Iranians have a long list of historical grievances against the British. Yes, the Brits never paid their contracted royalties on Iranian oil extraction i.e. they literally stole Iranian oil for over 50 years in the 20th Century. And then there was the key event of the 1953 coup which toppled the nationalist Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, and entrenched the repressive rule of the last Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The coup was spearheaded by the CIA but engineered by Winston Churchill’s government after Mossadegh had nationalized the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, on whose revenues the exchequer was heavily dependent. And, in the 19th century, Iran had been a pawn in the imperial game between Britain and Tsarist Russia, with the British using it as a buffer to defend the jewel of its colonial possessions, India. Not to be forgotten was 1890 tobacco concession granted by Nasir al-Din Shah of Persia to Great Britain, granting British control over the growth, sale and export of tobacco – which was widely despised by Iranians.
Oh, and let’s not forget the coordinated Western effort (led by Britain) to topple the Shah and land Khomeini in Tehran on a French Government chartered Air France 747 and thus throw Iran into the dark ages of theocracy and religious fundamentalism. All part of a British ‘revenge’ scheme to render Iranians FUBAR (F*cked up beyond all reason, or F*cked up beyond all recognition or F*cked up beyond all repair) – for simply asserting their mineral rights in the 50’s, while humiliating and catching the Brits red handed in theft! Iran is so screwed up with Britain’s mullahs that no matter what, they can’t rid themselves of the Theocracy virus imposed by Britain and its allies.
Let’s not forget that the West sold a nuclear power plant to the Iran, but then turned around to use those same Nuclear facilities as a pretext for sanctions and containment of Iran! And in the process stole Iranian sovereignty in the Caspian Sea, Chah Bahar, Persian Gulf …. For the last 40 years. They couldn’t steal the oil inside Iran, so they conveniently stole Iranian territory to grab the same mineral rights.
They not only impose the Mullahs on Iran, but then sanction and contain Iran (and Iranians) to totally impoverish the nation. And then they have encouraged these British Colonial Kingdoms (what were once Bedouin villages) in the Southern Persian Gulf (Dubai, Doha etc.) to become trans-shipment points, for highly inflated priced sanctioned shipments to Iran. And, in turn, they converted these villages into skyscraper laced modern metropolises, to essentially show the finger to Iranians … look you could have had all this but look at you now!
Some revenge! Its humiliating. Its dirty, and disgusting! And systematic!
Usually when you mention all this to someone in the West, they say ‘its’ business. But Iranians can, in forums like this, at least push back a little by pointing point out how they have been systematically abused by Britain (and the West) long before there was Oil in Iran. Take ordinary, common (British) English language expressions as a simple illustration of this constant abuse!
Brits make undignified references to Iranians as part of their common British vernacular, in clever snide ways. A snide comment or remark is one which criticizes someone in an unkind and often indirect way. Its nasty, sneering, malicious, mean but often underhanded. It’s said in a way that in fact the recipient doesn’t even appreciate its defamatory nature. Here is a good example: “Do I look fat in this dress?” – “It’s not the dress.”
The Brits are experts at being snide. Its in their culture. Through language Brits f*** you, without you even knowing it! And long before Britain stole Iranian oil or engineered the rise of Khomeini – the Brits were undermining Iran and Iranians with snide references to Iran.
Don’t believe me? Well, here (below) are some examples of very common British expressions for Iran, Iranians, things Iranian – that on the surface seem okay, but are in fact cleverly snide:
The term Shiite is supposed to refer to the folks that follow the Shia religion. For your reference, 95% of Iranians are Shia. They are therefore Shiites? Right? WRONG!! The Shia are the Shia … there is no requirement to add an ‘ite’ to refer to them!
But to understand why this is so snide, look again at how close the term Shiite is to Shit. If I hadn’t gone to school in England, and hung around the Brits, I would never quite appreciate how f’ing clever this made up term is. Calling Iranians Shiite is basically like saying Iranians are shit without Iranians ever figuring it out. Its clever. Its snide. And the Brits privately, quietly snigger about it.
People, for whom English is NOT their first language take this at face value, because they may have heard of Mennonite (someone that follows the Amish Faith), or Socialite (someone that socializes) or Transvestite (someone that cross dresses). In the English language ITE refers to follower of! Taken at face value, it appears innocent. Surely, if they follow the Shia faith, they must be Shiite. Except that it is not.
Collectively, adherents of Shi’i Islam are called the Shīʿah, which is short for Shīʿatu ʿAlī meaning “followers of Ali”, “faction of Ali”, or “party of Ali”; Shīʿī denotes both the singular noun and the adjective form, while Shīyāʿ refers to the plural noun. Shiʻa, Shia, Shiʻism are the proper forms used that should be used in English, for adherents, mosques, and things associated with the religion. It is a Shia Mosque, not Shiite Mosque. They are Shiya i.e. the plural noun (not Shiites). Shiite is a British term (period) and has nothing to do with the Shia faith or its adherents.
Just so you know, Iran adopted Shiism largely in a political move by the then Safavi rulers who pushed back against Sunni dominant conquerors of Iran (the Ottomans, and prior to that the Arabs) – to reassert Iranian ‘differentiation’ and ‘nationalism’ in the 16th Century via religion by adopting “Twelver Shiism”. It was a strategically brilliant, shrewd move and ‘forced’ upon what was then Iran and Iranians (where possible) – whose legacy is still evident today (from Iran to Iraq, to Syria to Lebanon to Pakistan, to Afghanistan etc.). Iran today, is much smaller than the region the Safavi Dynasty ruled.
- The Middle East
Iran surely is in the Middle East. No?
Middle to whom, I ask? Middle from where. Yes, there is a Far East, again far from where? And then if you have the far east, there must be a middle east! Right? And
The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East (as opposed to the Far East) beginning in the early 20th century, while Britain controlled roughly 25% of the world. There is also the broader concept of the “Greater Middle East” that also adds the Maghreb, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, that sometimes includes even parts of Central Asia and Transcaucasia into the region.
In any event, the term “Middle East” is confusing. It basically makes the “West” a reference point for everything. In turn, its another snide attempt at making everything else, and everyone else somehow secondary – almost subliminally submissive. Oh, you are from the Middle East, that’s halfway to India or the Far East, from us (the center of the globe, and center of all civilization)! It makes the West (Britain that is), a datum – the standard – the reference!
How f’ing snide?
In fact, in my humble opinion, its very clear that before the Brits even set foot in the region and cut it up according to ‘their’ interests, Mesopotamia (i.e. the land between the two rivers: Tigris and Euphrates) was geographically the natural dividing line between the Arabs and the Persians. Arabia, (i.e. people who speak Arabic primarily stretch from there to Morocco in North Africa). Arabs are also further separated from other Africans by the natural barrier of the Sahara Desert. Arabs follow the lunar calendar and follow other Arab traditions (food, religion etc.) Iranians on the other hand, are inhabitants of the Iranian plateau – from the Indus River to the Euphrates. Iranians speak the Persian language and follow the solar calendar (and follow Iranian traditions (food, religion etc.). Iranians are different to Arabs. Glopping them together is simply nonsense. Iranians have a lot in common with all the ‘stans, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan etc. (Stan by the way is a Persian suffix meaning land). Many Persian poets were born in the ‘stans (i.e. outside current Iran). In many ways, because of the huge connectivity between Iran and the ‘stans, it is more accurate to refer to Iran as a Central Asia nation.
It is in fact far more correct to refer to Arabia and Central Asia – if you had to associate countries into regions. The term Middle East should simply be abandoned. If you really want to glop Arabia with Central Asia, then just refer to the whole region as West Asia.
Or if you want to have a ‘department’ to manage your affairs in North Africa and Middle East (often referred to as MENA), call it WANA now West Asia and North Africa! Forget about using the term Middle East – its arrogant and snide. No Iranians are not second class to anyone! The term Middle East is a British term and has nothing to do with the geography of the region!
- Persia versus Iran
Iran is a modified term for Aryan. Iranians inhabit the Iranian plateau. The idea is that if you are in China, and you come over the Himalayan mountains on the West, into the plateau between the Indus River and the Euphrates (all the way up to the Caucus Mountains) you come across Aryan featured people with round eyes, and “Caucasian” features… Iranians.
This plateau has been home to many tribes over the past 5000 years (including by the way Semites, Kurds, Afghans, Mazandaranis, Gilakis, Azeris, Persians…) They are having strong genetic connections to each other, and have deep rooted linguistic, cultural, historic roots that interweaves the tribes into one national basket – Iran.
In the heart of the Iranian plateau, bordering the Persian Gulf (waterway), sit the Persian tribe. The Persians, which are ONE of the regional tribes, had a great deal of influence in the whole region largely because this region hosted the regional capitals of many ‘regional’ governments for many centuries! The “Persian” empire was based there. And out of the Persian empire – many regional elements such as language, culture, religion (Zoroastrianism), calendar etc. dissipated across the region. But Persians are ONE of many tribes.
The Pars (Persian) Province, is near the center of the oil industry and where Oil was originally discovered. And the oil company that emerged from that early exploration was called the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later changed its name to Anglo-Iranian Oil company, and later changed its name to BP).
It is disrespectful to many Iranians to call the country Persia – because in fact, Persians, are simply one of many tribes that inhabit the plateau. Iranians from all regions died to protect Iran’s sovereignty over the centuries – including invasions from Russia, Arabia, even encroachment from the Brits in India.
“Greater Iran”, refers to a wider region including the Stans – who share many cultural, historic, linguistic, etc. connections with Iranians. On example of this connectivity is the celebration of No Ruz (New Year) across the whole region.
I do in fact recognize that by referring to Persia, many Brits are not trying to be snide. Because the term Persian refers to many things – i.e. Persian Cats, Persian Limes, Persian Carpets, Persian language etc. which are in fact appreciated. But people in the West need to be clear, referring to something as being Persian is like calling Britain England! Yes, we call the language of Britain English, and it is spoken in Wales, Ireland, US, Australia, Scotland etc. But Australians are NOT English. To call Australia England, could in fact be taken the wrong way by an Australian! There are many different types of Iranians, like there are different Brits, like there are different Arabs.
Do you get how it can be offensive (and snide)?
- Arabian Gulf
On almost all maps printed before 1960, and in most modern international treaties, documents and maps, this body of water is known by the name “Persian Gulf”. This reflects traditional usage since the Greek geographers Strabo and Ptolemy, and the geopolitical realities of the time with a powerful Persian Empire comprising the whole northern coastline and a scattering of local emirates on the Arabian coast. It was referred to as the Persian Gulf by the Arabic Christian writer Agapius, writing in the 10th century.
An official letter from former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to a Bahraini official. The name “Persian Gulf” has been used. The document dates before the initiation of Nasser’s pan-Arabism policies.
According to authors Philip L. Kohl, Mara Kozelsky, and Nachman Ben-Yehuda in their work Selective Remembrances, Sir Charles Belgrave (British adviser to the ruler of Bahrain) was “the first westerner to use and advocate the name ‘Arabian gulf’, first in the journal Soat al-Bahrain (Voice of Bahrain) in 1955.” Mahan Abedin of The Jamestown Foundation agrees with this, noting that Arab countries used the term “Persian Gulf” until the 1960s.
Later, someone in Britain (probably a poor map publisher) probably figured that he could milk Arabs by printing maps calling the Persian Gulf the Arabian Gulf. And for some strange reason, for the last 50 years or so, many maps emanating out of Britain especially have been referring to this body of water as the Arabian Gulf.
The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names discussed the naming issue during its 23rd session, held in Vienna from 28 March to 4 April 2006. According to the report of the meeting, “It is interesting that from among 6000 existing historical maps published up to 1890, there are only three maps mentioning the names of Basreh Gulf, Ghatif Gulf, and Arabic Gulf, in addition to which the name of small gulfs located at the coast with local utilization can be also named such as Chah Bahar Gulf, Siraf Gulf, Basreh Gulf, Ghatif Gulf, Bahrain Gulf,…. but such names are not applied to the entirety of the Persian Gulf. It is obvious that the promotional use by the Arabs of the three aforementioned maps, (whose identity originated in Britain), in comparison with 6000 maps and more than 200 historical and tourism books from Irastus to Herodotus to Estakhri and Ibn Houghal, who have all called the water body, Persian Gulf, shall lack any value.”
But the Brits have influence! They have now persuaded the Americans to do the same. With hostilities between the US and Iran, the US Navy (of all people) has started to refer to this body of water as the Arabian Gulf, even though ALL US maps have been referring to this body as the Persian Gulf for centuries.
It’s a ludicrous situation. It’s basically designed to be spiteful and disrespectful to Iran and Iranians. Its snide.
- Other Snide References Involving “Splintering”: Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Baluchistan, Khuzestan…
Depending on which way the wind is blowing, and what strategic nonsense is at play, on any given day, a British publication might push a story about reunification of North and South Azerbaijan, or a new Independent (landlocked) Kurdish state, or Free Baluchistan or Free Khuzestan, etc.
It’s no secret that Britain is behind the Aliev dictatorship in Azerbaijan; and BP has been a big ‘exploiter’ of Caspian Sea oil fields (at Iran’s expense). And occasionally, there is reference in British publications about Azeris in Iran being oppressed, and the re-unification of Azerbaijan. Of course, the Brits forget that until Russia invaded Iran, Azeris were ALL inside Iran, as simply another Iranian ethnic group. And then they forget that in fact that they (Azeris) too are devout Shia Muslims. Let’s not that Iran’s Safavi Dynasty (who converted Iran to the Shia faith) were all Azeris and grew out of Tabriz (in the heart of Azerbaijan).
It is no secret that Kurds (outside Iran) have been aligned with the West for some time now. There has been a steady narrative about the “Kurdish” state in the media, even though, we all know the Kurdish language is fundamentally Persian. The Kurds celebrate no-ruz and have always been umbilically linked to their Iran.
I could go on and on and on about all these underhanded (snide) ‘splintering’ verbiage emanating out of the British press. They serve no one’s interest except their own. What if the shoe was on the other foot? How would they feel if Iran’s press and funding too, by the way (because we know who is behind all these separatist movements) went into Scottish or Welsh separatist movements?
Bottom line, like so many things in the region, just about every reference to the region, including the borders of nation states are illegitimate and contrived by Western colonizers against the wishes and aspirations of the indigenous people. All these references are inherently disrespectful and arrogant – or put another way, snide. Iranians were always looked down upon by the Brits – “Wogs” to be stolen from, unworthy of any dignity or respect.
Iranians must push back. Iranians must highlight this snide, and evil pattern. And ultimately, undermine every British interest in the region who for so long have been instruments of pain for the nation of Iran.
First and foremost, Iranians must topple the Mullahs – their agents. Then, Iranians must exert their own brand of nationalism, and ensure that in every global forum, these derogatory British terms are ‘corrected’. There must be no further reference to Shiites, the Middle East, Persia, the Arabian Gulf, or the splintering of Iran. Iranians must stand proud, firm and assertive in protecting their own dignity. We should NOT be quiet, silent, passive participants.
Proactive steps must be taken to ensure Iranians are no longer humiliated in this way. If there are Iranian student or tourist travel bans, then Iran must ensure British or American travelers are unable to enter anywhere in the whole region. Iran can also ban Arab airlines (on whose revenues these little British colonial Kingdoms depend) from its airspace if they do not use the proper “Persian Gulf” term. If they sanction Iran, then Iran too must sanction back any trade with the whole region – including to these little British colonial Kingdoms in the Southern Persian Gulf. Any sort of disrespect must be paid back in full. Any snide remark must be responded to. If the Brits (and their allies) can’t learn to respect Iran and those of Iranian heritage, then Iran and Iranians must respond accordingly.
Abuse that has systematically been administered on Iran and Iranians must completely cease. I do realize that the average “British” person is not aware of all this. That Britons overall are loving, caring, and respectful people. It is clearly an ‘elite’ who responsible for this abuse. But it is systematic abuse. And it must com to an end.