For many years, peripheral for Russian policy with the beginning of the Syrian campaign, Iran has become almost our main partner in the fight against US hegemony. However, in the mass representation of one of the oldest civilizations of the world, at best, is limited history with Griboyedov and Yesenin's Persian Motifs. The political scientist and TV presenter Maxim Shevchenko, for whom Iran has always been in the focus of interests, answers the questions of the Military-Industrial Courier.
- There is a feeling that most Russians perceive Iran in a somewhat oversimplified way. What are your impressions?
- Iran is very firmly on the ground, it feels like a certain integral entity. It can certainly be considered liberated from the imperialist shackles, and most importantly - it is not controlled directly from the world centers, as was the case under Pahlavi. The essence of the 1979 revolution against the Shah was anti-imperialist, anti-colonial. She marched in a combination of left and Islamic slogans. Already in the course of events the Islamists won. The left lost because they did not receive the proper support of the people. Yes, for these reasons, Iran is developing hard, but as a free, independent country with an ancient civilization, with its dominant version of Islamic culture.
- In the current situation, Iran is a stronghold of Shiism. Does this mean that all Iranians are Shiites?
- About twenty percent of Iranian Muslims are Sunni. The country combines two large ethnic groups - Persians and Turks, mainly Azeris, which account for about 40 percent of the population. It can be said that the Persians mostly inhabit the center and south of the country, Azerbaijanis - the west and the Caspian regions, Arabs, mostly Shiites, live along the border with Iraq, Balochi - closer to Pakistan, but there are no mono-ethnic areas, everyone lives everywhere.
Therefore, when we try to interpret Iran from the point of view of European values - the power of the mullahs, a clerical state, this very inaccurately describes the feeling that develops during his stay in the country. As I understand it, there is no Iranian who is not involved in the Islamic spiritual space. You can be a liberal, for example, and not go to the mosque, but your mother communicates with the mullah, like other family members, and they will follow the guidelines of faith. As a result, the whole society is permeated with such spiritual connections. You can hate the Islamic revolution and regime, drink, smoke and at the same time you will be a sinner, for whom you still have a paternal eye. No, not snooping, it is in sensations. Belonging to the Islamic civilization prevails, be you, I repeat, even an ardent opponent of Islam. And yet: the Iranians are incredible patriots, it does not matter whether you are a Persian, a Turk or an Arab. They love Iran, even those who hate power.
The main Shiite cities, Karbala and Najaf, associated with the names of Imam Ali and Imam Hussein, are located in Iraq, and what is interesting - even at the height of the war between the countries, when thousands of people died on the front, the pilgrimage from Iran to the shrines did not stop. It must be said that then, in 80, Tehran perceived the Iraqi Shiites as agents of their revolution, as their “fifth column”.
The Iranians are a people deeply respecting themselves and who consider themselves not to have come to the earth by chance. They are deeply aware of themselves as the guardians of a very ancient culture. The main thing is that every Iranian can have his own world view - who is leftist, who is liberal, who is conservative, but everyone has the same world perception. I think the Islamic world is more cultural and educated than the non-Islamic. And he is very politicized, since Islam itself is a political religion. Because the Iranians have something to be proud of and have something to fight for. And we have something to learn from them.
- For example?
“We are trying to squeeze Iran into our European understanding, in which the government rules and the people obey. But between the authorities and the people there can be much deeper connections, not created by PR people, not radio with television, but based on the very spiritual clips that are talked about a lot in Russia, but we don’t have them at all. But they are not created by placing an order with political strategists - Iranian spirituality has evolved over the centuries.
The recent unrest in Iran was caused solely by economic reasons, moreover, the clergy supported the protesters.
- What can you say about the technical capabilities of Iran?
- The country's potential is huge. If it were not for the sanctions, if it were not for the betrayal of Russia in the field of the transfer of nuclear technology, if it were not for the direct physical destruction by the Israeli secret services of the leading Iranian scientists, we would already see an economic miracle there.
Having a very good genetics, the Iranians for the most part lead a healthy lifestyle - they don’t drink, they eat healthy food, there are almost no fat people. Great school, great universities, brains and potential. Iranians, as well as Jews, Armenians, have a very developed sense of self-worth. It should be borne in mind that there are no beggars in the country and recent protests brought not the poor to the streets, but the middle class, small business. The system of social support in the country is very developed and works well. If Iran is allowed, it will become the richest country in the world.
- What connects Iran with North Korea?
- Pure technology collaboration. It is very likely that Pyongyang’s rocket programs are joint work. It is also possible that nuclear military programs in the DPRK are tests of products not only of Korean nuclear scientists. And Iran needs weaponable to defend, strike at Saudi Arabia, at Israel. The country is ready for war. I have not studied the arsenals, but the main thing is the spirit. Technologically, the Iranian army lags far behind the western countries that might attack, but Iran has Hezbollah, which is like a knife put to the throat of Israel. During the Syrian war, Israel and the United States hoped that Hezbollah would be defeated and liquidated. But she came out of this conflict, despite the huge losses, an absolutely combat-ready modernized army, and unique - in fact, all 50 thousands of its personnel have special forces training and they are absolutely not afraid of death.
- Shiite belt from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean - a serious program?
- The Shiite belt, although formally supported by the Iranian authorities, can rather be considered an imposed concept. Contrasting Shiites and Sunnis is primarily beneficial to the West. To be clear: the difference lies in the principle of the transfer of sovereign power. Shiites believe that it should be transmitted by blood to the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. Sunnis are of the opinion that power should be in the hands of the ummah, the religious community, which elects the supreme ruler. So it was originally, but over the centuries, all this has become overgrown with so many myths that now it has become just a political issue. Imam Khomeini tried to reconcile both currents, saying that between them there is no difference: "My constitution is the Koran." And before the Syrian war, numerous conferences were held to bring the existing differences to a common denominator. The most despicable consequence of the war in Syria is the split of the Muslims into two really hostile groups. Here the fault lies primarily with the Saudis as agents of the West in the Middle East. The Khomeinist concept uniting the Muslims was extremely dangerous for the colonial rule of the West.
- It is interesting, why in Saudi Arabia have never been seen the flow, consonant with the ideas of Khomeini? After all, it really promised Islam a lot of positive?
- Saudi Arabia is a state artificially created by the British, as well as Israel. And let's not forget that the Bretton Woods Agreement, in addition to recognizing the dollar as a single world currency, resulted in the transfer of Saudi Arabia to the custody of the United States as payment for supplies to the UK under Lend-Lease. If Washington ceases to support Riyadh, the kingdom will immediately collapse, there are millions of people who hate the current government. I believe that the main goal of the “Arab spring”, started by Obama, was Saudi Arabia, but the process simply did not reach it.
- What Obama did not please the Saudis?
- The destruction of the current government in Riyadh is the elimination of the main purse of the Republican Party, and it is to its supporters that the main American oil concerns belong. Roosevelt and Truman, who got Saudi Arabia from Churchill, were Republicans, and the first oil producers in the Arabian Peninsula were companies affiliated with their party. The US military-industrial complex, in which Saudi money is invested, is also predominantly Republican.
- And the first foreign visit of Trump, who came to Riyadh, is the desire to count how much is left in the wallet?
- Exactly. There is also a debt of Saudis to the US administration - 700 billions that had to be paid as compensation for September 11. Half of the Americans have forgiven, for the second, the Saudis bought American weapons, which they absolutely did not need. What the Americans keep the entire Middle East on is Tel Aviv and Riyadh. Israel is imputed through clandestine operations and the support of terrorism to kill all those who are displeased with the United States. Saudis finance this business.
- What awaits the region?
- A war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is very likely, which will end with the overthrow of the royal regime. The trigger for the KSA in Yemen could be a trigger for this. If the Housits get some more military victories, the Saudis in hysterics can strike at Iran. The only thing that holds them is the understanding that the States will not protect. And the United States, in turn, fears Iran, realizing that, unlike Saddam’s Iraq, a rather artificially tailored state, the war with Iran will be heavy and fraught with huge losses.
- Can Russia help Iran speed up technical progress? And is it beneficial to us?
- Russia until the last few years, being a loyal ally of Israel and the United States, frankly deceived Iran. The Bushehr nuclear power plant deal has repeatedly stopped, sabotaged us, and deliberately, for ideological reasons. The reason on the surface is our elite. Which is in fact no Russian, since people who have two or three citizenships and numerous relatives living in the United States and Israel cannot, by definition, be patriots of the Fatherland. Putin cannot be blamed for this, but those who previously negotiated on behalf of Russia with Iran had the goal of making money, while being aware that they would not act against their true interests. Iran, like Israel and the United States, is the enemy. Whereas for Russia - a sincere partner, and maybe a reliable ally. Again, with a reservation - for what Russia. To a liberal country in which the controlling stake belongs to pro-Israel businessmen and politicians, the attitude is unambiguous - “small Satan” is not very different from “big”, as Ayatollah Khomeini once called the Soviet Union and the United States. Putin’s Russia is moving closer to Iran, and it’s not a fact that, as a result, our elite will not lose access to the West, which she loves so much. It should be understood that Iran is perceived there as an enfant terrible only because he dared to abandon the paternalistic tutelage of the United States and Great Britain.
The Iranians are not blind, they perfectly see what our present elite is focused on. But they are pragmatists - they need allies, they need technology. And therefore, Iran is now forced to converge with Russia. But if it concludes a comprehensive treaty of friendship and cooperation with Turkey, which is not at all possible, Russia will become secondary. Iran has seen too much betrayal in Iran over the past twenty years to ignore it.
- The rapprochement of Russia and Iran, of course, does not meet with hot approval in the West. How does this threaten us?
- Now a new sanctions list is being prepared, and we will see who will be included in it. There is information that these will be very serious oligarchs, including those close to Putin. After this, the elite will build relations with the president, it is difficult to predict, but the situation is expected to be very difficult. And if Putin is able to withstand the pressure of the West, then Russia will move closer to Iran. If the oligarchic elite forces Putin to act on his own terms, relations with Iran will certainly be broken.