Neo-Iranian Nationalism: Pre-Islamic Grandeur and Shi'i Eschatology in President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's Rhetoric


Fozi N.

MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL, vol.70, no.2, pp.227-248, 2016 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 70 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.3751/70.2.13
  • Journal Name: MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.227-248

Abstract

In 2009, Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad began to invoke nationalist sentiments by paying homage to Iran's pre-Islamic history; a significant shift from 30 years of disparaging this period. Tracing the religious and political genealogies of Ahmadinejad's discourse, this article analyzes the climate that rendered both the Islamic Republic's Shi'i-oriented nationalism and the secular alternative proposed by the Pahlavi dynasty politically inadequate. Such a climate provided conditions to amalgamate, albeit incompletely, a "neo-Iranian" nationalist discourse based on restoring ancient Persia's grandeur and bolstered by Shi'i eschatology.