Home Page > News 

  Print        Send to Friend

Lessons of Ashura

Ashura and Irans foreign policy

Imam Hussein’s (pbuh) movement and Ashura have always been a source of inspiration for both the formation and the development of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Without a doubt, Iran’s approach to their foreign policy should be based on the values of Imam Hussein’s cause. The following Op-Ed attempts to analyze and shed some light on this matter.

Iran’s foreign policy is based on certain principles that are explicitly stipulated in the Constitution. These include principles such as fighting against arrogance, rejection of all forms of domination and hegemony, helping the oppressed and downtrodden, defending the rights of all Muslims, non-commitment to hegemonic and oppressive powers and rejection of oppression. These principles are inspired by the cultural values ​​of Islamic Iran, of which the uprising of Karbala and the event of Ashura are its pillars. And these have played a key role in its formation. These principles and values ​​have become crystallized in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and may be clearly seen in the chapters of Iran’s history in foreign policy. The following article refers to these principles and speaks of their examples in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s principles in foreign policy:

According to Articles 152, 154, 14, 11 as well as Clause 16 of Article 3 of the Constitution, the system of the Islamic Republic considers the happiness and well-being of all human beings to be its goal, and it commits itself to protect the rights of all human beings, particularly Muslims and the oppressed people of the world. These important principles were among the main ideals of the Iranian people in the Islamic Revolution, which they emphasized with the slogans "Neither East nor West, Islamic Republic" and "Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic." These principles have been emphasized in the Constitution using various terminology, including the "rejection of any form of tyranny, domination, oppression or subjugation" in paragraph C of Article 2 and the "complete rejection of colonialism and prevention of foreign influence" in paragraph 5 of Article 5.

Article 152, which deals with foreign policy, reads, "The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on the denial of any form of hegemony and domination, preservation of independence in all areas and the territorial integrity of the country, defense of the rights of all Muslims, non-alignment with hegemonic powers and maintaining peaceful relations with non-hostile governments." Article 153 states, "Conclusion of any contract which leads to foreign domination over the natural and economic resources, culture, army or other affairs of the country, is prohibited."

As mentioned, these principles are rooted in the resources that have enriched the Iranian political culture. The verses of the Holy Qur’an, the history of the advent of Islam and the manner in which the emerging Islamic government interacted with others, the customs, traditions and character of the Prophet (pbuh), the Imams (pbut) and the Companions are all rich sources for guiding foreign policy on the path of truth, and they have molded fixed, specific principles. One of the historical events that has been a source of inspiration for the drafters of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially in the Articles and the Paragraphs related to the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic, is the character of Imam Hussain (pbuh) and his uprising in the year 61 AH (680 AD), known as the Karbala uprising. For the Shi’a, especially Iranians, Karbala is in itself a rich system of values ​​that affects their individual and social life and their building of a government. After the formation of the Islamic Republic, the principles and messages of the Karbala uprising may be clearly seen and sensed in the legislative documents of the Islamic Republic in the field of foreign policy and in its four decades of performance.


The valued principles of the Karbala uprising and the application of those principles in Iran"s foreign policy:

The event of Karbala has brought a set of principles. Fighting against arrogance and tyranny is one of those principles. Imam Hussain (pbuh), who had gone to this demographic and political center of the Islamic government at the invitation of the people of Kufa and after receiving their letters of allegiance, originally began an uprising against the tyranny that the people were suffering from and were tired of. They had called upon the grandson of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to save them from the current situation. On this basis, in the event of Karbala we see a person who, despite the small number of his companions, despite the presence of his family, despite being clearly aware of the imminent martyrdom of himself, his companions and his family, and despite the fact that the burning of their tents and the captivity of a number of his family were all predictable, he did not back down from his decision to fight against tyranny, oppression and arrogance. And he did not compromise.

 In the uprising of Karbala and the movement of Imam Hussain (pbuh), "the rejection of domination and submission" are fixed and unyielding principles. Freedom, which has been one of the principles of Iran"s foreign policy, has its roots in the Karbala uprising. Imam Hussain (pbuh) in a series of dialogues with the enemy troops advised them to "be free men even if you do not follow a religion." This advice indicates that freedom and being a free man is a value that does not re quire religion. It is a value, which every human being and every society should be adorned with. Being a free man requires compassion and respect for human values ​​and dignity. And these can be defined even in events such as "wars" with values ​​such as not harming civilians. Under the harsh conditions of the unequal war in the Karbala uprising, Imam Hussain (pbuh) emphasized being free. Thus, it is natural that in an Islamic revolution whose leaders have been inspired by his movement, respect for values ​​such as "freedom" and “being free” is recommended. And, these are put into practice as much as is possible. An example of this attitude, was seen in the imposed war where the forces of the Islamic Republic, assuming the possibility of the presence of civilians in cities, did not bomb Iraqi cities, unless they had information showing the absence of civilians from beforehand. Iran’s military advisers considered the safety of civilians to be their red line.

Another value in Imam Hussain’s cause is helping the oppressed, which may be clearly seen in Iran"s foreign policy today, and it is one of the differences between the Islamic Republic and the West. On the way when Imam Hussain’s (pbuh) caravan was going to Karbala, several people encountered the caravan of the Imam (pbuh). After learning of the possibility of war, although they were fully aware of the fact that the war would have a bloody ending, they responded positively to the invitation of Imam Hussain (pbuh), they fought alongside him until the last moment and they were martyred. Today, the Islamic Republic is accused of interfering in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon and even in Latin America. The point that is not taken into account is that Iran has been present in these areas at the invitation of the governments and in order to help the people who have been the victims of oppression and tyranny. The people of Venezuela and Cuba have been exposed to oppression by the Americans. In addition, the governments of these countries have a bloody history of fighting colonialism and arrogance. The Syrian people have been facing terrorism backed by regional and external powers. Today, this is a fact that is not questioned or a matter of doubt to research institutes, intelligence agencies or even the mainstream and the unofficial media.

In accordance with the principle of helping the oppressed, Iran dispatched its military advisers to Baghdad and Damascus at the request of the legitimate governments of these countries. According to what the leaders of these countries have said, Iran was the last country to be asked for help but the first to help. Inspired by the principle of helping the oppressed and by being present in northern Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran prevented ISIS from invading the Kurdistan region. Regardless of the people’s religion or sect, and solely wishing to carry out its human duty and implement the principle of freedom inspired by the movement of Imam Hussain (pbuh), a number of the Iranian forces in the two countries lost their lives in areas where the residents were not only not Shi’a, but also, they were not Muslim.

The impact of the values ​​of the Karbala uprising on the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic is not limited to the one or two above-mentioned principles. Not compromising with tyranny and oppression is another of its principles. In the same way that the Karbala caravan did not surrender to oppression and made this an eternal lesson for humanity, the Islamic Republic withstood years of pressure, which were seemingly diplomatic in nature, urging them to surrender to Saddam Hussain"s Ba"athist regime and to end the eight-year war, which was being waged against Iran. Suffice it to say that during the eight years of the imposed war, international circles made numerous efforts to acquit Iraq of initiating the war and their accountability, and to impose conditions for an unequal peace on Iran. Not only did Iran not succumb to any of these pressures, but in the end, the late founder of the Islamic Revolution described the end of the imposed war to be like ‘drinking a cup of poison.’ He was re-emphasizing the principle of Imam Hussain"s uprising that as long as oppression exists, the Islamic Republic will not stop fighting the oppressors and the arrogant powers.

Similarly, no country has experienced over 40 years of multilateral and unilateral sanctions and pressures. Furthermore, no country has endured this huge volume of pressure and sanctions, even on medicine and food items. And yet, Iran has not succumbed to these pressures. To this day, and even when the Islamic Republic had reached a nuclear deal with the West, the Islamic Republic was and still is under pressure and sanctions from the United States. However, it has not bowed to US demands. The point that the United States does not realize is that in the previous round of talks, negotiations with the United States in the framework of the P5 + 1 was an option to which there was no particular prohibition. But today, "no negotiations" is linked to the principles in values in  Iran"s foreign policy and stands as an inviolable principle. This is because it is tied to the principle of non-submission to oppression and tyranny, which is one of the common principles between Iran"s foreign policy and the Karbala uprising.

The principles of Iran"s foreign policy are the principles of values ​​and humanity, which are not in line with the principles of commercialism and the values ​​that govern the global world order. These principles are inspired by a collection of the values in civilization and culture in Islamic Iran, including the Karbala event. Western analysts need to understand these values ​​before making any assessment of the behavior and strategies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


14:40 - 31/08/2020    /    Number : 756210    /    Show Count : 106


Visitors` Statistics
 Visitors of page : 95511 | Visitors of day : 116 | Visitors sum : 169477 | Online visitors : 2 | Page load : 1.2861