The mullah's rewrite of Iran's ancient history:
Don't overlook this atrocity
The Islamic Republic's butchery of Iran's ancient history is beyond belief and
The clerics' audacity and blatant hatred for Iran
spews from every page written by approved scholars. Iranology suffers from the
lack of sufficient primary sources — especially native — making the task of
balanced fact-finding more difficult. But any degree of bias observed in foreign
sources about ancient Persians is nothing compared to the negativity, falsehood,
and insufficient information provided by the Islamic Republic to Iranian
A quick survey of 2005-06 history textbooks for middle school (grades 6-8) shows
that over 1300 years of Iranian history as one of the ancient superpowers prior
to the Moslem invasion is covered in approximately 37 pages while more than 2.5
volumes of materials are dedicated to Islam, its founder, and Iran's
post-Islamic history (mid-7th century to present). With more than half of the 37
pages devoted to pictures and maps, it is fair to say that 1300 years of history
is crammed into 17 pages of actual written content. It goes without saying that
putting this part of history in 6th grade textbook provides a convenient forum
for simplifying materials.
In reviewing all of these 37 pages dedicated to one of the most important
ancient civilizations, the following general observations are made. There are no
dates associated with any of the eras, characters, or major events. It is
difficult to understand how history can be taught without dates. Only a few
kings are mentioned for each dynasty and no explanation is provided as to why
those few are named in the first place. No major events such as wars, peace
treaties, or social and political developments are mentioned. In short, there
are no discussions as to what 1300 years of ancient Iranian history contributed
to civilization. There is nothing in the 37 pages indicating that the Achaemenid
Persia was the first ancient world empire, and prior to Islam Iran was a
superpower for 13 centuries.
The overall tone is negativity towards Iranian monarchs, who define the nation's
culture and history, and all leaders of the Iranian communities, who helped
build and protect the country. The ancient Persians are described as greedy,
unjust, chaotic, and selfish. According to the textbook, Iranian leaders
accomplished nothing of importance for the common good, and that the people of
Iran hated their leaders and way of life. There is no mention of the ancient
Iranian prophet, Zoroaster, who is credited with being the first monotheist.
Most scholars agree that Zoroaster lived around 1700 BCE. That makes
Zoroastrianism the dominant religion in Iran for at least 2700 years, and yet
the middle school history textbook barely mentions it, let alone its teachings.
There is nothing in the 37 pages about Persian society, daily life, commerce,
warfare, technology, and international diplomacy. As a misogynistic regime,
there is no hint as to the relatively liberal status of women in ancient Persia.
The names of famous Iranian women who were queens, monarchs and warriors are
completely disregarded. There is no discussion about the development of the
Persian language or the invention of cuneiform. As a history textbook, it is
baffling to find that myths are actually taught as history. Incorrect
information and religious propaganda are boundless. In short, Iran's ancient
history has been sterilized and faces extinction.
Median Empire (728-550 BCE) - 5 pages
The events leading up to the conquest of Assyria by Babylonian-Median alliance
is not discussed. The textbook claims that because of the friendship of the
Lydians and the Babylonians, the Medes were no longer threatened by external
forces. The Median Empire is marginalized and its downfall is attributed to the
kings' life of leisure, greedy nobility, abuse of the people, and high taxes
collected from neighboring tribes.
Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BCE) - 10 pages
The Achaemenid kings important to world history such as Cyrus and Darius are not
referred to as "the Great." Incorrect and inadequate information are given
regarding the origin of the name "Achaemenid," the relationships between Cyrus
and Darius or Cyrus and the Median ruling house, conflict between the Persians
and the Medes, and the conquest of Lydia and other nations by Cyrus. The book
also suggests that Cyrus' motivation for conquest was to become wealthy. Nothing
is mentioned of Cyrus' famous bill of rights cylinder and his decree in freeing
the Jewish captives from Babylonia while taking on the financial responsibility
to rebuild their temple. No mention of ancient Jewish communities was noted. The
book states that some experts believe Cyrus was great, as if Iranians do not. No
reason is given as to why he would be considered great even by his own enemies.
The events surrounding the death of Cyrus's younger son Bardiya and his
relationship with his older brother and king, Cambyses, are incorrect. The role
of the usurper Gaumata responsible for Bardiya's death is misrepresented at the
expense of Iranian leaders, who saved the fragile empire from destruction. The
book claims that the Median and Persian ruling families were unjust and cruel to
the people. Rebellions without details are generally emphasized to show that the
Persian rulers were hated. The brilliant administrative skills and innovations
of Darius and the ability of the Iranian leaders in managing an unprecedented
empire comprising of 23 nations are not mentioned. The book states that the
Greeks were the most important neighbors to the Persians when in fact the
Achaemenid political strategy considered Mesopotamia, Egypt, Central Asia, and
India as the most important regions. None of the famous Persian-Greek wars or
their aftermath is mentioned. The fall of the Achaemenids is attributed to the
fact that nobody had any say in the matters of the country but the monarch, and
that is why they eventually became corrupt. Apparently, the greed of the
nobility caused further suffering for the people. Alexander's invasion of Iran
is mentioned in one sentence, and the bravery of the Iranian defenders during
that invasion is not discussed.
Alexander/Seleucids (330-247 BCE) - 2 pages
Only two pages are dedicated to this era. Nothing substantive is mentioned.
Alexander's desire and subsequent actions to mix the Persians and the Greeks are
not discussed nor the effect, if any, of Hellenization on the Achaemenid Empire.
The textbook does not cover how Alexander used Iranian soldiers, commanders, and
governors for his eastern conquests and management of the empire.
Parthians (247 BCE-224 CE) - 9 pages
According to the textbook, the Iranian noble families helped the Parthians in
pushing out the foreign Seleucids, but only for personal gain. The Romans are
slave-owners mostly in pursuit of leisure. Jesus Christ is introduced as savior
of the people from the hands of the evil Romans. The textbook states that Jesus
appeared in Palestine during these difficult times while his Jewish heritage is
omitted. Jesus is portrayed in a limited but political capacity. He is defined
as a defender of those in suffering. According to the textbook, the Romans, who
abused the Christians, after some time decided to become Christians too. The
fall of the Parthians is attributed to the weakness of the kings, greed and
power hungry nobility, and Parthian liberal attitude towards religious matters.
Sasanians (224-651 CE) - 11 pages
The book claims that Ardeshir I, founder of the Sasanians, rose to power because
he promised the Zoroastrian priests that he would revive the religion if they
support him in overthrowing the Parthians since the Parthians did not know how
to manage the country. Ardeshir is credited with specifically stating that the
rise of Buddhism and Christianity is one of the unattended problems. According
to the book, those Iranian nobles who supported Ardeshir did so only for
personal ambition. However, despite the rise of the Sasanians, religious chaos
continued because people were free to practice their religion.
The relationship between Armenia and Persia is marginalized, and the continuous
Roman-Persian conflict over Armenia is not discussed. Mani and Mazdak, two
radical and independent socio-religious figures, are sympathized as oppose to
the Sasanian rulers. The political and social implications caused by the
respective preachings of Mani and Mazdak are not discussed. The textbook accuses
Sasanian rulers from becoming very wealthy by taxing people and that most of the
tax collected was not used for the benefit of the people.
The textbook incorrectly claims that the Sasanian society was divided into two
classes: the nobility and the common folk. It further claims that nobility had
many privileges including education while commoners were not allowed to attend
school. Nothing is mentioned of the large middle class, the dehghans, created by
the Sasanian monarchs to balance the society. An alleged letter from the prophet
of Islam to Sasanian king asking him to convert as well as the king's audacity
to reject such an invitation are mentioned as well-known history. Not
surprisingly, the book claims that the righteous Moslem invaders were able to
defeat the corrupt and cruel Sasanians, and bring freedom and justice to the
people, who willingly accepted Islam.
Volumes of books in many languages have been written on Iran's 1300 years of
pre-Islamic history. One of the most respected, comprehensive set is The
Cambridge History of Iran which has devoted 2600 pages without pictures to this
era. Yet the Islamic Republic only found enough written material to cover 17
full pages directed to 6th grade students most of which contain deliberate
misinformation and anti-Iranian sentiment. The mullahs are using Iran and its
resources to further a warped religious agenda at the detriment of the Iranian
people and the international community. In this process, they are systematically
destroying a nation's understanding of its past given such a past is more
advanced, humane, and liberal than the Islamic Republic's Constitution of the
21st century. Stay tuned for more on the ongoing Iranian genocide at the hands
of the Islamofascist clerics.
Sheda Vasseghi has a Masters in Ancient History with emphasis on ancient
Persia. She handles public relations for persepolis3d.com and is a member of the
Azadegan Foundation. Ms. Vasseghi is a regular contributor to political
magazines such as WorldTribune.com.
Original Article on World Tribune September 15, 2009