Friday, May 19, 2006

Forthcoming Attacks on Iranian Intellectuals

Esfandiar Saffari, Rooz Online:
Twenty days into the detention of Ramin Jahanbeglou, the prominent Iranian scholar and philosopher who is accused of relations with foreigners, the right-wing conservative press continues its planned and organized attacks against his file and other cultural personalities.

A few days ago, hardline Jomhouri Eslami daily claimed that Ramin Jahanbeglou is one of the key elements in the so-called "soft overthrow" of the Islamic republic. Two weeks earlier, Sobh Sadegh publication, which is the mouthpiece of the representative of the Supreme Leader in the Passdaran Revolutionary Guards, claimed that the new US approach to overthrow the Islamic regime was through a “soft overthrow” strategy.

The ultra-radical publication issued its call in these words: Today, all Iranian cultural activists, whether strategic, tactical or operational have a golden opportunity to rectify the cultural situation of the country and so must act to achieve this.” It called for the launching of a second cultural revolution, the first one being the one that shut all institutions of higher education and Islamicized them by purging a large number of Westernized teachers with rigid state controls. The article calls Iran’s cultural situation as disturbing where officials are urged to engage in comprehensive measures to combat and neutralize the “cultural invasion.” READ MORE

Using military language, Sobh Sadegh calls on turning the current Cultural Revolution Council into a “Central Command Center which should remain active 24 hours a day. The newspaper warns that if the current opportunity where all the branches of government are in the hands of the ideologues is not taken advantage, then the cultural issues currently facing Iran would not be successfully uprooted. The title of the article calling for such massive changes is “Walking Corpses”, implying that the current intellectuals and thinkers who do not necessary support the establishment are dead bodies ready to be eliminated. It names events such as commemoration of national holidays, meeting the elite, cultural exchanges, language training, and research projects to be tools used to overthrow the Islamic regime, calling these measures “soft” instruments used by the United States.

This article was published in the newspaper’s special edition dedicated to Combating Cultural Invasion and it non coincidentally came out soon after Jahanbegloo’s arrest and the slandering that is going on against him in the hardline official media. The newspaper calls Jahanbegloo a leading figure in this cultural war and accuses him of being connected to the CIA and the Israeli secret service Mossad. Finally, the article says that some of his accomplices had succeeded in infiltrating some influential university posts.

In case any one missed the message, the new wave of crackdown of intellectuals has already started.