Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Deviationists

The managing director of Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency Hamid Reza Moqadam-Far today offered a detailed description of the ideological and political beliefs of the “deviationist” group, used to describe an inner circle of politicians and thinkers around president Ahmadinejad, led by his chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie. Below are the highlights of Moqadam-Far's speech (to read the complete speech in Farsi, click here).

  • The Deviationist views are based on ancientism (the belief that Persia’s ancient times were better than the present); Iranism and the Iranian school (as opposed to Islamism and the Islamic school); Norouz (Persian new year) celebrations; and nationalism.
  • The Deviationist understanding of the concept of velayat (Islamic governance) is void of Velayat-e Faghih (wherein senior Islamic scholars exercise temporal authority) and the obligations to follow the Vali Faghih (supreme leader).
  • The Deviationist group uses Mahdaviat (the belief in and efforts to prepare for the Mahdi, the Shia’s Hidden Imam) for its own advantage and offer a weak and simplistic understanding of the belief in the Hidden Imam and the concept of waiting and preparing for his arrival.
  • The Deviationists ignore the importance of Marjas (senior ayatollahs) and offer a belief in Islam without the clergy. The group’s deviations on this issue are manifested in their political, social and cultural behavior.
  • The Deviationist group believes in “humanist Islam,” centered on the individual, as opposed to a religion centered on God and the Islamic faith.
  • The Deviationist group believes in social justice centered on equality. They also offer a positive interpretation of modernity as opposed to traditionalism.

Moqadam-Far said the group’s deviationist line is unprecedented in the history of the Islamic Republic. He emphasized their lack of belief in velayat faghih and the supreme leader during the preparation period for the imminent arrival of the Mahdi and their ideological belief in gaining the ultimate political power in the country.

Blogger Note: The expressions “deviationist” was first used in Stalinist era and later by Mao in defining the “left” and “right” deviationists.


reader said...

Similarity in mindset between Mr Hamid Reza Moqadam-Far and Whahhabis is striking if not exact.

Anonymous said...

Well, the general term "Deviationist" is an English rendering of the Persian that's being applied. And we shouldn't forget there have been a number of such groups identified in American history, such as the followers of Shay following the American revolution, as well as the more famous Confederate assertion that northern politicians had "deviated" from State's rights. These are just two examples.

Nader Uskowi said...

But we are talking about Iran in the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

How come Israel is causing all problems for Syria now?

Syria can soon attack we must help.

Unknown Unknowns said...

From my comments on RFI (

Unknown Unknowns says:
May 12, 2011 at 12:12 am

1- قدرت‌طلبي
2- مطلق‌انگاري خود و خودمحوري
3- التقاط فكري
4- استفاده ابزاري از موضوع مهدويت
5- تأكيد افراطي بر باستان‌گرايي و ايرانيت
6- عدم اعتقاد به ضرورت حاكميت ولايت فقيه در زمان نزديك به ظهور
7- قائل بودن به اسلام بدون روحانيت
8- انسان‌محوري بر مبناي التقاط تفكر اسلامي و اومانيسم
9- صلح جهاني با معنايي متضاد از فرهنگ قرآني
10- عدالت‌محوري با رويكرد مساوات (عدالت توزيعي)
11- عرفان‌گرايي كاذب، معناگرايي خرافه‌آميز
12- زير سؤال بردن مديريت الهي انبيا
13- تظاهر به سنت‌گرايي در عين اعتقاد به مدرنيته

Here’s a better (comprehensive) translation (mine) of the 13 characteristics that Hamid-Reza Moqaddam-Far identified with the Ahmadinejad group:
1. Thirst for power
2. Self-centeredness
3. Syncretistic thinking
4. [Mis]use of Mahdism or Islamic Messianism as an instrument [to forward personal agendas]
5. Excessive focus [and glorification of] Iran’s pre-Islamic past and on Iranian identity
6. Absence of belief in the necessity of the institution of the Guardianship of the Jurisconsult in the times prior to the reappearance of the Mahdi (the Guided One)
7. Assertion of [the possibility; desirability? of] an Islam unmediated by clergy; a non-hierocratic Islam
8. Anthropocentrism, based on a syncretism of [secular] Humanism and Islam
9. [Belief in means and methods of bringing about] world peace which are contrary to Koranic culture[al values].
10. An egalitarian conception of social justice; belief in an [active, ] distributive form of social justice
11. False spirituality; a spirituality co-mingled with superstition
12. The questioning of the divine basis of the ministries of the prophets
13. Feigning conservatism and a commitment to traditional values while actually subscribing to the values of modernity


Unknown Unknowns says:
May 12, 2011 at 12:38 am

From what I see, Hamid-Reza Moqaddam-Far’s 13 attributes can be profitably boiled down to three main spectra within which teh various political positions can be said to fall:

1. Composition of Iranian identity (PreIslamic/ Islamic/ Modern)
2. Institution of the Guardianship of the Jurisconsult (nature and extent of authority)
3. The responsibilities of the state in bringing about and maintaining social justice (and the limits thereto)

Other possible spectra:

4. Social mores (conservative – liberal)
5, Stance toward the US & the West (ideological – pragmatic)

Now if we take these three (and I am sure that other important spectra can be added), and try to place each political formation somewhere within each spectrum, we should reach a better understanding of how each issue plays out in the current political. If the spectra of attributes and characteristics make up the ranks in our analytical chart, the political formations would be the files. So, I don’t know, help me out here:

A. Ahmadinejad/ Masha’i & Co.
B. Hashemi Rafsanjani & the Kargozaran-e Sazandegi
C. Khatami & the Dovvom-e Khordad Movement
D. Musavi
E. Karrubi
F. Rezai
G. Qalibaaf
H. Khamenei
I. Sistani
J. Etc.

Notice how groups such as The National Front, The Communist Party, The Royalists, etc. are too marginal to be included in the discourse (except as fringe phenomena).

Anonymous said...

Unknown Unknowns

Thanks for the work.

Without going into details the argument of majority is that these guys (the group) is insisting Iranian values and identities above and beyond the Islamic nature of the current prevailing ideology.

taking out all the bable of Mahdi, visible or transparent stuff, are they implying that the Iranian identity and culture is NOT complete with the Islamic infusion.

After 30 years what has Islam offered this nation? Anything of any value that one can put on the table and be proud of.

In so far as I can ascertain this ideology or Islam has only introduced mechanical, superstitious, ahistorical and dogmatic thinking to Iranian culture. I would be interested to know what single benefit the Iranian nation has seen by adopting the whole of this concept.

I do appreciate that the poorer classes are supported by monthly cash handouts to the tune of $2.3 Billion but I guess any government (religious or secular) will do that to stay in power and buy loyalty!

Anonymous said...

The IRI has given us alot in 32 years, lets not be silly and dismiss all of their contributions.

The cash handouts are a new thing and by your notion, America and the UK and many other countries that have similar "handouts" are also buying loyalty.

Politically naive people need to reply.

Anonymous said...

It seems that you had an issue with your blog and you had to recover your database from backup and you have already lost some blog notes

Nader Uskowi said...

The Blogger was out for nearly 24 hours facing the most serious problem I can remember. To restore the service, the Blogger had to eliminate all the new posts and comments within that time period, including many comments on this post as well as a new post. I understand they are restoring all the data affected.