The Islamic Republic can better define its ideological political identity by positioning itself on the good side and projecting the enemy as barbarian, demonic, malicious, and immoral. By showing that the enemy is the oppressor, Iran describes itself as the oppressed which gives immunity to the ruling clerics in order to commit any acts for “self-defense”.
Finally, the “enemy” can also be a force for unifying supporters and creating loyalty as a result of the imaginary threat. No matter how much Iran’s “enemies” try, the country’s leaders will not change its policies towards them. The Islamic republic’s ruling clerics cannot afford not to have such outstanding “enemies”. If Iran does not have an enemy, it will have to create one to survive.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and Harvard University scholar, is president of the International American Council. Rafizadeh serves on the board of Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh served as a senior fellow at Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington DC.
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