reign of Darius at cost to the Persian royal treasury. No one disputes these facts. What is widely disputed, and is much more controversial, is the Biblical story of the attempted extermination of the Jews of the Persian Empire in a vast conspiracy during the reign of Xerxes. As the story goes, after being informed of this plot by his Jewish wife, Queen Esther, the Persian Emperor issued orders to have the conspirators rounded up and executed en masse in order to protect the Jews. He allegedly also appointed Esther’s godfather, Mordechai, as something akin to his Prime Minister, and gave Mordechai permission to commemorate the event with the Jewish holiday of Purim – a celebration recognized throughout the Persian Empire.
I would ask those allegedly patriotic Iranians who question the historicity of this story to ask themselves whether they believe in the historicity of the Kayanian dynasty that appears in the Shahnameh, or for that matter, in the historicity of Zarathustra himself, since his patron, Shah Goshtasp (Kavi Vishtaspa), was a Kayanid monarch. At least in the case of the Esther story, we have numerous supporting accounts and archeological data validating the historicity of Xerxes. There is nothing of the sort for the Kayanids or Zarathustra. All we have are “texts” such as the Gathas, other parts of the Avesta, and the Khodai-namag (Ferdowsi’s source for his chronology of Kings) that were handed down through the oral tradition for centuries before being written down, at the earliest, around the same time that Jewish scribes committed the Tanakh to writing in its current form (probably in the Persian Empire, I might add).
Like the Shahnameh, or the Avesta, the Tanakh is not only a religious scripture. It is also a chronicle and folk history. As those who have read Prometheus and Atlas know, I accept the “radical empiricist” approach of William James toward religious scriptures. Mythology that deals in archetypal symbolism has to be differentiated from mythologized accounts of what, based on internal textual evidence, appear to be historical events. One can read these accounts independently of, and even against the grain of, those religious values that they are meant to validate.
Finally, these Iranian Aryanists, who praise Nietzsche on account of his reverence for Zarathustra and for the ancient Persians in general, but who have criticized my appropriation of the Esther story, would also do well to read Nietzsche’s essay, “On the Uses and Abuses of History for Life,” and to take a monumentalist view of history. It may be that instead of some ancestral tribal vendetta on the part of Haman, the plot against the Jews during the reign of Xerxes was motivated by the fact that they controlled the banking system of Babylon, the first credit-based global financial system, established by the Persian Empire during the reign of Darius the Great.
In any case, from a Nietzschean standpoint, the Esther story is incredibly powerful. Imagine if Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf had been devoid of anti-Jewish discourse. Years later, around 1940, at the height of Nazi Germany’s imperial power, and after some initial persecution of the Jews by others within the Reich, Hitler is informed of a plot to exterminate the Jews living in all of the territories governed by the Reich. The Führer then issues orders to have tens of the most high-ranking Reich’s officials rounded up, together with their supporters. They are all publicly executed – by the Jews who they had intended to murder! Then, beginning in 1941, Hitler institutes a holiday honoring the protection of the Jews who have contributed so much to Germany’s culture and economy. Would this act be considered anti-German, the way that certain Iranians consider the Purim story to be anti-Iranian? Or would it have saved Germany and changed history?
Remember that there was nothing inherently anti-Jewish about Fascist ideology. Mussolini’s Jewish mistress confessed to being a catalyst of his conversion from Anarcho-Syndicalism to Fascism, and many prominent Italian Jews were in the vanguard of Mussolini’s regime before its weakened position in the war made Italy increasingly beholden to Nazi Germany. The analogy to ancient Iran is not baseless either. Unlike Cyrus and Darius, Xerxes was no paragon of tolerance and humanitarianism. He was a ruthless imperialist who burned Athens to the ground. Like his predecessors, he referred to himself as “a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, of the Aryan race.”
So I return to the question at the outset, namely the Jewish Question. If, as Xerxes aspired to do in his own time, we are compelled to establish a worldwide Persian Empire, what do we propose to do about the Jews and the state of Israel? Conquer them with love.
We are talking about no more than 14 million very frightened but brilliant people, out of a planetary population of 7 billion, and of those 14 million less than half live in Israel. Who are their greatest enemies? The nearly 2 billion Muslims who will become demographically dominant on Earth by the end of this century, unless something is done about that very soon. Israel’s greatest enemies are also the enemies of our Imperial Iran, and the biggest obstacle to a world governed by the ideals of the Iranian Renaissance – a movement that has included prominent Persian Jews in its leadership from the start.
What I propose, on the way to the eventual goal of an Iranian World State, is a strategic alliance between Iran and Israel. For most of its history, Iran’s borders have ended where radical Zionists demarcate the borders of “Greater Israel”, a concept based on the Kingdom of David at the zenith of its expansion. Iranshahr or Greater Iran, an idea revived by the Pan-Iranists who were the loyal opposition in the Pahlavi regime, and embraced by most within the Iranian Renaissance movement, begins at the Euphrates river in Iraq, includes all of Kurdistan and extends up into the Caucasus and far into Central Asia, all the way to the Tajik regions bordering China. Iran would withdraw its quasi-colonial presence in Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria, in exchange for Israeli recognition of Iraq, Azerbaijan, and other artificial states surrounding Iran as the legitimate strategic scope of a new Persian Empire in its first stage of expansion. Beyond this détente, the two countries should enter into a mutual defense pact – albeit after Iran has (minimally) achieved military parity with Israel, including an Iranian nuclear weapons arsenal. As the aspiring Caliphate of the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda expands in the Middle East and Central Asia, an attack on Iran would be considered an attack on Israel, and vice versa.
The Persian Jewish community could be instrumental in associated diplomatic and economic policies that could eventually lead to an Iran-Israel “Schengen Area” type agreement. In the worst case scenario, as Imperial Iran becomes increasingly global in scope, a recalcitrant Israel would become something like Switzerland surrounded by the European Union or the Vatican State inside of Italy – assured of its own security, and supportive of Iran’s global leadership. As far as worst case scenarios go, that is pretty damn promising. In the best case, Jews will find another Cyrus who wins their hearts by building their Third Temple in a Jerusalem conquered by the light and love of Mithra. In his first Imperial proclamation, Cyrus the Great does not say, “In the name of Ahura Mazda.” He praises “Marduk, the great Lord” of Babylon – Iran’s new capital city.
Cyrus never saw Persepolis. Darius inaugurated its construction, and of the three greatest rulers of the first Persian Empire, only Xerxes inhabited the palatial city at the zenith of its glory. Xerxes oversaw completion of the “Gateway to All Nations” and his visage is engraved there, where his bones are also entombed in the rock cliffs above the colossal ruins. Someone in the Alt-Right once quipped that, for me, “all roads lead to Persepolis.” He thought that he was insulting me, but I replied that he was right on the mark.
Leo Strauss, the Jewish-German political theorist who Carl Schmitt considered to have been his greatest student, is famous for the idea of the historical dialectic between “Athens and Jerusalem.” This is a certain interpretation of Western Civilization as a synthesis of Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian ideas and histories, which allegedly accounts for the West’s presumed superiority over all other civilizations. As we witness what, in World State of Emergency, I refer to as the terminal decline and fall of the West, I see the need for an alternative concept, one which is synonymous with my deliberately provocative coinage of “Iranian Zionism.” Not Athens – Persepolis and Jerusalem, the power behind the Throne of Jamshid and the defiance of David. To wrestle with God, and live! (35:30–39:28)
The Hegelian dialectic of Persepolis and Jerusalem should come to be understood as the motor of human spiritual evolution. This is the dialectic that began with Cyrus and Xerxes, that was fundamental to the worldview of the Order of Assassins in Alamut, a dialectic that was still hard at work when the Iranshahri Sadegh Hedayat became the foremost Persian interpreter of Franz Kafka’s modern Kabbalah. No one to whom it remains a mystery has fathomed the depths and global destiny of Iranian Civilization. No one offended by it is prepared for the Second Coming of Zarathustra: he who affirms Ahriman’s role in Creation, and summons Supermen with the courage to live beyond good and evil.