Iranian Nationalism

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Spencer Ackerman is puzzled by Reza Pahlavi's endorsement of the June 12 movement:

This is deep in the weeds of a political dynamic I can hardly say I fully understand, but how much sense does it make for the exiled son of the shah to give a speech at the National Press Club in support of the Iranian opposition? With Mir Hossein Moussavi claiming a source of legitimacy from the Islamic Revolution that deposed the guy's father, is aid and comfort from the remant of the ancien regime really necessary here?

Whether or not it's necessary, I suppose is subjective. Some will praise it, others will scoff.

But the position is not a bizarre one for the son of the deposed Shah. Reza in fact volunteered to return and serve in the Iranian air force against Saddam Hussein in the 1980's. This was of course after the regime has removed his dying father from power.

I think it's just another strong testament to Iranian nationalism. Unlike other countries in the region - rife with tribalism and sectarianism - Iran has a binding identity that stands out in the region -- despite its ethnic and religious diversity.

This in fact frustrated Khomeini, who thought very little of the western nation state model and wanted people to fight and die for Islam rather than country.

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