LobeLog on Facebook LobeLog on Facebook

Iran rohrabacher

Published on August 1st, 2012 | by Farideh Farhi


Searching for yet Another Alternative to War with Iran

Print Friendly and PDF

American political discourse regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran has always had an Orwellian flavor. Escalating economic sanctions are presented as an earnest effort at diplomacy; covert actions and industrial sabotage are pitched as an alternative to war. Now, courtesy of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), we have the introduction of another alternative to the “military option”: the dismemberment of Iran.

According to a letter Rep. Rohrabacher sent to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton last week:

Aiding the legitimate aspirations of the Azeri people for independence is a worthy cause in and of itself. Yet, it also poses a greater danger to the Iranian tyrants than the threat of bombing its underground nuclear research bunkers.

I am not going to dwell on the audacity of this particular call. US politicians have always assumed rhetorical and behavioral privileges that they denounce as outright ugly, even evil, when practiced by others. Imagine a member of a Parliament from another country sending out a letter to their government asking for support to be given to Hawaiian nationalists or for the return of California to Mexico. I guess being a superpower has its privileges.

I am not going to dwell on the history that comes to mind after reading Rohrabacher’s letter either. Nevertheless, 1828 was the year that Iran, under the Qajar Dynasty, was forced to sign the Turkmenchay Treaty, ceding territory to Russia after its defeat in war (along with territorial loss, Iran also lost all navigation rights in the Caspian Sea while the Russians gained capitulation rights and the privilege of sending consulate envoys anywhere in Iran). So, it will be quite a revelation for most Iranians, including most Azeri-Iranians, that according to Rohrabacher’s press release, the Azeri “homeland was divided by Russia and Persia in 1928” ; even if this revisionist history may do good for the Iranian ego by portraying the abysmally weak Iran of 1828 as quite a power.

What is most troubling, though, is the desire – you can also call it a dream or an urge – to harm contemporary Iran in any way possible and without any concern for implications. Rohrabacher’s letter was apparently prompted by recent news stories concerning a budding military cooperation between Israel and the Azerbaijan Republic.

“It would be wise for the United States to encourage such cooperation, as the aggressive dictatorship in Tehran is our enemy as well as theirs,” writes Rohrabacher. “The people of Azerbaijan are geographically divided and many are calling for the reunification of their homeland after nearly two centuries of foreign rule.”

Let’s decode this. In a single sentence, a people and a territory are joined and the separation of one territory from a country so that it can be joined to another country is made simple. Given the desire to pose a danger that is even “greater than…bombing its underground nuclear research bunkers,” there seems to be no need to contemplate the fact that millions of Iranian Azeris live outside of the four Iranian provinces of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Ardebil, and Zanjan wherein Azeris are prominent, and a large percentage of the population in West Azerbaijan are Kurds and not Azeris. These are apparently irrelevant facts for Rohrabracher and most of the Iran-obsessed US politicians who also cannot be bothered with inconvenient details.

The task of posing “a greater danger” – read destabilizing the Islamic Republic – is all that matters without a second of thought given to the potential costs of fomenting this kind of destabilization in terms of lost lives and livelihoods. Let’s make trouble is the motto and who cares what happens afterwards. Nothing — not even the calamities that the invasion of Iraq and now the unplanned escalation in Syria have wrought – worries the conscience of these US politicians.

It would have been easy to ignore the “let’s do more harm” crowd if their philosophies have not at least in part shaped US foreign policy. Rohrabracher’s call for the independence of greater Azerbaijan will probably be ignored, at least for now, but the urge to make as much trouble for a country that is ridiculously – given its comparatively limited resources – identified as “the greatest threat to U.S. Security” without any thought given to the implications for Iran’s social and political fabrics or consequential further regional instability remains.

Print Friendly and PDF

About the Author


Farideh Farhi is an Independent Scholar and Affiliate Graduate Faculty at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. She has taught comparative politics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Hawai'i, University of Tehran, and Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran. Her publications include States and Urban-Based Revolutions in Iran and Nicaragua (University of Illinois Press) and numerous articles and book chapters on compartative analyses of revolutions and Iranian politics. She has been a recipient of grants from the United States Institute of Peace and the Rockefeller Foundation and was most recently a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank and the International Crisis Group.

12 Responses to Searching for yet Another Alternative to War with Iran

  1. avatar babak says:

    Right so you’ve got a bunch of Persians sitting in California lecturing everyone on azerbaijan history.

    I was born in Tabriz with both my parents from south azerbaijan and 3 of my grandparents from south and 1 grandparent from North Azerbaijan. You can call me Babak Ozturk ( oz = pure >>> Ozturk = pure turkish)

    I can tell you the sentiment in azerbaijan has gone from modestly opposed to Tehran rule to extremely opposed to Tehran rule. Dont believe me, lets have a referendum where “WE THE PEOPLE” decide.

    Now let me educate the author a bit here. The people of California and Hawaii are free to talk separation. Congressman from both parties have done it on the record. There is a petition for separation on the white house website for each 50 states. The Americans are free to express themselves Not winning the debate is another matter.

    We the people of Azerbaijan are not free to talk separation under this regime or the one before it or the next Government in Tehran if there will ever be one. ( which i seriously doubt given the Islamic regime’s strong support in the rural south and in cities like Mashad, Isfahan, …….. )

    If these persians (or as i call them Fars Ali) on this website are “confident about how desperately in love we must be with afghan oops I mean persian culture”
    enough said.

    Just to clarify that I am not giving the impression of victim-hood here i must point out that our enemy is the weakest, most-pathetic, most-hated, most-loserly country on the map as of 2014, thus rendering us the “luckiest unlucky people”.

  2. avatar behzad says:

    i wonder about thoes one who are considering themselves azari in comments and of course are sepration suporters i am azari too but i couldnt found these massive suporters . i am agree with this idea that azarbaijans must be reunite but with this form: repoblic of azarbijan must rejoint to IRAN and soon or late it will happen, .
    yashasin azarilar yashasin iran azalilar .

Back to Top ↑