J. Michael Springmann

Iranians are loyal to their leadership that seeks to move the country forward: US analyst

The Iranian nation are a solid group and are loyal to a government and its leadership that seeks to move the country forward. About two thirds of Iranians make positive assessments of Iran’s government and general direction.

J. Michael Springmann served as a diplomat with the U.S. State Department's Foreign Service, with postings in Germany, India, and Saudi Arabia. He left federal service and currently practices law in the Washington, DC, U.S. Mr. Springmann' works have been published in several publications on foreign policy, including Covert Action Quarterly, Unclassified, Global Outlook, Global Research, the Public Record, OpEdNews, and Foreign Policy Journal. He holds a JD from American University, in Washington, DC. He acquired his undergraduate and graduate degrees in international relations from Georgetown University and the Catholic University of America. In an exclusive interview with the English section of Khamenei.ir, the former head of the U.S. visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and author of the book Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World, sheds light on Iran's upcoming presidential elections as well as Iranian nation's assessment of their government:


Ayatollah Khamenei believes the strength of the Islamic Revolution comes from the Iranian nation. He recently said: “The fact that impudent and browbeating enemies refrain from a serious confrontation with the Islamic Republic, is due to the presence of the people.” What’s your take on that?

Iran and its people have existed in one form or another for millenia. The country is one of the world's oldest civilizations and is based on solid contributions to the arts and sciences. Iran produced some of the the greatest physicians, astronomers, logicians, mathematicians, metaphysicians, philosophers and scientists like Avicenna (Ibn Sina). The Islamization of Iran was to yield deep transformations within the cultural, scientific, and political structure of Iran's society: The blossoming of Persian literature, philosophy, medicine and art became major elements of the newly forming Muslim civilization. Iran has had a long, creative and glorious history. Unlike many other Middle East countries, Iran managed to remain independent throughout much of its existence. Cyrus the Great and Cambyses II formed the basis for Iran's past great influence in the region. In the 19th Century, Mohammad Mosaddeq nationalized the huge British oil holdings in Iran and, as premier in 1951–53, almost succeeded in deposing the brutally repressive shah.

The people know this, remember this, and are immensely proud of it. The past is not yesterday to Iranians, it is part of the present. While there are many of the Shah's people in the Washington, D.C. area, I have noted that they are also Iranian and celebrate the country's heritage.

I believe that the Iranian people embody Khalil Gibran's comment that he who denies his heritage has no heritage.

What’s is the source of Ayatollah Khamenei’s continued trust on Iranian people?

He knows that they are a solid group and are loyal to a government and its leadership that seeks to move the country forward. About two thirds of Iranians make positive assessments of Iran’s government and general direction. Asked, “Generally speaking, do you think things in Iran today are going in the right direction or . . . the wrong direction?” 65 percent say things are moving in the right direction. Three in four Iranians say that they trust the government to do what is right.

Why does Ayatollah Khamenei consider the elections a method of safeguarding the revolution?

Elections express the will of the people and, if the people support the revolution, elections will safeguard it. There won't be the current American view which refuses to accept the results of 2016's free and fair election.

How can we compare democracy in Iran with the political systems of Arab countries of the Persian Gulf?

I don't think you can. The Arab mini-states of the Gulf are, in general, repressive monarchies with few, if any, limits on their power. Any elections held, such as in Bahrain, are a sham. Iran offers a choice of leaders in sometimes noisy, tumultuous elections. While the [Persian] Gulf states are hereditary monarchies of one sort or another, Iran has a number of candidates for president in the upcoming elections.