Tajik FM congratulates Iranian counterpart on 30 years of diplomatic ties
Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin congratulated his Iranian counterpart on the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
He expressed congratulations on the occasion in a message to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, IRNA reported.
Muhriddin expressed satisfaction with the constant growth and expansion of friendly and brotherly ties as well as mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, saying they have prepared the ground for the emergence of new constructive aspects in bilateral relations.
He underlined that the Tajik side attaches great importance to the present level of bilateral relations and calls for expansion of ties in mutually agreed-upon areas.
The Tajik minister gave the assurance that through constant, persistent and constructive efforts, the two sides will be able to use their existing capacities and capabilities more than ever, in line with their peoples’ interests.
He wished his Iranian counterpart health and success, and the friendly and brotherly Iranian people peace, sustainable stability, welfare and prosperity.
In a message on Saturday, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon congratulated his Iranian counterpart Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, hailing the occasion as a memorable event for both nations, according to Tasnim News Agency.
He said over the past three decades, the two countries have constantly devised plans and made efforts to improve the level of bilateral ties and find new ways to boost comprehensive cooperation, adding that Tajikistan considers continuation of such efforts as important.
The Tajik president also underlined his country’s resolve to develop relations with Iran in various fields with a spirit of understanding, synergy and trust.
“We can enrich the ties between the two countries, which have historical and cultural commonalities, with strong resolve and sincere joint efforts … in line with the interests of our peoples,” Rahmon added.
He also wished health and success for Raeisi and peace, stability, happiness and prosperity for the friendly Iranian nation.
The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Tajikistan established diplomatic relations on January 9, 1992.
The two countries have enjoyed a close and strong relationship since then.
Humanitarian assistance motivated primarily by strategic concerns
By Mohammad Memarian*
Much is said about American global hegemonic project which the United States government and its many associates, including seemingly non-governmental agencies, pursued over the course of the 20th century. The very existence of that project is an indisputable historical fact. “American expansion has been characterized not by the acquisition of new territories but by their penetration,” admitted Samuel Huntington in an influential paper, ‘Transnational Organizations in World Politics’, which he wrote in 1973. Almost half a century later, the sphere, depth, and variety of that penetration is being increasingly brought to light, especially in terms of how private actors helped the US achieve its global goals.
“Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller foundations have played ideological, political, and institutional roles for, and sometimes on behalf of, but mostly in complete cooperation with the American state,” said Inderjeet Parmar, head of the Department of International Politics at City University of London, in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily. The role played by the ‘Big 3’, as he calls these three foundations, is the key theme he investigated in his book, ‘Foundations of the American Century: The Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller Foundations in the Rise of American Power’, published by Columbia University Press in 2012. In the following interview, which will be published in two parts, Parmar explained the core historical issues he explored in his book as well as their relevance to the world’s more contemporary settings.
* Mohammad Memarian is a staff writer at Iran Daily.
What’s the core problem you’ve investigated in your book?
To many people all around the world, the big American philanthropic foundations are associated with charitable works and noble causes. These foundations, it’s commonly assumed, fight against human inflictions such as hunger and disease. The truth, however, is that they do a great deal of other things as well. And even the humanitarian assistance is all too frequently motivated primarily by strategic concerns.
What other things?
A closer look at their history shows that they have performed a political-ideological role in the US rise to global power. Their roles, and the elite knowledge networks they created to discharge those roles, include many elements of the state, academia, and big business. They have made a significant contribution in turning the US, which at the beginning of the 20th century was largely an inward-looking country, into a global superpower whose security and interests are perceived to extend to virtually every corner of the world and even into outer space. My book investigates their role, from that time into the middle of the first Obama administration, in the construction of what may reasonably be called an American empire.
What role did they play?
The Big 3, namely Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller foundations, the focus of my book, had been a massive repository of corporate industrial wealth. Drawing upon that economic might, they have played ideological, political, and institutional roles for, and sometimes on behalf of, but mostly in complete cooperation with the American state.
Before delving into their functions, I’m eager to know what actually led them to assume those roles.
They noticed a major challenge to the American state, particularly towards the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. American society, economy and life were changing very rapidly at that time, as was the distribution of power in the world as a whole. Therefore, to rule domestically, it needed to be a well-organized and more centralized government. And it also needed to be capable of competing in the world with global colonial powers such as Britain and France to have a greater share of global influence. To do that, the American public needed to be talked into, persuaded through a massive process of engineering mass consent, of the very idea of the US as a global power, with global interests and worldwide ‘responsibilities’.
Given that there was no lack of global powers at the time, what would distinguish the US from its competitors?
The US was promoted as an anticolonial and anti-imperial power which promoted freedom and equality and was perceived to be non-exploitative. Elites argued against the iniquities of the British, Dutch and French colonialists, promoted the US as born out of a struggle against colonial rule, and therefore as bearer of a mission that was the antithesis of imperialism or colonialism. The US in this view represented the savior of the world, an exceptional culture with a manifest destiny to modernize and free the world. However, this claim was riddled with contradictions, particularly in the racialized structures of power that the US championed and the racist world view they applied, along with the European colonialists, to the world’s peoples.
How did the foundation serve that purpose?
First of all, they created university programs and networks of academic scholars to create the knowledge base which was necessary for learning how to manage that growing and changing society which, effectively, led to fostering and growth of much of modern American social sciences. Historically speaking, the US had a very limited federal government which was suited for neither running its rapidly industrializing society, nor competing in a global theatre and achieving prominence there. It needed to be stronger domestically and more powerful internationally. For that, it needed the knowledge as well as the people trained in that knowledge to work in various federal agencies. That could, and did, constitute a non-violent force to create domestic acceptance and enable foreign ventures.
Is that an account of the genesis of the social sciences?
To be more accurate, the origins of modern social sciences coincided with the creation of big corporate wealth. In that sense, they are the product of the development of natural sciences and industrialization. Following Darwin and his theory of evolution, and the success of natural sciences in explaining the laws by which natural phenomena operate, social scientists tried to apply those scientific methods in explaining society, politics, and the distributions of international power.
That sounds benign enough.
The point is that in their estimation, science offered most effective ways to cement the power of the elite. Looking back on that historical period, one could notice the rise of working class power and trade union organisations, socialism, anarchism, and other forms of dissenting views which challenged elite corporate hegemony. They, in turn, turned to science to provide them with a scientific strategy of managing discontent, reforming society, and building state capacity, thus undercutting those radical movements. That’s how a modernization of science appeared, aimed at providing tools for top-down technocratic management of the society, with the US serving as a laboratory for those theories.
What’s the difference between the roles of the foundations in 20th versus 21st century?
They still play a very important role. Almost 100 years after their establishment, the whole landscape has changed, however. Now, there are a lot more universities and think tanks as well as television and internet. The American government has changed as well. As I mentioned, it had a very limited capacity at the beginning of the 20th century. The project, or the mission, the foundations defined for themselves was making a modern state, located at Washington D.C., with both national and global reach. The US was born a democracy (however limited) without a state.
How did they fare in that regard?
They were spectacularly successful. They established initially private ventures and organisations that were gradually ‘nationalised’ to form federal agencies and departments. And they thereby embedded their influence and networks in various state agencies, from foreign services to even the Pentagon.
What about their more contemporary roles?
They still have a role to play: Since they are unaccountable to the state, shareholders or voters, they can do things which the government can’t. That might be called sort of venture capital investment, and they are capable of doing that because if they fail, nothing will happen to them. In such areas, failure of an administration might lead to it losing an election, or failure of a corporate might lead to the dismissal of its CEO or its bankruptcy. But sitting on huge unaccountable wealth, the foundations can take such risks. They can run experiments, carry out pilot studies, or otherwise take paths which are hindered for both state and corporate actors. In addition, in overseas activities, they draw upon their reputation of being cultural, soft-power enterprises, enabling them to even operate with governments which have hostilities or problems with official US foreign policy.
So, they have a positive image. They, however, as you convincingly demonstrate in your book, have put in motion processes which, to put it mildly, run against the interests of many countries around the world. How have they been able to maintain their positive image and reputation?
It’s a very incredible story, indeed. First, in the initial periods in the last century, and even to some extent today, they don’t really ask for too much publicity from the people they give grants to. So, in the kind of sensitive fields in which they invest a large amount of money, for example, area studies with programs which study the Middle East, Africa, Russia, or China, they tend to keep a very low profile. They don’t publicize their efforts, or most often don’t ask their grant recipients to openly acknowledge the assistance they received from the foundations. Second, since they claim to be nonpolitical and scientific, a lot of political scientists have basically bought that message and do not study these institutions as political ones, declining to ask questions about them as being political entities, part of the structures or elite power. Third, they provide a very large amount of funding for many major programs in a very wide range of universities. They set up research centers, departments, and funded professorships, and finance scholarships for graduate students and research programmes, over very extended periods of time. Or simply, they are very rich and interested in supporting academic endeavors. The consequence of this fact is that critical voices from those who study under the auspices of such entities are very unlikely. Another large number of academics also won’t be critical because they may want to get a grant at some point, or your institution won’t be happy about you being critical of them because it relies on them.
The last point is a deep feature of the impact of the structure of power on knowledge creation.
As deep as it might be, it’s also very visible, physically speaking. When you go to a major American university, when you are sitting in the taxi driving through the gates, and on the left side you see Lake Carnegie and on the right side you see the Rockefeller Center. A bit further on the road, there is the Ford Center for Performing Arts. And you see that a Ford-funded professor is hosting you. These are tangible assets in the system of power. These, along with fellowships and other kinds of financial assistance, keep the academics quiet, and a form of self-censorship prevails.
Quote from the book
It is difficult to believe that philanthropy – literally, “love of all mankind” – could possibly be malignant. When one reads of the millions of dollars donated to health schemes by the Rockefeller and Bill and Melinda Gates foundations, for example, it is close to sacrilegious to suggest that such initiatives might be other than they seem. Yet I claim something close in this book, in which I analyze the influence of American foundations on US foreign affairs from the 1930s to the “war on terror.” Philanthropic foundations, I argue, have been a key means of building the “American century,” or an American imperium, a hegemony constructed in significant part via cultural and intellectual penetration. This is as much the case within the United States –where a powerful East Coast foreign policy Establishment “penetrated” other regions and social strata – as it is in the world.
Leader: Gen. Soleimani’s martyrdom backfired on US
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Sunday the United States viewed the martyrdom of legendary anti-terror commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani as a threat to Iran, but the Iranian people turned it into an opportunity with their religious zeal.
“The wrong calculations of the United States are still going on, and the example of this is the martyrdom of Martyr Soleimani,” the Leader said in a speech on the anniversary of the popular uprising in the holy city of Qom against the former US-backed Pahlavi regime in 1978.
“They thought that by eliminating this martyr, the great movement of the Iranian nation would be extinguished, but we saw the enormous movement that took place this year on the second anniversary of his martyrdom.
“Who was behind it? It was the work and hand of the divine power that created this huge movement and expression of devotion.
“The calculating system of the enemies is certainly lax and impaired, and they cannot have a correct assessment of the Islamic Republic and thus, they make wrong decisions and fail, and they will fail again from now on,” the Leader added, according to Press TV.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the deep animosity of the United States with the Islamic Republic stems from the Iranian people’s religious zeal.
“Maintain this religious zeal. The factor of saving the country in different trying times is the religious zeal of the Iranian nation. It is the religious zeal that turns threats into opportunities.
“An example of this was the eight-year imposed war and defense, in which the religious zeal of the youth, fathers, mothers, sisters and wives led the youth to go to the front and win this international war, in which the enemies all worked together to defeat the Imam and the movement. The source was this religious zeal,” he said.
Ayatollah Khamenei was referring to the war of the 1980s by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein who invaded Iran with support from the US and other countries in a bid to stamp out Iran’s nascent revolution led by the late founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini.
“At the present time, no one thought that – and even our friends did not think that – the martyrdom of Martyr Soleimani which was really a historical and unusual event would assume this much magnificence and that God Almighty would give it glory and exhibit the real identity of the Iranian people and their unity under the coffin of Martyr Soleimani to everyone,” the Leader said.
Several millions of people turned out in Iranian and Iraqi cities for the funeral of the highly charismatic commander to pay tribute to him and his companions assassinated in the terrorist act and vent their anger at the US when his cortege moved to his final resting place in January 2020.
“The martyrdom of a great figure like Martyr Soleimani was a threat from the enemy’s point of view, but the zeal of the Muslim nation of Iran turned this threat into an opportunity that everyone saw,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The January 9, 1978 uprising in Qom is seen as a very important historical juncture because it acted a precursor to more mass demonstrations in other cities across Iran, shaking the foundations of the despotic Pahlavi regime before finally toppling it in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The uprising was a reaction to the publication of an article titled “Iran and the Red and Black Colonialism” on the Persian-language Ettela’at daily, which had brazenly desecrated Ayatollah Khomeini. Many analysts have referred to January 9 uprising as the Islamic Revolution’s starting point.
One of the enemy’s agenda, Ayatollah Khamenei said, is to desensitize the Iranian people to the principles of the Islamic Revolution.
Continued on Page 2
Iran, Turkmenistan determined for greater trade, transit cooperation
President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi said on Sunday Iran and Turkmenistan seek to take “effective steps” to bolster their cooperation in trade and transit.
“We are resolute to take effective and useful steps in political, economic, cultural and social relations in the interests of our nations,” said Raeisi as he met the Turkmen president’s Special Envoy Serdar Berdimuhamedow and the country’s Foreign Minister Rashid Muradov in Tehran.
Raeisi said “a new chapter” has opened in bilateral ties, adding that Iran welcomes Turkmenistan’s proposals to promote cooperation in various sectors, especially in transit, energy and trade.
“There are no obstacles or restrictions in this regard,” he stressed.
The president hailed Tehran-Ashgabat ties, saying the two neighbors have “deep-rooted and deep cultural and historical relations”.
The envoy submitted President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow’s message to Raeisi.
He said Turkmenistan seeks to boost its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in various fields, especially in gas, transportation, economy, trade and cultural affairs.
Berdimuhamedow added that “a new historical page” has been turned in bilateral ties.
“Several proposals have been prepared to develop comprehensive cooperation in order to increase and ease trade and transit at border terminals,” he said.
The envoy added that a number of agreements are expected to be signed during an upcoming visit by the Turkmen president to Iran.
Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber also met with the Turkmen official to whom he said better relations with neighboring countries, including Turkmenistan, is “one of the strategies and priorities of the Islamic Republic”.
He called for boosting cooperation in various oil, energy, rail, sea and land transportation as well as easing exports and imports at border terminals.
Berdimuhamedow said there are ample opportunities for cooperation and expressed hope that bilateral ties will flourish under Iran’s new government.
Iran: Good deal on JCPOA revival possible if West shows goodwill
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said reaching a good agreement to revive the 2015 nuclear deal is possible if the Western side demonstrates the required goodwill.
Talks in the Austrian capital Vienna are on the right track, Amir-Abdollahian told his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on the phone on Saturday.
“Iran possesses the required will for reaching a good agreement,” he added.
“We can [therefore] reach a good agreement if the Western side is likewise in possession of such a good faith and will,” Amir-Abdollahian pointed out, according to Press TV.
Last week, Iran and the remaining parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, known as the P4+1 – began an eighth round aimed at revitalizing the pact by bringing back the US to compliance.
On Saturday an expert-level working group on lifting sanctions discussed key issues of verification and assurances.
Iran wants the Joe Biden administration to give assurances that future governments will not violate the multilateral agreement again as former president Donald Trump did in 2018, when he unilaterally walked out of it and reimposed and reinforced sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Tehran also demands that all those sanctions be removed “effectively, practically and verifiably” after the JCPOA is restored.
On Sunday, a source close to the Iranian negotiating team denied a report that Iran and the P4+1 reached a two-year deal on the revival of the JCPOA.
Tasnim News Agency quoted the source as describing the report by the Arabic language newspaper Rai al-Youm as totally wrong and fabricated.
The newspaper claimed that under an interim deal Iran agreed to transfer its enriched uranium stockpile to Russia.
Iran has repeatedly said it will not accept a temporary deal.
Iranian chief negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said on Saturday Iran and other JCPOA parties are resolving outstanding issues.
Speaking to reporters after meetings with representatives of the P4+1, Baqeri Kani added that the talks are advancing and moving forward.
Following talks with the Iranian lead negotiator, P4+1 diplomats held a meeting with the US representative and discussed the latest developments pertaining to the Vienna talks.
Russian negotiator Mikhail Ulyanov said they talked about “the difficult issue of guarantees of non-repetition”.
The US is not allowed to directly attend the talks due to its withdrawal from the landmark deal.
Ulyanov said in a separate tweet that the Vienna talks were moving forward, not fast, but incrementally.
“The atmosphere at the Vienna talks is positive and businesslike,” he said. “Judging by my contacts with other counterparts, they share this assessment. We are moving forward. Not fast but incrementally.”
Kazakhstan says 164 killed in week of protests
Kazakhstan’s Health Ministry said Sunday that 164 people had been killed in protests that rocked the country over the past week.
The figures reported on the state news channel Khabar-24 are a significant rise from previous tallies. It is not clear if the deaths refer only to civilians or if law-enforcement deaths are included. Kazakh authorities said earlier Sunday that 16 police or national guard had been killed. Authorities previously gave the civilian death toll as 26, AP reported.
Most of the deaths — 103 — were in Almaty, the country’s largest city, where demonstrators seized government buildings and set some afire, according to the ministry. The country’s ombudswoman for children’s rights said that three of those killed were minors, including a 4-year-old girl.
The ministry earlier reported more than 2,200 people sought treatment for injuries from the protests, and the Interior Ministry said about 1,300 security officers were injured.
The office of Kazakhstan’s president said that about 5,800 people were detained by police during the protests that developed into violence last week and prompted a Russia-led military alliance to send troops to the country.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s office said Sunday that order has stabilized in the country and that authorities have regained control of administrative buildings that were occupied by protesters, some of which were set on fire.
The Russian TV station Mir-24 said sporadic gunfire was heard in Almaty on Sunday but it was unclear whether they were warning shots by law enforcement. Tokayev on Friday said he had authorized police and the military to shoot to kill to restore order.
Almaty’s airport, which had been taken by protesters last week, remained closed but was expected to resume operating on Monday.
Protests over a sharp rise in prices of LPG fuel began in the country’s west on Jan. 2 and spread throughout the country, apparently reflecting discontent extending beyond the fuel prices.