From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]


The Persian Renaissance

February 6, 2007

Did you happen to see that amazing Iranian parade last March on
Madison Avenue? The smiling women were beautifully made up and garbed
in colorful silks. The men wore blue headdresses and robes. Marchers
carried a sign that read, “Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.” The
music was engaging, the floats were filled with flowers, and happy
marchers were chanting joyfully about Iran.

It’s not likely that you did see the parade, because these Iranians
are Persians, and we don’t hear much about them. We should: They may
end up being America’s best allies in the war against Islamic

There are, in fact, two Irans, and the lesser known one to most
Americans is undergoing a renaissance that the ruling Iranian mullahs
fear the most. If the Persians are awakened to their identity as
children of Cyrus the Great, who wrote mankind’s first charter of
human rights, these oppressive regimes will topple domino-style.
Besides Iran, the Persian heritage is embedded in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and were it to be rekindled, a revolution unheard of in
scope could occur. Does this sound like a pipe dream?

Not according to an Iranian dissident and former Muslim I met recently
who told me that Korans are being burned in Iran, and that there is a
strong movement toward the philosophy of Zoroastrianism. This man
showed me the pendant he now wears, a symbol of the ancient religion
(it is older than Judaism). This symbol, carried by many of the parade
marchers, can be seen at

I had to travel outside New York to meet with this individual, who
still has relatives living in Iran. The trip was worth it, as I was
able to learn more about what’s happening behind the headlines.

“Immediately after September 11,” my new friend said, “I knew we must
go to Iraq.” That the war option was apparent to this and other
Iranians has eluded most of the liberal elite.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,”
George Santayana said, and I think of this quotation every time I read
the speeches at the anti-war rallies and marvel at the ignorance
displayed there. Sad to say, Americans aren’t big on history, and that
goes for our diplomatic representatives as well. The truth is,
Americans have been fighting jihadists since Colonial times, when
Muslim pirates were seizing American ships. I thought James Baker, a
former secretary of state, was a smart man, and yet he and the Iraq
Study Group came up with the na?ve notion that we can negotiate with

This is absolutely senseless. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams reported
why after their failed peace mission in Paris: “It was written in
their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their
authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war
upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they
could take as prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should
be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

Gee, that sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? Well, as it turned out,
the only thing that stopped the jihadists was war, and so Jefferson
led us into the First Barbary War. James Madison led us into the
second Barbary War.

The Persian Renaissance, known as Anjomane Padeshahi Iran, is being
spearheaded by a charismatic leader, Dr. Froud Fouladvand. He has
offered Iranian people the reason to fight by awakening their
semidormant national identity, an identity that was overshadowed by
radical Islam. In fact, my friend said, “the API draws on centuries of
experience handed down by those who have battled this enemy from its
virtual inception. We slew the first three rulers of Islam as Persians
? and many of their military governors. Few people ? even our own ?
are taught that even Imam Ali, father of the Shiites, was sent to hell
by a Persian.”

There are more than 7 million Persians living outside Iran, and many
are connected through online communications, meaning theirs may end up
being the first revolution fueled by Internet technology. According to
API’s English-language Web site, at, Dr. Fouladvand is
nearing Iran, and the overthrow of Islamic rule is scheduled to take
place before the Iranian New Year, March 21. My Iranian contact says
America should leave Iran to the Iranians, and that may be what is
happening. Liberal pundits are continually criticizing the
administration for not going after Iran because of its support of the
Iraqi insurgency. Maybe President Bush has read his history and knows
the Persians are coming, the Persians are coming.

“The Cyrus Cylinder has been described as the world?s first charter of
human rights,[5] and it was translated into all official U.N.
languages in 1971.[6][7] A replica of the cylinder is kept at the
United Nations Headquarters in New York City in the second floor
hallway, between the Security Council and the Economic and Social
Council chambers.[8]

Passages in the text have been interpreted as expressing Cyrus?
respect for humanity. It promotes a form of religious tolerance and
freedom.[9] He allowed his subjects to continue worshipping their
gods, despite his own monotheist beliefs.[10] The historian R.N. Frye
wrote in 1963:

?In the victories of the Persians? what was different was the new
policy of reconciliation and together with this was the prime aim of
Cyrus to establish a pax Achaemenica? If one were to assess the
achievements of the Achaemenid Persians, surely the concept of One
World,? the fusion of peoples and cultures in one ?Oecumen? was one of
their important legacies.?[11]

Cyrus’ generous policies, support for local religions and stated
opposition to repression and tyranny did win him support from his
subjects.[12] Newly conquered territories in Cyrus’ empire had a
measure of political independence, being ruled by governors called
satraps; from many regions of his empire Cyrus demanded only tribute
and conscripts. Due in part to this political infrastructure, the
Achaemenid empire endured long after his demise: Cyrus’ ‘superstate’,
comprising many dozens of countries, races, religions, and languages,
lasted for centuries, and was retained both by the invading Seleucid
dynasty during their control of Persia, and later Iranian dynasties
including the Persian Parthians and Sassanids.[13]

However, it can also be argued that similar gestures to those recorded
on the Cylinder were made by some conquering monarchs in contemporary
Babylon and the surrounding area.[14][15]

In any event, the clemency Herodotus ascribed to Cyrus the Great, the
aptitudes Xenophon saw in him, his mission according to the Old
Testament and his piety as described in the Babylon inscription – all
combine in the eyes of many observers to form a harmonious character
study of the first Persian king, the historian Joseph Wiseh?fer wrote
about Cyrus in 1996.[16]”

“By 1783, however, with the end of the Revolution, America became
solely responsible for the safety of its own commerce and citizens.
Without the means or the authority to field a naval force necessary to
protect their ships in the Mediterranean, the nascent U.S. government
took a pragmatic, but ultimately self-destructive route. In 1784, the
United States Congress allocated money for payment of tribute to the

Use for the money came in 1785, when the Dey of Algiers took two
American ships hostage and demanded US$60,000 in ransom for their
crews. Then-ambassador to France Thomas Jefferson argued that
conceding the ransom would only encourage more attacks. His objections
fell on the deaf ears of an inexperienced American government too
riven with domestic discord to make a strong show of force overseas.
The U.S. paid Algiers the ransom, and continued to pay up to $1
million per year over the next 15 years for the safe passage of
American ships or the return of American hostages. Payments in ransom
and tribute to the privateering states amounted to 20 percent of
United States government annual revenues in 1800.

Jefferson continued to argue for cessation of the tribute, with rising
support from George Washington and others. With the recommissioning of
the American navy in 1794 and the resulting increased firepower on the
seas, it became more and more possible for America to say “no”,
although by now the long-standing habit of tribute was hard to
overturn. A largely successful undeclared war with French privateers
in the late 1790s showed that American naval power was now sufficient
to protect the nation’s interests on the seas.

In 1786 a negro and John Murray went to negotiate with Tripoli’s envoy
to London, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman or (Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman
Adja). They asked him by what right he extorted money and took slaves.
Jefferson reported to Secretary of State John Jay, and to the

The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of
the Prophet (Mohammed), that it was written in their Koran, that all
nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners,
that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they
could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as
prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was
sure to go to heaven.”