Do you remember The Journal of Mirza Hassan Khan or Hajji Baba in England?
These books were written on the occasion of the British-Persian relations taking place in 1809-1812, as important as the Nuclear issues today… In Iran we have not much changed our “traditional” ways.
Remember the Islamic Revolution and the ritual of burial, 3ed, 7th, 40th and the year’s mourning? Only Burials hold Iranians and Iranian theocracy together, like a cement.
Hassan Rouhani, the wannabe Star-President of the Iranian theocracy, left New York and returned to Tehran to attend the funerals of the Iranian victims of the latest hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia, as a pretext. He knew of the event before he left Iran, but he wanted to make a show of it in the GA of the UN.
For the Islamic establishment of Tehran, Saudi bashing has become the priority (for now, the second is Israel bashing). In NY, Vladimir Poutin is the star and the talk of the day is Syria and its pathetic dictator Bashar Al-Assad. Whatever H. Rouhani wanted to say was curtailed by a para-phrase: “Syrian Bashar Al-Assad, backed and financed by Russia and Iran”.
In Iran, many giggled when Rouhani promised democracy to the Syrian people, (on the Islamic republic of Iran pattern?).
Too much for the touchy and conceited Rouhani that wants to be THE star. Well, he wasn’t. The last year’s buzzing of Obama/ Rouhani tweets/calls are long forgotten. Vexed, he preferred to return to Tehran and do his share of the Saudi bashing before the scene is occupied by some other ayatollahs (petty jealousies are common in the Shiite hierarchy).
Though luck for him: B. Obama met M.-J Zarif, FM, “unexpectedly” and exchanged handshakes and a few words.
Enough to be headlines in the Iranian media and push H. Rouhani to the side-line. The Iranian photographers missed the snapshot of the surprise handshake. So they contended to drawings and edited pictures, teasing H. Rouhani and asking themselves whether it was a proper revolutionary move by Mr Zarif, triggering “Death to America” in the Parliament. The Iranian delegations to NY and UN are always troublesome.
Funeral Diplomacy: Act One
All this leaves Iranians more confused than before: Mr Zarif left Switzerland during the nuclear talks to attend Hassan Rouhani’s mother’s funeral. In Iran Ta’arof and Tashrifat, the pretence, are more important than the country’s interest.
Iranian funeral diplomacy against real-politics? Please read those books we mentioned above. There are lots to be learned from them if we cared to ponder.