the myth of ‘western rationality’


the myth of ‘western rationality’
by Niloufar Parsi

it is clear that there is a major ideological barrier to real dialogue between iran and the west. mistranslations are common, misunderstanding is encouraged, and it is easy to get the feeling that there is a strategy in place to ensure confusion and animosity instead of goodwill. i tend to see more of this mischief emanating from the west, but that is probably related to the fact that i live here, and it is easier to catch the lies on this side. iran is probably just as guilty.

but there is this one specific western myth that is definitely a big part of the problem: the myth of western ‘rationality’ that presupposes many positive qualities associated with the west and negative ones associated with the east, including iran.

in a different context and time, it would be called racism, but i expect that definition will come later. a bit like how the slave trade was first totally ‘justified’ by religious, racial and other myths, and then later described as ‘racist’. at some point, many westerners believed that their genes or skin colour gave them some sort of spiritual and/or intellectual superiority to other ‘races’, and enslaving people or taking over their countries was more like a favour, a civilizing effect. they sugar-coated this kind of racist self-deception with terminology such as ‘the white man’s burden’, and a host of other ideological justifications. the act of plunder was described as some kind of civilizing mission.

remnants of this kind of mind game remain today in the western discourse on iran. the ordinary american is more likely to see iran and iranians as ‘irrational’ beings who cannot be trusted with a nuclear bomb. but they are a little more subtle than that. knowing full well the racist connotations in openly labeling other countries and cultures as ‘irrational’, they apply further sugar coating by going one step removed and using a term like ‘dangerous’ instead.

if we look out for the terms ‘danger’, ‘threat’ and ‘risk’ in any report or speech on iran by israeli and western media and politicians, it becomes quite clear that the agenda is for the conflict situation to persist – particularly, in the minds of their own citizens. the politicians themselves are fully aware of realities on the ground.

what is this reality? well, we all have our own perceptions, but mine is this:

iran is and has been acting far more rationally than her enemies would like to admit. her priorities have included
-          protecting iran and the regime
-          challenging the power of israel – a proven regional warmonger - and building alliances in the region to contain israel and her allies and arming them in order to create a buffer zone for iran
-          working against american interventionism and warmongering in the region. building a global alliance against american imperialism
-          growing her influence in iraq once saddam’s regime was removed, and preparing the ground to take over as the biggest foreign sponsor once the americans leave iraq,
-          same as above for afghanistan only with less success
-          building up her own armaments industry,
-          finding ways to defeat or weaken sanctions,
-          building up political capital among muslim nations,

-          developing nuclear capability mainly within internationally allowed rules, but remaining vigilant of the iaea and other un agencies as they often behave like tools of american imperialism, and
-          adopting, and speaking from a position of strength rather than servitude

nothing about iran’s regional policy is particularly ‘irrational’. iran could have been more strategic and effective, and could have taken a more conciliatory path. all that may have been possible if one allows for the remote possibility that her foes would have reacted differently. but khatami perhaps proved the opposite.

in any case, while the iranian approach might have been better, it has not been irrational. on the contrary, iran’s military expenditure as a percentage of gdp and her overall tendency to war is far more humane and rational than that of the us or israel. iran’s military architecture is designed and built for defensive purposes. the us military is designed for offence, so much so that they could not respond effectively to a natural disaster such as hurricane katrina at home.

in other words, the us military structure is designed for plunder and loot in the name of ‘rationality’, ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’. take your pick.

truth is, we are all equally irrational!


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David ET

Fouzul Bashi

by David ET on

Right above the sentence you quoted I had given you two examples that you did not copy paste.

 In case of Iran it uses technology against its own people :

use of construction cranes to cause a painful method of execution.. (warning graphic video of mass execution and a women's suffering death by use of construction crane: //

use of medicine technology to cut its own people's arms and legs or remove their eyes

Blocking , slowing or tracking : cell use, intenet use, satellite technology, broadcast system

use of guns etc against its own people,

use of various torture techniques against its own people 

everything that IR does against people's rights  is by misuse of whatever technology they have access to.

use of internet, Radio, TV and other media technology against its own people

and the list continues





regime supporters, go ahead flag my last comment

by jamshid on

This only goes to show the hypocrites that you are.

Fouzul Bashi

Dear David ET - use of technology

by Fouzul Bashi on

I am not a defender of the IR.

However, you say, "IR can not be trusted with any technology that can have negative potentials. not because I or anyone says , but because they have proven that...".

Please give evidence of instances that IR cannot be trusted with technology.  (Almost any technology can have negative potential).

Please give, for the sake of balance, instances, if you know of any, of the use of technology in the hands of the US, Israel, and their allies in the West. I am not making a comment and leave it to you to use your rational judgement.



David ET

after reading some comments

by David ET on

I think Jamshid summarized my view well :

" چرا از ژاپن، کرهٔ جنوبی، آرژانتین برزیل و سایر ممالک موفق دیگر دنیا کپی‌ نکنیم؟ مگر ما چیمون کمتره؟ آخه جانم چرا مردم ایران رو انقدر دست کم می‌گیری؟

کی‌ گفته که فقط ملاّ و یا فقط حکومتی که بر علیه آمریکا‌ رجز خوانی می‌کنه میتونه منافع ایران رو تأمین کنه؟ من به شما قول میدم که یک حکومتی که نه تنها با آمریکا‌ بلکه با همهٔ کشورهای جهان از در دوستی‌ بیاد، به مراتب بیشتر میتونه به مردمش سود برسونه و منافعشون رو حفظ کنه "


Japan rose from the rubbles of "USA" atomic bomb and became a world power ! Brazil (a former south american military dictatorship) is a strong country today, very independent with friendly relationships with everyone including IR and is one of the fastest growing economies ... and the list continues....

We do not have to be enemy with anyone (US, Israel, China, Russia, Iraq ) or anyone. We do not even need to be enemy of our enemies! But only be friend of our own people ....

This whole anti this and anti that and atmosphere of friction are first and foremost product of IR's intentional policies in order to rule its people of "Iran" with distractions and also to serve their hegemony of spreading their backwardness ...

This has never been about "Iran" , but IR and its rulers benefits

IR has as much interest of "Iran" in mind as US , Israel or any other so called  enemy does!

It is sad to see so many over the past 31 years have fallen in to the Zargari jangs that Ir has created in the name of "Iran" (and will continue to do so)


David ET

Dear Niloufar

by David ET on

I have not read the 71 comments before mine yet but I think you equating "Iran" with the "religious military regime that rules Iran" throught the article gives a totally wrong presumption when it comes to nuclear or any technology (eg: internet and cell phones and how IR has used it against its own people...)

IR can not be trusted with any technology that can have negative potentials. not because I or anyone says , but because they have proven that...


      Sign and spread the Iranian Solidarity Declaration 



by farshadjon on

Bravo, Jamshid jan!

I can add the following to describe these people:

“Marmolak” and “Hypocrite”

One thing that pisses me off the most is that all these Western and USA bashers are actually living in USA and Europe, taking advantage of their freedom of speech to defend the murderous regime in Iran.

That is bizarre!


VPK & Vildemose

by Mehrban on

VPK, very true,  a government that protects the freedom, legal and human rights of Iranians AND protects Iran's national interest internationally is the government that we should all support and aspire to.  We should not be satisfied with any government that does not do both.   

Ps.  I believe IR does neither.  some such as Niloufar and others think it does look out for Iran's national interest. 

 Vildemouse jaan, I don't know who Niloufar is I just have to take her and everyone else at their words here.  I do agree however, IR lobbies who have been hugely instrumental in propping up IR in the West, presently seem to be the most conflicted and the most ambiguous. 


Thanks VPK, that is

by Bavafa on

Thanks VPK, that is exactly the point that so many just miss, I presume due to hatred of one side or the other side.

For some, one is "either with us or with them" just as the infamous GWB motto was


Mola Nasredeen

My camel has walked on the Path of Kiaan more than anybody

by Mola Nasredeen on

else and has more Aryan in him than any mullas in drag! 


planet 'samsamok' of the 'kiani' constellation

by SamSamIIII on


what happened to dokht al civility?. instead all I hear is this to my civil post;

ghod ghod ghoda ghoda ghod ghod ghoads ghoadss ghaades ghaadessi Ghadessi  ..planet Ghadesii of the ommatie galaxi of milk-Irani way ....::))


Path of Kiaan Resurrection of True Iran Hoisting Drafshe Kaviaan // //

Mola Nasredeen

The Closet Chalabies

by Mola Nasredeen on

And we don't wish Iran to turn into another Iraq or Afghanistan. 69 innocent human beings were torn apart to pieces by bombs in Iraq today, we don't want that for Iran and Iranian, is it really that hard for your heads to get it?

4 million Iraqis are now living as refugees, displace people and we don't want that for Iran and Iranians, do you have a hard time to understand it?

What more is there to say about undemocratic ways of Islamic Republic regime of Iran that has not been said before? Do you want to repeat it until you pass out? What are you gonna achieve except  being played by the same crowd who started Iraq war.

marhoum Kharmagas

VPK, was that good comment from you?

by marhoum Kharmagas on

VPK, if I weren't a marhoum, I would say namordima ye commenti dorost ez VPK dideem!

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Teh victims of IRI

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


are primarily Iranian people. That is what is frustrating to me. The pro IRI and West both seem to be fine with IRI brutalizing Iranians. It is only when there is a supposed threat to Israel or oil or what not that the West gets upset. Then there is hell to pay.

What about the Iranian people? I can see how the West does not care. But we should not fall for it. We need not be IRI apologists to see the other side is not exactly worried about Iran. We must be realistic and not support one because we hate the other.


Mola Nasredeen

"Killing me softly with their words, making my whole life..."

by Mola Nasredeen on

Radio was playing.

"What a bunch of BS? Who died to make you the boss?" said Hazrate shotor.

I asked sheepishly: "Who do you mean hajagha? Roberta Flack?"

"No these idiots who never get it, calling others names, full of hatred. They'll never get anywhere, they never amounted to anything and they'll never be..."



Dear Mehraban and Jamshid:There are new folks in this

by vildemose on

There are new folks in this site (IRI, Smail, Iranvatenman, etc.) whom I can at least respect for their honest description of their view. You on the other hand, Niloufar Parsi, are a closet personality who in my opinion are the worst despicable "moozi" type there is.

I'm afraid she reprsents a view of IRI-backed lobby in the UK and US. It's her job to repeat vevak's talking points...nothing personal.

She writes:

but i see no collective punishment, war crimes, foreign invasion, threat of invasion or mass murder coming from iran.

Really? What planet does she live in??


Bravo Jamshid

by benross on

I don't like Basiji mentality, but one hair of an honest Basiji is worth a thousand deceptive and 'moozi' ones like you.

Right-on Jamshid. An honest Basiji is potentially more open minded than these rotten failures.

Except that, they are not deceptive anymore. Just despicable. The stink is just too obvious, any way they try!



by Mehrban on

The regime that you tirelessly defend directly and indirectly (mostly indirectly) murdered thousands of idealists like yourself.  Like you, they were also against the "Western Imperialsts", those Mojahed kids were as energetic and as idealistic as you are.  

I am sorry that you feel you have to throw your lot in with their murderers.


Niloufar Parsi

by jamshid on

"i think jamshid just refuses to acknowledge the real world.
he will stay on the sidelines until iranians as a nation stop being who and what they are and turn into exactly what he dreams of..."

No, Madam. I think it is the other way around. It is you and your side who refuse to acknowledge the real world and the existence of more intelligent foreign policies that could benefit the people of Iran, instead of policies that have taken them hostage. Case in point, North vs South Korea.

Furthermore, it is again you and your side that are "forcing" Iranians as a nation to stop being who and what they really are (a peaceful nation), and are "forcing" them to turn into exactly what you dream of (a confrontational nation.)

Let us not be fooled for even one moment that the injection of your side's false propaganda and bravado into the issue can in any way dilute the fact that the people of Iran are hostages that are "forced" by your side into your failed ideology.

In a free and democratic Iran, the majority of Iranians would vote for friendly relations with all the nations of the world and against dangerous confrontational behavior.

If you disagree, then why not hold a refrundum? Is it because you are afraid of the outcome? Or is it because you see your side as being fit to be the people's ghayem without their vote?

There are new folks in this site (IRI, Smail, Iranvatenman, etc.) whom I can at least respect for their honest description of their view. You on the other hand, Niloufar Parsi, are a closet personality who in my opinion are the worst despicable "moozi" type there is.

I don't like Basiji mentality, but one hair of an honest Basiji is worth a thousand deceptive and "moozi" ones like you.

Niloufar Parsi


by Niloufar Parsi on

i think jamshid just refuses to acknowledge the real world.
he will stay on the sidelines until iranians as a nation stop being who and what they are and turn into exactly what he dreams of (mind you, not quite as bad as planet 'samsamok' of the 'kiani' constellation). until then, all mollahs and iranian leaders are....well, whatever he decides to call them depending how angry he feels at the time. meanwhile, the rest of will be stupid enough
to engage with, discuss and take (supportive or critical) political positions on what exists in iran among iranian people. our people. 

Niloufar Parsi


by Niloufar Parsi on

Abarmard:  apologies for late response! you are as kind as ever.

Fouzul Bashi:  moteshakeram!

IRI:  thanks for that. am glad to see you here. we have a lot to talk about.

Mola:  you make such short statements (first 2 i mean) but with the sharpest edge! enjoyed that.

iranvataneman:  mamnoon! i don't quite get the school thing, but i don't live in the us.

Marge:   yeah, it's that 'fixing' that we are most scared of!

Esther:  agree with you about the mullahs up to a point. they are not all the same though. compare with catholic priests...

vildemose:  and there i was thinking that This one at least was not about the palestinians...


Niloufar Parsi

مهرداد خان

Niloufar Parsi

از لطف شما سپاسگزارم


Nilofar Khanoom, you have got it exactly right

by Bavafa on

The only thing true about 'Western rationality' is that it is only a myth

We do not need to go far back in history to see ample of this irrationality. Just examining the past decade we will see that the country that has been most instrumental in the 9/11 attack( Saudi Arabia) is the a favor ally of the US or the country that we know has Nuclear bomb, it has proven for its security services to be in bed with Taliban (namely Pakistan) is also an ally of the US. Or a country that has been in violation of many UN resolutions, an occupier of its neighbors, credibly accused of a number of war crimes and has over 200 N-bombs is also a big ally of the US. Yet Iran is feared to build the nukes and to give it to Taliban which incidentally they are an enemy of Iran. Now if any one sees any rational in this, please enlighten me with it.


Manoucher Avaznia

جمشید عزیز؛

Manoucher Avaznia

سپاس از پاسخ.  البته، نردیدی نیست که مردم ایران و دیگر مردمان نیازی به قیم ندارند.  ولی جامعه ملل که پدر همین سازمان ملل بود و در خدمت مطامع استعمارگران انگلیسی و فرانسوی مفهوم قیمومیت را تعریف کرد به آن کاربرد حقوقی داد و برای سوریه، عراق، اردن، فلسطین، و حتی مصر خودشان را قیم کرد. استعمارگران حتی مستعمراتی برای خود منظور کردند.

بهتر می دانی که امپریالیسم بنا بر توانمندی طرف مقابل اتخاذ سیاست می کند.  در جاهایی مانند گرانادا و پاناما با شیوه گاوچرانان امریکایی حمله می کند و جوابگوی هیچ احدی هم نیست.  در عراق و افغانستان به انگیزه مشکلات فراوانش ناچار به حربه قانونی سازمان ملل دست می یازد و در نهایت دیگران را شریک جرم و خرج می کند.  در آسیای شرقی هم حضور نظامی دارد و هم کمکهای فروانی به همپیمانانش می کند تا در برابرنفوذ کمونیسم بایستند.  برای مردم کوبا اصلا حق استقلال عمل هم قائل نیست.  در رابطه با ایران از هر ابزاری بنا بر گفته خودشان بهره می گیرند  در پیرامون کشور پایگاههای چندی ایجاد کرده اند. برنامه ایرانهراسی راه میاندازد.  بازدارنده حمله نظامی ابلهانه اش درحال حاضر هزینه بسیار بالایست که متحل خواهند شد.

مگر خاتمی درهمین زمان ریاست جمهوریش به خواسته هایشان در رابطه با انرژی هسته ای پاسخ مثبت نداد؟  در عوض نقشه تجزیه ایران روی انترنت منتشر شد.  ایران به شکلی که هست قدرت بزرگی است.  این برای قدرتهای سلطه جو قابل قبول نیست.  حالا با ملا یا بی ملا تفاوتی نمی کند.  نکاتی که شما در رابطه با حقوق پایمال شده ایرانیان به هر دلیلی از جانب ایرانیان مطرح می کنید قابل درک است.  ولی هنگامی که از سوی سلطه گران مطرح می شود نه تنها زهرآگینند بلکه در خدمت سلطه گری ایشان است؛ و در نهایت هیچ سودی برای ایرانیان نخواهد داشت.

با احترام

Niloufar Parsi


by Niloufar Parsi on

thank you for your wonderful comment. superb.


Niloufar Parsi

captain khan

by Niloufar Parsi on

i did not mean to imply that about you. i only meant that they are not the same to me. similar, for sure.

was already reading your blog. great debate!




by comrade on



Ms. Parsa

by capt_ayhab on

Proportion indeed matters and no one can deny it. I have no doubt that Israel, by proof of her actions in past 61 years, ever since its inception has been the sole source on bloodshed, instability, terror and genocide in ME, if not in the entire world.

Yes Iran has never threatened to attack anyone. Yes Iran has never invaded any country. Yes Iran is being made a bogyman to serve the imperialistic thirst of US.

But at the same time one can not discount the similarity between both. Any leader, ideology, country and nation who does not hesitate to send her youth to die for anything other than self defense to me is considered to be same. That even goes for US and other so called sane peace loving[not] democratic[not[ country in the world.

As to defense of Iran, my conviction are very clear. I will not hesitate one single moment to take up arm in defense of my country, as wouldn't every single true Iranian.And who ever supports any military attack on Iran is nothing but a repulsive traitor in my book[PERIOD]

You can read about my convicion right here.



I do enjoy your threads and comment greatly.




The only thing I do not agree...

by Sirius on

... Is to continue to generalize and lump group of countries as "The West" like implying that it is something uniform and monolitic.

Currently, Iran has a "conflict of interests" with the USA and Israel. By "contagion", that goes in decending order to countries like the U.K. , Germany and France... although many people in these later  countries are much less ignorant and ideologized against Iran.

Different "countries" (governments and peoples) have different reasons to be against Iran and at the side of the USA.

(From strategical and edeological reasons, to plain racism... or simply because of current self-confusion and insecurity (case of Spain).... down to countries that simply have no other choice).


However, it is truth that currently (and traditionally) most people in the "West" are not informed and rational people in the current conflict with Iran (and other conflicts). They are like the masses everywhere: Fed easily with propaganda and with a sense of superiority about their own culture.

90% of this people of the "West" will never care in investigating  which are the architectural, historical or cultural contributions of a millenary country like Iran/Persia... or if they have some reason to behave like it does. Not, until they feel it will cost them something personally.

However, it is truth that lately, racism, the feeling of cultural superiority and anti-islamism are in a maximum of many many years.

Infortunately, "western propaganda" is incredibly pervasive and alienating... even for the same people in Iran.

Therefore, I is good that Iran tries to improve its relations with other countries like China, Turkey, Russia and Venezuela. Some of these countries (governments and populations) feel more or less symphaty or affintity towards Iranians... but at least they (governments and people) do not currently try to portray Iranians as devils.


Niloufar Parsi

captain khan

by Niloufar Parsi on

thank you for that thoughtful comment. i however cannot quite agree. since when has proportion not mattered in such discussions? how can we equate the level of brutality involved? what is the total number of killed and injured over the entire period of the last 5 years in iran? whatever number you may believe to be the case, i think you would agree that it does not constitute the worst case globally. iran is not as demonic as they make out. and as long as they threaten to attack iran, i will side with my country, including this government.

yes in an ideal sense, they are both brutal regimes. but i see no collective punishment, war crimes, foreign invasion, threat of invasion or mass murder coming from iran. the us and israel have been terrorising the middle east for decades, and are guilty of war crimes. 

this is why i do not quite agree with you. but, as always, i respect your position.



جناب منوچهر



بدون تعارف و با کامل خلوص نیت، نکتهٔ بسیار سنجیده و صحیحی بیان
فرمدید. امیدوارم که هیچ وقت مارو از گفتار پر معنای خود محروم ندارید.

با سپاس فراوان