Most would say that the regime of Ahmadinejad speaks Persian Farsi. Insofar as linguistics are concerned this is true. However, there is another language that is spoken, and apparently well understood in that part of the world: Fear. As any Iranian expatriate could easily recount, the Islamic Revolution of 1979 was successful in instilling a fear of speaking, acting, dressing, or otherwise appearing Western. Beyond xenophobic fear was that of the terror conveyed for noncompliance with the new regime’s take on piety.
During the demonstrations against the Iranian government in 2009, the citizens were again reminded that their protestations on behalf of democracy had limitations rooted in theocracy. The regime succeeded in its endeavor to repress, thereby reinforcing through violence that dissent would not be tolerated.
The language of fear is not only spoken in Iran, it is exported for global consumption. Witness Hezbollah’s ability to perform acts of terrorism worldwide and Iran’s impunity in having made significant contributions to them. Observe the demonstrated conventional power of a small army to force Israel to acknowledge that they are a force to be reckoned with (2006). Behold the message inherent in the Iranian warships’ passing unmolested through the Suez Canal to deliver aid to the Assad regime’s tyrannical and murderous efforts in Syria. These are the hallmarks of the diplomacy of violence, the broadcasting mechanism of fear.
As Iran’s regime is currently attempting to subvert international will and acquire nuclear weapons they have invoked the language of fear yet again. In calling for the annihilation of another nation-state, they seem to believe that such a bullying tactic will bear fruit of the sort that characterized their regime’s domestic successes.
Bullies need a victim that is incapable of mounting a formidable defense. This is where the language of fear loses its power. The only way to tie the tongue of the fear-speaker is to demonstrate one’s ability to speak more eloquently and forcefully. As the foreign policy question of responding to fear speak is raised more frequently, the answer could perhaps be found in the ability to hold a bullhorn to the Iranian regime’s ears and proclaim that its language is dead. In turn, perhaps the Iranian citizenry will have their voices heard in the language of freedom.