Newsletter 32

National Conference of “The Persian Gulf for the Persian Gulf Nations” at the Iranology Foundation

Newsletter 32

The national Conference of “The Persian Gulf for the Persian Gulf Nations” was held at the Iranology Foundation on 3 December 2018. Dr. Hamed Forouzan, Executive Secretary of the Conference and Research Deputy of the Iranology Foundation, after referring to the high frequency of the conferences held in the field of Persian Gulf Studies at the Iranology Foundation, maintained that the purpose of holding this Conference was to examine the different aspects of the problems of this geographical region in relation to the past, present, and future of its residents. The main approach of the Conference was to free this important region from the invasions and interferences of trans-regional powers and place its affairs in the hands of its local nations.

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The Executive Secretary of the Conference also announced that the selected papers of the Conference will be published in the Quarterly of Persian Gulf Studies and indexed in the Journals Bank of the country and the website of theIranology Foundation.

Ayatullah Professor Seyyed Muhammed Khamenei, President of the Iranology Foundation, delivered a speech on the legal status of the Persian Gulf within the framework of the International law, as approved by the whole world. Initially, he mentioned that the Persian Gulf is a closed waterway and, from a historical point of view and based on the international law, those gulfs the coasts of which are shared by different nations with a rich history are called historical gulfs. He continued by saying, “The Persian Gulf belongs to Iran and its adjacent countries, and the name of Persian Gulf has been chosen by the peoples living on its coasts in the course of history. If we adopt the right approach in this regard, no one will dare to use a forged name for this waterway.”

The speaker added that the most important danger threatening this region is the presence of foreigners and their weaponry there and emphasized that international pirates and bandits do not have the right to exploit this region. He also noted that, in order to protect the security of Iran and the other countries of the Persian Gulf region, the presence of foreign powers there should be taken into consideration in developing the general and macro policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Given the significance of the Persian Gulf at the world level, the President of the Iranology Foundation introduced it as a blissful waterway in terms of energy economics and warned that, if the oil export of one of the countries in the region stops even for a single day, irreparable damages will be inflicted upon international trade in the field of energy. Undoubtedly, such damages will also affect the economy of the powerful countries of the world.

The speaker added, “The Persian Gulf has always been the source of blessing, and we must make optimal use of its numerous unique potentials, which have always been at the service of humanity. Ayatullah Professor Khamenei emphasized that the Islamic Revolution brought honor and glory to Iranians once more and, thus, he recommended the authorities to protect and honor this achievement.

The next speaker of this Conference was Sardar Brigadier General and Islamic Revolutionary Guard, Dr. Ahmad Vahidi, who is also the Commandant of the Supreme National Defense University. He said that imperialist leaders always accuse Iran of expansionism, and Iran’s only reaction to such absurd accusations has always been to patiently stand against such cruelties. All this compromise has been for the sake of seeking a more important goal, that is, the security of the region. He also stated that, given the important geopolitical and economic dimensions of the Persian Gulf and its rich oil and gas resources, this waterway must function as an economic zone, while today it has turned into a security sensitive region.

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He continued his speech by emphasizing that the presence of foreign powers in the region is totally purposeful and biased and stated that their main goal is to destroy the economic and energy-oriented function of the Persian Gulf. The general added that the continuation of frequent conflicts and aimless conflicts in the region has taken a toll on the nations living there, while the advantages of such atrocities have been enjoyed by foreign countries and imperialists.

In response to the questions of why the Persian Gulf countries are working to the advantage of their enemies and to their own disadvantage, and whether the military atmosphere of the region is what the Persian Gulf countries desire, or whether it has been imposed upon them, Dr. Vahidi said that, during the last decade, the Islamic Republic of Iran has frequently discussed he general security of the region because of the numerous ethnic, cultural, and religious characteristics shared by the neighboringcountries. He emphasized that, if these countries cooperate with each other, we will witness an unprecedented level of progress and development in this region, and Iran has frequently announced its readiness for solving regional crises and establishing local and joint security in the Persian Gulf.

At the end of his speech, Brigadier General Vahidi referred to the use of some forged names for the Persian Gulf by the submissive Arab countries and imperialist leaders in order to disrupt regional order and security and create conflicts with Iran. He said that, in spite of Iran’s continuous efforts to establish security in the Persian Gulf, stop the interference of foreign invasive countries, and expel the authoritarian governments that seek to expand their territories through military measures, we cannot unfortunately promise that we will succeed in establishing regional security even with the cooperation of Persian Gulf countries. Therefore, it is very useful that the Iranology Foundation and other related organizations continue such programs and conferences on the theme of the Persian Gulf and provide some solutions to regional problems and conflicts by paving the ground for dialogs among the elite, scholars, and representatives of, not governments, but different social classes among nations.

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During the rest of the Conference, the following speeches were presented:

• “Iran, the Persian Gulf, and International Policies” by Kazem Sajjadpour

• “Iran and the Future of Security Measures in the Persian Gulf Region” by Mohammad Mahdi Mazaheri

• “Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf and Existing Challenges” by Mohammad Hassan Nami

• “The Three Islands and International Policies in the Persian Gulf” by Kourosh Ahmadi

• “Sheikhdom of Sharjah: Initiator of the 1971 Abu Musa Agreement” by Mohammad Ali Bahmani Qajar

4th Edition of the Weekly “Iranology Mondays” Meetings

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The 4th edition of the weekly meetings of “Iranology Mondays” was held on 6th October 2018 on the theme of “Investigating the Factors Influencing the Continuity of Ancient Zurvanite and Mithraic Beliefs in the Islamic Period” in the Iranology Foundation. The speaker of this meeting was Mirza Mohammad Hassani, Faculty Member of the History Department of Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch.

According to the speaker, Zoroastrianism served as the state religion of the Sassanid Period in Iran in opposition to Manichaeism, Christianity, and Mazdakism. However, its status declined from the 7th century onwards and was replaced by the next world religion, Islam. During the Islamic Period, Zurvanism was criticized by Muslims because of its denying the existence of Heaven and Hell and determinism. As a result, many people gradually converted to Islam, and the Zoroastrian population became a minority before the Muslim majority. In Pahlavi texts and some books such as Aturfarn bag-i Farrux-zatanor The Story of Azarfarnbagh Farroxz?d?nreferences have been made to Iranians’ interest in Islam during 3rd and 4th centuries AH. This is because during this period the translation of the Holy Qur’an revealed some similarities between ancient Iranian’s beliefs and Islamic beliefs. One of the reasons for people’s lack of trust in Zurvanism and Mithraism was their misogynyand also the manly nature of most Mithraic traditions such as pahlevani (heroic) acts and asceticism. These religions did not even allow women to enter temples and did not view them as creatures of AhuraMazda or a good god. All such factors gradually led to an increase in interest in religions which granted more practical freedom to women. Moreover, the similarities between Iranian and Islamic beliefs, including the beliefs in God’s ability to resurrect people, existence of Heaven and Hell, and the principle of free will, resulted in Iranian’s converting to Islam. At the end of this meeting, some questions were asked and answered.

5th Edition of the Weekly Meetings of “Iranology Mondays”

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The 5th edition of the weekly meetings of “Iranology Mondays” on the title of “Zagros during the Paleolithic: A Glance at the Ancient Archeological Findings of the Environment” was held with presence of Ayatullah Professor Seyyed Muhammed Khamenei, President of the Iranology Foundation, on 13 October 2018. The speakers of this meeting were as follows:

1. Sonia Shidrang, Researcher at University of Bordeaux, “The First Archeological Findings about Modern Humans in Zagros: A Glance at Upper Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic Archeological Findings”

2. Fereidoun Biglari, Deputy for Cultural Affairs and Head of the Paleolithic Department of the National Museum of Iran, “The First Residents of the Zagros Region during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic Periods”

3. Arash Sharifi, Researcher in the field of Geology and Paleoclimatologist, “A Reconstruction of Paleoclimatology of Zagros: What we Know and the Challenge of What We Don’t Know”

According to Ayatullah Professor Khamenei, archeology does not simply mean digging the earth and placing the discovered artefacts in museums; archeology is one of the two pillars of the history of our nation. One of them is the narrative and written history, which is prone to some fake and defective data, and the other is a kind of archeology that reports facts. These two disciplines, alongside each other, provide some reliable documents regarding the history of different regions. After the Islamic Revolution, because of the attained freedom, different branches of archeology experienced growth and development.

The important point here is to demonstrate that this land has the potential to be the origin of human beings. In the course of history, whether before or after Islam, Iran has always been a producer or reinforcerof knowledge and a maker of civilizations. However, this country and its people have always suffered numerous cruelties, and the lack of a correct introduction of its history, culture, and civilization has resulted in the suppression of the truth about them. As a result, Iran has been introduced as a country without a historical identify. The remedy to such a malice of westerners is the same scientific flourishing that we are witnessing today. The more verifiable our scientific achievements are, the more our scientists and researchers can contribute to a real knowledge of the cultural and civilizational background of this land.

Regarding the Paleolithic findings in the Zagros region, Dr. Fereidoun Biglari said that, unfortunately, because of the scarcity of existing proofs, our knowledge of many of the cultural aspects and forms of the livelihood of the first inhabitants of Zagros inside Iran is very limited and superficial. More accurate excavations might lead us to the conclusion that homo erectus (upright man) appeared simultaneously both in Asia and Africa. The cultural feature of this spices of archaic humans is the production of stone tools.

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The greatest number of artefacts in relation to the Paleolithic in Iran have been found in West Zagros, that is, in Ilam, Kermanshah, and Lorestan provinces. The most interesting artefact from the Paleolithic is a hand axe found in the east of Kermanshah and is possibly more than 200/000 years old.

The speaker added that, fortunately, we have more information about the Middle Paleolithic. In fact, several areas and caves in relation to this period have been explored, and so many artefacts and remains such as stone tools, animal remains, human fossils, and signs of using fire have been found in this regard.

According to Dr. Sonia Shidrang, one of the important problems about the Upper Paleolithic is the origins of different things, as well as from where the culture of modern humans entered the Zagros region and southwest Asia. There is some competition in this regard between the two regions of the east of the Mediterranean Sea (Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine) and the Zagros region. When exploring Zagros, we encounter a 40,000-year culture represented by rock paintings, carvings, statuettes or figurines, and ornaments made of animal teeth. The culture of tool-making suddenly changed at this time, and such changes can also be witnessed in Europe and Southwest Asia.

The last speaker of this meeting was Dr. Arash Sharifi. He stated that climatic conditions are one of the most influential factors that can lead to the residence, expansion, and continuity of a civilization or human community. Zagros is a climatically complicated region because of its height and geographical status. Paleoclimatologists usually pose some questions in this regard, such as why humans chose this region as their residence, and if climatic changes had any effect on human societies.

The speaker continued by saying that the particular location of the Iranian Plateau on the route of the emigration of primitive people from Africa to Asia and Europe resulted in the huge scatteredness or spread of the residence centers of primitive people and the first village cores in the Iranian Plateau. Among them, the Zagros region, because of its specific geological structure, provided primitive people not only with ample hunting grounds and shelters but also, due to its abundant water resources, with a desirable cradle for the formation of rural and urban communities.

Holding the first Festival of “Iranology Website”

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The first Festival of “Iranology Website” will be held in two sections: legal and natural (including organizations and individuals) websites. The purpose of this Festival is to bring together the natural and legal owners and supporters of websites and webpages which are active in the field of Iranian studies and the related problems so that interested parties could exchange their ideas and information with each other. This Festival will be held under the supervision of the Iranology Foundation in order to identify the most optimal Iranology websites and promote their quality.

The participating websites will compete in five main areas, as follows:

1. History, Culture, Customs, and Traditions

2. Language, Persian Literature, Great Figures, and Iranologists

3. Art, architecture, and Archeology

4. Geography, Nature, and Tourism

5. Iranology Organizations, Research Centers, and News Agencies

Moreover, there will be a special section called the Persian Gulf Section.The rules of the Festival are as follows:

1. The content of the websites must be in conformity with the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

2. Each website must have an official natural or legal owner.

3. The (personal) data of the natural or legal owners must be registered in the website.

4. The website must have been continually updated during the last five years.

5. The website owner is responsible for the accuracy of the provided data.

6. Registration in the Festival can be done through the website of the Iranology Foundation.

7. Given the vast range and variety of the topics, it is necessary for website owners to register the addresses of their websites under one or two of the specified main areas of the Festival.

All interested participants must register through the Festival link of the website of the Iranology Foundation. After registering the address of their website, they will receive a user name and a password, by which they can track the process of their registration and participation in the Festival.

The participants can register in the Festival between 11 November and 11 December 2018. The Festival will be held on 25 February 2019.

6th Edition of the Weekly Meetings of “Iranology Mondays”

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The 6th edition of the weekly meetings of “Iranology Mondays” with the title of “Myths in Iranian Culture” was held at the Iranology Foundation on 19 November 2018. The speaker of this meeting was Dr. Jaleh Amouzgar, Faculty Member at the University of Tehran.

The speaker mainly discussed the place of wisdom in ancient Iran and stated that legends are the products of some imaginative thoughts that early people dealt with for certain reasons. A myth is the outcome of the collective imagination and dreams of a nation and the story of a heavenly world with an unknown origin. According to Dr. Amouzgar, one of the reasons behind the creation of myths is ignorance and the other is the visualization of human feelings and wishes.She also stated that peoples’ interest in immortality and eternal life results in the creation of some myths so that they think their dreams have come true and feel calm. In fact, legends function as creators of epics.

Regarding the place of wisdom in ancient Iran, the speaker said that, at that time, power was exercised in the form of a pyramid; that is, the person at the apex of the pyramid of power was always a figure who enjoyed great wisdom. This shows the supreme nature of Iranian culture, in which wisdom and knowledge were superior to everything else. This feature can be clearly witnessed in old narrations, which undoubtedly reflect the beliefs and thoughts of different lands.

Dr. Amouzgar also emphasized that mythology plays an important role in the development of psychological and sociological thoughts and, ultimately, leads to learning about the mindset of societies. That is why different places in the world have different myths. She also stated that “wisdom” is the main element of Iranian myths and added that the god of wisdom exists in all cultures. However, the difference between Iranian myths and gods and those in other cultures is that the former do not attribute evil deeds to gods and, rather, believe that such atrocities are specifically committed by demons. Nevertheless, in Greek mythology, for example, Zeus or the god of gods also commits immoral and vicious acts. Dr. Amouzgar finally stated that myths are created when neither archeology nor history can provide convincing responses to some questions. At the end of this meeting some questions and answers were exchanged by the attendants.

7th Edition of the Weekly Meetings of “Iranology Mondays”

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The 7th edition of the weekly meetings of “Iranology Mondays” was held on 26 November 2018 on the title of “Iranian Wisdom and Worldview” in Shahnameh. The speaker of this meeting was Dr. Zagros Zand, researcher of Shahnamehand Professor at Kharazmi University.

Dr. Zand started his speech by saying that one of the important features of Iranian historiography is that it is purposeful and not merely limited to the reporting of incidents and events. He stated that no writer in the world can ever claim complete neutrality. However, in Shahnameh, Ferdowsi has never exaggerated in defending or promoting any religion, even Zoroastrianism, and has never humiliated or criticized any religion. Additionally, he has never entered any religious, political, ethnic, or racial debate. In fact, Ferdowsi has rewritten a story the end of which is the collapse of the Sassanid Dynasty.

The speaker also introduced monotheism as one of the foundations of Shahnameh and added that the term “justice” has been frequently mentioned in this masterpiece through using the word “dad” so that it can be called Dadnameh or the Letter of Justice. Ferdowsi intelligently uses some words which glorify certain principles such as truthfulness, justice, monotheism, and refraining from greed. These features have indeed turned it into a world class book.

Dr. Zand continued by saying that the stories of Shahnameh are narrated in the names of kings, who are the symbols of ruling the country, and the pahlevaniconduct has beenintroduced in this epical book in opposition to kingly conduct. This indicates that Ferdowsi was not interested in supporting the kings, which is the same pahlevani (heroic) tradition. In all texts of Shahnameh a two-dimensional aspect can be observed: the conflict between the good and the bad, between kings and pahlevans (heroes), between justice and injustice, between demons and gods, and between determinism and free will. All such cases enjoy moral roots and aspects. A question and answer session closed this meeting.

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South Iran

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