Screen shot from the website www.irannazi.ir
Our Iranian Observer, Alireza Amirhajebi, alerted us on this surprising newcomer to the Iranian Web: a website and discussion forum for the “Association of Iranian Nazis”. He was surprised to note that the extension of the domain name was ".ir", which indicates that it was officially approved by Iranian authorities.
UPDATE - 22 NOV : The Minister for Islamic Guidance has issued a press statement regarding the Nazi site. He states that he has no connection with this publication, nor did he give permission for it to be published. According to a number of our Observers, access to the Nazi site has been blocked in Iran in the past few days. Following our article, our Observer Alireza Amirhajebi, has become the object of personal attack in an article on a Farsi website, in which he has been accused of supporting Zionism.
“There is a small but slowly increasing minority of Iranian youths who think that ‘pure-blooded’ Persians are the true Aryans”
Alireza Amirhajebi is a retired journalist. He lives in Tehran.
This looks like a new website, the first discussion posts only go back as far as August 2010. You have to be a registered member to access the forum or any of the information posted on the site. The site seems to have about 500 members. Most use pseudonyms, so their real names, ages, or professions are unknown.
What’s most surprising about the site is that its URL ends by ".ir", the domain name extension of all official Iranian sites. This means that the association and its website have registered and been approved by both the ministry of Culture and the ministry of Communications. Obviously, authorities are at least aware that the association exists.
[The institution in charge of validating ".ir" domain name extentions is the ministry of Communications. However all Iranian sites, whatever their domain names, must register with the ministry of Culture and Islamic Orientation. The vice-minister of the latter, Mohamed-Ali Ramin, organised Tehran's infamous negationist conference on the Holocaust in 2006].
In my view, members of this kind of association come from a small but slowly increasing minority of Iranian youths who are attracted by the notion that “pure-blooded” Persians are the true Aryans – a notion tainted with strong anti-Turkish and Arab sentiment. This belief is not new, it stems from a 5th Century BC carving in the archaeological site of Naqsh-e Rustam attributed to King Darius I, in which he says he is “from the Aryan race”.
“I have spoken to young Iranians who defend Hitler”
I have personally spoken to several young Iranian men who defend Hitler as someone who had converging interests with the Iranian people. [In the 1930’s] The Shah Reza Pahlavi's close ties and economic alliance with the Nazi regime worried allies. It was at that period that the Shah changed the country’s name from Persia to Iran, which means “land of the Aryans” in Persian. “Germany has never been at war with Iran”, they argue, defending the Nazi regime as a great infrastructure builder. But in fact they know very little about the history of World War II and the atrocities committed under the Third Reich.
In parallel to this sentiment, which could be described as “Persian nationalistic”, there is the pervasive anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli discourse of the current Iranian regime. The two lines of thought converge to form the ideology that is expressed on the website, which posts messages that range from “Hitler loved Iran” to “Iran needs the power to fight Israel”. I believe this is why the government will not try to censor this kind of neo-Nazi movement, it may even back them. I wouldn’t be surprised if these groups begin taking some form of concrete action – be it in the political sphere or in the street – sometime in the future.”
Post written with France 24 journalist Lorena Galliot