November 7, 2006
The American Muslim

The New Triple Threat in Iran: Compassionate Justice?

by Dr. Robert D. Crane

Now we may have a triple threat in Iran. Not only has Ahmadinejad's statement on regime change in Israel and America been grossly distorted, and his theoretical right to nuclear weapons as a deterrent to attack been denied, but we may now soon hear that his policies of compassionate justice are the first step in a radical socialist scheme designed to destroy the financial system that sustains the world.

On October 28th, 2006, the Iranian CEO, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, announced that government will be down-sized and political power will be decentralized through the privatization of state-owned industry, with 50% "sold" free to the poor. This is a good start on what Ayatollah Sistani might well advocate in Iraq. Sistani is only too well aware of the downside of concentrated political power in Iran and of the American strategy in Iraq to concentrate political power in a central government there in order better to orchestrate control of its natural resources.

At a conference called to officially inaugurate the new Iranian plan to privatize industry through "justice shares" to "justice stock companies" Ahmadinejad emphasized that justice is not merely an individual responsibility but a joint responsibility of every person working together as a community. The Speaker of Parliament, Gholam Ali Haddad, stated at this conference that justice had been the driving force behind the original Iranian revolution, but had been side-tracked for an entire generation.

Now the question arises, when will Iran start privatizing the oil industry to the general populace through inalienable voting shares of stock? This has been priority number one in position papers that I and others have been advancing since the first day of the Iranian revolution more than a quarter century ago as an essential first step in any faith-based and normative economic system? The possible domino effect of such a policy to broaden capital ownership might be perceived as the "ultimate threat to global stability." In fact, it would be the ultimate moral H-bomb designed to restore the universal right to private ownership of productive property as the essence of economic justice in a capital intensive world and to counter the primary source of growing global chaos, namely, the rapidly escalating wealth-gap both within and among nations.

Iran is the only country in the world where justice is not considered to be a threat to stability and where justice indeed is now considered to be the major pillar of national security. In America, neither the Republican nor Democratic parties dare to even mention the word, because it would require fundamental reform of the entire system of money and credit to broaden capital ownership rather than to concentrate it. In any research on justice in Shi'a jurisprudence and public policy, the new Iranian policies on economic and social justice, as a model of both what to do and what not to do, might well serve as a principal case study of Jafari jurisprudence in practical application.

Justice in Jafari jurisprudence is holistic, which makes it different from all the other legal systems in the world. This system necessarily addresses the importance of respecting the right to life, which has immediate relevance to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The leading ayatollahs in Iran have condemned the production and possession of nuclear weapons as fundamentally immoral. I agree with this, not only from the perspective of what Catholics call moral theology, but because such weapons are irrelevant to shaping the course of history. This is the area where the rubber hits the road, because this is where courage as a central element of compassionate justice will be seen.

Dr. Crane is Chairman of the newly formed Center for Understanding Islam, and Vice-Chairman of Crescent University. He is Associate Editor for Law and Policy of the new online magazine, The American Muslim. Since 1996 he has been President of the Center for Policy Research, which develops "grand strategy" to infuse Islamic thought in a systematic and professional way into the formation of current policy in Washington, D.C.

Simon Tisdall, "Ahmadinejad on Israel: Global Danger or Political Infighting?," Guardian, December 20, 2005

James Bamford, "Iran: The Next War," Rolling Stone, July 27, 2006

[That is why, at this juncture, resolving any of the significant bilateral differences between the United States and Iran inevitably requires resolving all of them. Implementing the reciprocal commitments entailed in a "grand bargain" would almost certainly play out over time and in phases, but all of the commitments would be agreed up front as a package, so that both sides would know what they were getting.

If President Bush does not move decisively toward strategic engagement with Tehran during his remaining two years in office, his successor will not have the same opportunities that he will have so blithely squandered.--Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann, "Redacted Version of Original Op-Ed," New York Times, December 22, 2006]

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