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Dissertation

‘Do Not Say They Are Dead’: The Political Use of Mystical and Religious Concepts in the Persian Poetry of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88)

The chief aim of this study is to explore how classical Persian poetry and the Persian mysticism that is interwoven with the poetry have been used in the new politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially during the Iran-Iraq war.

Author
Mahnia Nematollahi Mahani
Date
15 May 2014
Links
Leiden University Repository

The Iran-Iraq war began on September 22, 1980 when Iraq attacked the border towns of Iran. The war lasted for eight years. The Iran-Iraq war is the longest conventional battle since World War II. It is estimated that on both sides there is about one million dead and three million wounded, thousands of prisoners, millions of homeless, and many cities were badly damaged.

On July 17, 1988, Iran accepted the United Nations Security Council Resolution 598. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, compared accepting the Resolution to “drinking poison”. The Resolution asked two countries to observe ceasefire and return to their homeland.

The fight was legitimized by defining it as conflict between Islam and blasphemy, and aimed to overthrow and to punish the Baath party in Baghdad. The roots of this conflict are not clear. Some scholars say that it was the result of a personal conflict between Saddam Hosein (1937-2006) and Ayatollah Khomeini (1902-1998). Some researchers trace the reason for the war back to antiquity and the relationship between their predecessors. For several historians it is a conflict of Arabs versus Persians rooted in the Muslim invasion of Iran. For others, it is the result of a struggle between the Sunni Ottomans and the Shiite Safavids in the sixteenth century.

Finding the historical roots of the conflict, and geo-political issues ended to the war are beyond the scope of this study to examine. The chief aim of this study is to explore how classical Persian poetry and the Persian mysticism that is interwoven with the poetry have been used in the new politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially during the Iran-Iraq war.

Promotor: P.M. Sijpesteijn, Co-promotor: A.A. Seyed-Gohrab

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