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IRAN: Diplomacy of Brotherhood

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Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan

By Kourosh Ziabari

Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan Summit

The trilateral summit of the Presidents of three Persian-speaking countries of Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan wrapped up on August 5 in Tehran and recorded another unforgettable event in the memory of the three brother nations. With innumerable cultural, religious, social, lingual and strategic commonalities, the three countries of Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan have demonstrated their potentiality to build one of the strongest diplomatic partnerships in the region and benefit the world nations through a unique, fruitful and constructive cooperation.

The people of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, whose countries were parts of the Greater Persia in ancient times, consider Iran as their cultural homeland and believe that the Iranian nation is the inheritor of their paternal legacy, the Persian civilization.

I had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with the Tajikistan ambassador in Tehran for the local weekly magazine last month in which I discovered for the first time that the roots of cordiality and affinity between Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan are so deep and robust that one can hardly imagine. The Tajikistani ambassador Ramadan Mirza talked of Iran so enthusiastically and passionately that I felt for a while that he is in actuality more Iranian than I am. He called Iran a brother nation several times, talked of Tehran as an ancient and respectable city, paid homage to the antiquity and preciousness of Persian language as the common heritage of Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan and told me of his early childhood’s aspiration of visiting Iran. He told me that when, under the soviet dominance, he was attending the high school in Tajikistan, he read about the historical sites of Iran such as the mausoleum of Persian poet Saadi, the tomb of Cyrus the Great or the ancient site of Persepolis in his school textbooks and since then, it became his ambition to visit these sites one day. He said that when he was selected to his mission as the Tajikistan ambassador in Tehran, his 50-year-long dream came true and he finally succeeded in visiting the sites which seemed to him unreachable and inaccessible long ago. Mr. Mirza told me that it is his honor to serve as his country’s ambassador in Tehran where he can freely visit the four corners of Iran whenever he likes.

It was in this interview that Mr. Mirza revealed for the first time that the Tajikistani President Emomali Rahmon has formally asked his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Nowrouz festival of 2011 be held in Persepolis which is actually the native soil of Nowrouz.

Nowrouz is a set of ancient festivities held at the beginning of vernal equinox to mark the commencement of new solar year.

He also pointed to the fact the despite the longstanding dominance of Russia over the newly-established state of Tajikistan, the Tajik people has never forgotten their maternal Persian language. It’s noteworthy that since Tajikistan was separated from the Greater Persia during the Russo-Persian wars of 1860s, the Soviet rulers launched a de-Persianization project in Tajikistan where almost everyone would speak Persian and write in the Iranian alphabet. The history of Russia’s relations with Iran narrates the bitter story that the Eastern superpower never dealt with Iran in a sincere, truthful and loyal manner. Traditionally, the Iranian nation thinks of Russia as a betraying, hypocritical and oppressive state which has shown its hostility towards the Southern neighbor on various occasions. One clear instance is the de-Persianization project in which the national media outlets, schools, public offices and universities of Tajikistan were banned from using the Persian alphabet and forced to employ Cyrillic alphabet instead. This was an artificial and uninteresting incorporation of the Russian culture into Tajikistan which had been an inseparable constituent of Iran’s large puzzle of cultural heritage since the establishment of Achaemenid dynasty 2500 years ago.

Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan have the capability to form a powerful political coalition. They share the same language, religion and cultural background and this is something which is a rarity in the contemporary world. They have common ideological objectives and since they’ve historically suffered from the subjugation of the superpowers, they seek independence and freedom. The closeness of the three countries is evident in their broad collaborations in various fields including academic exchanges, agricultural cooperation, military ties, financial relations and cultural collaborations. The three countries are slated to launch a trilateral Persian-language TV channel which is based in Dushanbe and will be broadcasting programs produced by each party. A long railway will be connecting the three countries in near future. All of them are the members of Organization of Islamic Conference and Non-Aligned Movement. They also sit at the same table in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as member states.

The joint declaration of the fourth summit of the heads of states of Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Republic of Tajikistan was compiled in 14 articles and signed by the three presidents who have planned to hold the fifth joint meeting in Afghanistan in 2011.

In the 5th article, the three brother countries emphasized the importance of trilateral financial relations and highlighted the expansion of economic transactions through empowering and assisting the merchants and investors of each country.

In the 7th article, the three parties supported the development of cultural, scientific and educational cooperation and underscored the significance of joint planning for collaboration in the fields of culture, literature, history, common cultural heritage and sports.

In the 9th article, they announced their complete readiness to combat extremism, terrorism, organized crimes and drug trafficking which pose serious threats to the security and stability of the three countries.

In the 11th article, the three countries stressed the importance of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and underlined the inalienable right of the NPT member states to use the nuclear power for peaceful purposes under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The fifth joint summit of the presidents of Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan will be held next year and its date will be announced very soon.

Overall, it seems that the expansion of relations between the three Persian-speaking countries who are bound together through ancient cultural ties will serve to meet the interests of the Central Asian and Middle Eastern nations and contribute to the sustainable and durable stability and development in the region.

Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian freelance journalist. He has interviewed political commentator and linguistNoamChomsky, member of New Zealand parliament Keith Locke, Australian politician Ian Cohen, member of German Parliament Ruprecht Polenz, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, former U.S. National Security Council Advisor Peter D. Feaver, Nobel Prize laureate in Physics Wolfgang Ketterle, Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry Kurt Wüthrich, Nobel Prize laureate in biology Robin Warren, famous German political prisoner Ernst Zündel, Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff, American author Stephen Kinzer, syndicated journalist Eric Margolis, former assistant of the U.S. Department of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts, American-Palestinian journalist Ramzy Baroud, former President of the American Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sid Ganis, American international relations scholar Stephen Zunes, American singer and songwriter David Rovics, American political scientist and anthropologist William Beeman, British journalist Andy Worthington, Australian author and blogger Antony Loewenstein, Iranian geopolitics expert Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, American historian and author Michael A. Hoffman II and Israeli musician Gilad Atzmon

Ziabari is  a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.

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  1. Yes those three countries has linguistic and cultural links – so is the Indian sub-continent. Before the British occupation of the region in the 18th century, Persian was official language under Mughal Dynasty.

    However, Tehran has to be very careful in dealing with the regimes of its neighbors like Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. They all have friendly relations with Muslim enemies – the US, Israel and India. Population wise, Iran is more closer to Azerbaijan than any other neighboring country. Approximately two-third of world’s Azeri people live in the Islamic Republic. The defeated Presidential candidate, Mir Mousavi is an Azeri.

    Afghanistan and Tajikistan have Indian and American military bases. Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan both maintain very close relations with the US and Israel.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/azerbaijan-israel-nato-connection/

  2. IRAN, may claim on bases of language a link with Tajikistan, & in a remote period,incursions too in the lands of old Turks,while the Persian language, did influence the world,that too is a fact,but basically the lands across the amu or jihun or oxus have been traditionally of the turk,if it had been otherwise ENVER PASHA would not ventured and died for this cause, i.e in pursuit of the,” KIZIL ELMA ”.
    But what disturbs one the most is the TRIPARTITE DEFENSE,agreement betweeN, IRAN,AFGHANISTAN & INDIA, as to tajikistan the rail road refered by the author to link chah bahar the irani naval port above our GAWADAR,and DUSAHNABE is being built by indian army rail road engineers, tajikistan has also given on lease two air bases to india,where are parked indian SU-30,equipped with nuclear warheads, from tajikistan fly Indian air force PHILCON the eyes in skies, given to India by ISRAEL,
    Iran VERY CONVENIENTLY PUBLICLY denounces Israel, however in reality has sent all its old soviet weaponry to be upgrade, from India,where Israeli technicians do the job.
    Iran should revoke its defense agreement with INDIA, as a goodwill gesture, withdraw the Indian army engineers from its soil,and give the same contract to Pakistan.otherwise it is all hog wash which Iran is playing with us.it is time to differentiate between friend and foe, and RETURN OUR 100 TANKS,which they used up in Iraq war without the permission from the people of Pakistan.the tanks had been sent to Iran to be retrofitted on the wishes of the Americans, as they were old M-47
    &48,

  3. iyamwutiam says:

    Robespierre once said:
    Terror is only justice: prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country.

    What are the most pressing wants of Pakistan/Iran/India/Iraq/ajikstan/etc? Would it not be to free from a most vile dependency of a former abuser, usurper and colonial master/s (a cabal that still seeks to fatten itself by feasting on our nations) from the most vital of all needs -the capacity to be sovereign in all respects!! The most pressing wants of the region is the most important adjunct of sovereignty –self -defense! . Whether it be done by stealth, covertly and with my much despised neighbor -so be it .

    Unfortunately Pavlovian responses designed to create a fractious, unstable and DEPENDENT region dominant the mental/emotional, spiritual and most importantly pragmatic fabric of the sub-continent and beyond.The lessons from Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan and yes die hard denialists -even our own beloved Pakistan. What is TRULY important. Review recent history with its externally imposed blockades, sanctions and inability to sustain conflict for the sake of true sovereignty. Iran is cannibalizing parts for an aging made in USA fighter pilot force, Iraq was cut asunder like a helpless child and before that became the willing fool to murder its neighbors -its Islamic neighbors with which it had a conjoined history going back for tens of centuries! Now its soil festers with depleted uranium and its mothers give birth to tragic genetic monsters.

    Foolish persistence of this obviously failed and failing method can and has led to the same results again and again -a true description of insanity. Look away from the mesmerizing hypnotism of division and petty self interest -disembark from the ship of fools crafted for you by the devious and the wicked.

    Even it be my so-caled hated enemy that grants me access to technology and craft by which I may defend myself ad insulate my people from the noose of the UN/NATO/G5 – I would swallow my rancor, suppress the shallow memories of a few decades and focus on the most important thing. To escape the prison of dependency cast by a handful of nations that have proven by the centuries that they would rather incinerate us on the pyre of materialism that let us live in peace, harmony and brotherhood. Apparently human sacrifice has been refined beyond heroic and societal proportions of ancient cultures and transformed into a cabalistic policy that works hand in glove for the assured destruction of all non-whites till it shall end in (preferably) the extinction or wore the complete perversion (via globalization) of ancient truths and more importantly common survival and quality of life.

    Foolish men -as Kabir said:
    Kabir Look at you, you madman! Screaming you are thirsty and dying in a desert, when all around you there is nothing but water!

    Will we refuse to the well and irrigate our futures ? Shall we continue petty animosity while plunging our nations into further addiction! Have we truly forgotten what is important or are we a collective region of cowardice who would rather feed by taking the blows of the master? One must -MUST- align with a view that there is nothing more important than freeing oneself from the clutches of an external foe. I would rather die holding the hand of my cousin/s -however far removed than the hand of a colonialist or Zionist -who has shown their commitment to the vilification of all that I hold dear. So in short- we must not participate in the self-flagellation of our regional body -but rather heal and be strong -as hard and painful it may be for some who have fostered and nurtured the more comfortable addiction of hate thy neighbor and love my master.

  4. They are talking about brotherhood relation at a time that it has frequently been reporting about a possible Iran and Taliban link and there is also evidence which suggesting cross border trafficking of weapons to Taliban. In addition, Iran is also suspected of training insurgents along the border in Afghanistan
    Another issue that all these three countries considering are to create a joint Farsi speaking television channel. This is a very sensitive issue in Afghanistan because many people do not consider Afghanistan as a Farsi speaking country because Pashtuns are the majority and the language of the Tajik ethnic group in Afghanistan is Dari not Farsi. It is not acceptable for the Afghans that their country is recognized by different name or identity because it is considered damaging to their national and historical identities. There is a difference in broadcasting policies of these three countries since Afghan and Tajik media is more open than Iran which has more censorship policy. The Afghan officials will not be interested to have only Farsi program broadcasting through this channel but they would be interested to have broadcasting in Pashto language as well. There are also concerns among the Afghans that Iran may use this channel to promote their political and ideological views as it will broadcast anti-American propaganda. Since Iran has more experience and television programs compare to Afghanistan so this new Farsi speaking shared television channel will be dominated by Iranian programs.

  5. Mansoor Malik says:

    Yes, this is the only way forward to have good relations with the immediate neighbors and keep the foreign interests at bay.The Muslim world had long been divided under the Cold War Scenario and time has come for each of these countries to take up the cudgels and get closer for the benefit for all.

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