04.24.12 4:30 AM ET
The Mullahs' Greatest Fear: Kim Kardashian
Karim Sadjapour explains what most frightens Iran's mullahs, and no it is not an Israeli air strike. It's the insidious Western message of sexual emancipation. You'll want to read the whole lurid piece:
Many Iran watchers assert that to persuade Tehran not to pursue a nuclear weapon, Washington must reassure Khamenei that the United States merely seeks a change in Iranian behavior, not a change of the Iranian regime.
What they fail to consider is Khamenei's deep-seated conviction that U.S. designs to overthrow the Islamic Republic hinge not on military invasion but on cultural and political subversion intended to foment a "velvet" revolution from within. Consider this revealing address on Iranian state TV in 2005:
More than Iran's enemies need artillery, guns, and so forth, they need to spread cultural values that lead to moral corruption.… I recently read in the news that a senior official in an important American political center said: "Instead of bombs, send them miniskirts." He is right. If they arouse sexual desires in any given country, if they spread unrestrained mixing of men and women, and if they lead youth to behavior to which they are naturally inclined by instincts, there will no longer be any need for artillery and guns against that nation.
Khamenei's vast collection of writings and speeches makes clear that the weapons of mass destruction he fears most are cultural -- more Kim Kardashian and Lady Gaga than bunker busters and aircraft carriers. In other words, Tehran is threatened not only by what America does, but by what America is: a depraved, postmodern colonial power bent on achieving global cultural hegemony. America's "strategic policy," Khamenei has said, "is seeking female promiscuity."
Khamenei's words capture the paradox and perversion of modern Iran. While dropping bombs on the Iranian regime could likely prolong its shelf-life, a regime that sees women's hair as an existential threat is already well past its sell-by date.