Racist police killings and protests in the US are allowing Iran to trash the US brand by all sorts of means—including 90s rapby Arron Merat / June 16, 2020 / Leave a comment
Four days after US policeman Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd in broad daylight, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reached for a 2Pac lyric to contextualise events. “Pull the trigger, kill a N—, he’s a hero,” he tweeted, quoting the rapper’s 1992 track “Changes” and prompting a predictable mix of anger, outrage, manufactured outrage and amusement.
Ahmadinejad, a long-time 2Pac fan and ally of the New Black Panther Party, is peculiar to senior Iranian politicians in that he continues to cast himself as a permanent revolutionary. Most of Iran’s elite, familiar with the often-grubby trade-offs involved in running an economically besieged post-revolutionary nation state, limit their rhetoric on borderless revolution of the world’s oppressed for strategic purposes only. Ahmadinejad, however, always casts himself as the true believer in the Islamic Republic’s original potential to emancipate the world’s oppressed.
Ayatollah Khomeini founded Iran’s managed democracy by reinventing a Shia Islam’s traditional conception of clerical guardianship of dispossessed Muslims into a state-building project, into which he co-opted internationalist “third world” liberation movements, Islamist leftism, capitalism and Iranian nationalism. When these strands have contradicted one another, Iranian elites emphasise the ideology most expedient to the political demands of the moment.
The murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests have rallied Iran’s elite around the internationalism remembered from the early years of the revolution and whose torch Ahmadinejad continues to carry, albeit now out of office and power.
“Putting a foot on a black man’s neck and pressuring him to die is not something that has just been created, it is American nature,” President Rohani said in a televised speech on Thursday. “It is something that is done with many countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and so on.”
Iran’s police and security forces have acted brutally against citizens, most notably during the 2009 protests that followed the disputed re-election of Ahmadinejad. The killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, a protestor, was jumped on by multiple US politicians, wishing to delegitimise the government at a particularly vulnerable moment. Now it is Tehran’s turn.
Iran has set up vigils across major cities in solidarity with George Floyd. On 3rd June, a small student protest took place outside the Swiss embassy, which represents the US in Iran: “My message to the American to people,” an unnamed female student told the South China Morning…