January 13, 2010

NIAC Memo: Ancient Persian Legacy Still Plays Role in Revolutionary Iran

The crackdown on protesters on December 27, 2009 in Iran, which killed a number of people, touched off unprecedented criticism of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, who is seen as ruling by divine approval. The tradition of God-sanctified rule dates back to the sixth century B.C.E. In pre-Islamic times, ancient kings ruled on behalf of the Zoroastrian god, Ahura Mazda.So did King Darius I of the Achaemenid dynasty (558 B.C.E.-330 C.E.) and Ardeshir and Shahpur of the Sassanid Empire (224 C.E.-651 C.E.) before the arrival of Islam in Iran in the seventh century C.E.

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