Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sadegh Zibakalam, "The roots of Iranian involvement in Lebanon," BitterLemons International, June 12, 2008.

Iranian involvement in Lebanon is first and foremost a defensive strategy adopted by the Iranian leaders against their powerful enemy, the United States.

Contrary to common perceptions, Iranian involvement in Lebanon did not begin with the Islamic Revolution in 1979. First contact between Iranian Shi'ites and Lebanese Shi'ites was established at the beginning of the sixteenth century when some of the senior Lebanese Shi'ite ulema (clergy) were invited to Iran by the newly established and powerful Safawid dynasty.

The Safawid rulers converted Iranians to Shi'ism and made it the official religion in Iran. They invited Shi'ite scholars from Oman, Yemen and Lebanon to help them construct the theoretical framework for a Shi'ite state in a country where Shi'ism had hitherto been only a minority sect. Jabal Ameli and Sadr were two senior Shi'ite scholars who went to Iran from Lebanon and stayed at the Safawid court for many years.

Read the whole article here =>

Sadegh Zibakalam is professor of Iranian studies at Tehran University.Recommend this Post

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