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What the Axis of Evil Metaphor Did to Iran Author(s): Daniel Heradstveit and G.

Matthew Bonham Reviewed work(s): Source: Middle East Journal, Vol. 61, No. 3 (Summer, 2007), pp. 421-440 Published by: Middle East Institute Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4330418 . Accessed: 17/04/2012 08:59
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Did WhattheAxis of Evil Metaphor to Iran


Daniel Heradstveitand G. MatthewBonham
This articlefocuses on the Axis of Evil metaphorthat was used by President Iran,Iraq, GeorgeW Bushin his Stateof the UnionAddressin 2002 to represent forfascism andNazism, and NorthKorea.Afterdescribing"axis" as a metonym and "evil" as a metonym Satanicforces that implies an alliance of Iran, for for Iraq,and NorthKoreathat is collectivelyresponsible evil deeds, the authors on analyzethe impactof this metaphor Iranianself-imageandpolitics. Thedata conducted with 18 members from in-depthinterviews for this analysisare drawn of the Iranianoppositionalelite. The interviewresultssuggest that the Axis of the Evil metaphor an impacton political discoursein Iranand strengthened had militantrevovis-a'-vis by rhetorical reformers reviving positionof conservatives languagewiththe GreatSatan(the UnitedStates)as the maintargetof lutionary the theocraticand conservative forces. The article concludeswith some obserfor vationsabout the implicationsof using culturaland historicalexperiences betweenthe waysin whichAmericans (andotherpeople in differences explaining the the West) Iranianshave understood metaphor and

Inthisarticle,we focus on theAxis of Evil as a creativemetaphor; is, a metaphor that


is thatis capableof giving us a new view of the world.'Metaphor the firststep in the of especially those that change the way we construction such novel understandings, see our world.2 The restructuring often begins with a vague idea that has long been

DanielHeradstveit Professor SeniorResearch is and Associateat the Norwegian of Institute International Affairs.He has held positionsas Professor International of Relationsat JohnsHopkinsUniversity Boin logna, Professorof Comparative Politics at the Universityof Bergen,and visitingprofessorat Syracuse He University. is the authoror co-author nine books on the MiddleEast, semiotics,and politicalpsyof chology.His latestbook is Oil in the Gulf:Obstaclesto Democracy Development, and co-editedby Helge Hveem(Oxford: Ashgate,2004). G. MatthewBonhamis Professor PoliticalScience and Chairof the of International RelationsProgram the MaxwellSchool of SyracuseUniversity. has done research at He on the MiddleEast and Central Asia, Norwegianoil policy,relationsbetweenthe UnitedStatesand Russia, and the expansionof the European Union.He is currently research communicative on conducting aspects on of the "War Terrorism." recentresearch been published International His has in StudiesQuarterly, InStudiesPerspectives, well as a number anthologies.This a revisedversionof a paper ternational as of is that was presented the461 AnnualInternational at StudiesAssociation Convention, Honolulu, March1-5,2005. It is based,in part,on a larger report, Iranand theAxisof Evil,NUPIResearch ReportNo. 277, September 2003. Theresearch, whichwas conducted partof the Project as for Group Studiesin thePersian Gulfof the NorwegianInstitute International of Affairs(NUPI),was supported the NorwegianResearchCouncil by (ProjectNo. 144705-510),the NorwegianMinistryof ForeignAffairs,and NUPI's ResearchGroupon and Terrorism International Crime.The authorswould like to thankNaghmehSohrabifor her assistance withthe research. 1. "In the metaphoricalstatement ... the contextual action creates a new meaning, which truly has the status of event since it exists only in the presentcontext ... In this way, the innovationof an emergentmeaningcan be takenas a linguistic creation.And if it is adoptedby a significantpartof the linguistic community,it in turncan become a common meaning and add to the polysemy of lexical entities."Paul Ricoeur,Rule of Metaphor(Toronto:Universityof TorontoPress, 1977), p. 99. 2. Ricoeurrefersto the "symbolthatgives rise to thought.""Itis this articulation thoughtpositof
MIDDLEEAST JOURNAL* VOLUME61, NO. 3, SUMMER2007

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422 * MIDDLE EASTJOURNAL neglected,such as an "Axis."In this respectthe Axis of Evil metaphor a kind of is an the cognitivebreakthrough, effortto restructure international systemas it was in the 1930s - an attempt see the worldthrough eyes of thatperiod.Recallingthe Secto the is mustbe ondWorld War, Axis Powersareevil, andthe implication thatsomething the to done aboutthem.If you findthe metaphor be compelling,thenyou mustact. In fact, metaphor sanctionsactionsand helps to buildgoals.3Metaphor puts an end to debate for once you follow it to its conclusion,and then the implications actionare obvious. A senioradvisorto President Bush has acknowledged implications this view in of the an interviewwith a journalist.He said, "We'rean empirenow, and when we act, we createourown reality-judiciously, as you will - we'll act again,creating othernew realities,whichyou can studytoo, andthat'show thingssortout.We'rehistory'sactors ... andyou, all of you, will be left to just studywhatwe do."4 of and The contribution this articleis its focus on boththe targetof a metaphor, its source.5 While the metaphor may re-structure way the Westviews Iran,it also the the view the world,and,moreimportantly, re-structures way the Iranians themselves. The Axis of Evil metaphor dividesthe worldinto two parts:those who believe in the and whether believein the metaphor not, or metaphor thosewho do not. However, you it changesthe way you view your world.For example,the targetsof the Axis of Evil but For may not takethe metaphor seriously, theydon'twantto be partof "Evil." them the sourceof the metaphor may also becomethe sourceof evil.

THEAXISOF EVILSPEECH6
In his State of the Union Addressto Congresson January 2002, President 29, Bush used the expression,the Axis of Evil, to includeIraq,Iran,and North Korea: "Stateslike these,andtheirterrorist an allies, constitute Axis of Evil, armingto threaten the peaceof the world.By seekingweaponsof massdestruction, theseregimespose a graveandgrowingdanger."7
[Continuedfrompreviouspage] ing and thinkingthat constitutes the critical point of our whole enterprise." Paul Ricoeur, The Symbolism of Evil, tr. EmersonBuchanan(New York:Harperand Row, 1967), pp. 348-349. Ricoeuralso discusses the power of metaphorto "redescribe reality." Paul Ricoeur, TheRule of Metaphor,p. 6. 3. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 142. The authors would like to thank Victor M. Sergeev for describing how new metaphorscan change one's ontology of the world. 4. Ron Suskind, "Without Doubt,"TheNew York a Times,October 17, 2004. 5. The natureof metaphoricalmappingsis describedby Lakoff: "A metaphoricmappinginvolves a source domain and a targetdomain.The source domain is assumed to be structured a proposiby tional or image-schematicmodel. The mappingis typically partial;it maps the structure the ICM of [idealizedcognitive model] in the sourcedomainonto a corresponding structure the targetdomain." in See George Lakoff, Women,Fire, and Dangerous Things: WhatCategories Reveal About the Mind (Chicago:Universityof Chicago Press, 1986), p. 288. 6. An earlierversion of this analysis of the Axis of Evil speech and metaphorwas publishedby the authorsin G. MatthewBonham and Daniel Heradstveit,"The 'Axis of Evil' Metaphorand the Reof structuring IranianViews Towardthe US," Vaseteh- Journalof the EuropeanSocietyfor Iranian Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2005), pp. 89-105. 7. "NorthKoreais a regime armingwith missiles and weapons of mass destruction,while starving its citizens. Iran aggressively pursuesthese weapons and exports terror,while an unelected few [Continuedon nextpage]

WHAT THEAXISOFEVILMETAPHOR TOIRAN* 423 DID The phraseitself was constructed David Frum,a WhiteHouse speechwriter, by who came up with "Axisof Hatred" describethe linkagebetweenIraqand terrorto ism. Frum'sboss, MichaelGerson,changedthe phraseto Axis of Evil to makeit sound "more sinister,even wicked."8 Later CondoleezzaRice, PresidentBush's National SecurityAdvisor,and StephenHadley,DeputyNationalSecurityAdvisor,suggested addingNorthKoreaand Iranas partof the Axis. Hadleyhad second thoughtsabout addingIran,becauseit hada democratically electedpresident, Bush likedthe idea but of includingIran."'No,'the presidentsaid, 'I wantit in."'9In an interviewwith Bob Bush laterelaborated reasoningbehindincludingIran:"Andthe fact Woodward, his thatthe president the UnitedStateswouldstandup andsay Iranis just like Iraqand of NorthKorea- in otherwordsyou've got a problem andthe president willing to is call it, is partof how you deal with Iran.And thatwill inspirethosewho love freedom insidethe country."'0 In the end, President Bush'ssenioradvisors,suchas KarlRove, thoughtthatthe Axis of Evil was a signature phrase,"adeclaration thatthe countrynow wouldhave ... a greatmission. It was big, new, and different."" Althoughsome doubtedwhetherit would makesense to link the threecountries, metaphor regarded the Presthe was by ident'sadvisorsas a "watershed" would define the problemin "graphic, that biblical termswithoutpubliclycommitting a particular to solution."'2 The use of the phraseAxis of Evil was a restructuring the Americanunderof on in standingof the "War Terror," whichthe focus shiftedfromUsamabin Ladinand al-Qa'ida,with theirallies andbases in Afghanistan, a seriesof otherstates,whose to in involvement thatoperation rangedfrom minimalto non-existent. uncharitable The mightlink this shiftto the failureto catchUsamabin Ladin,in thattheAdministration hada need to show thatit was still "doingsomething," even if thatsomethingwas unconnectedwith bringingthe WorldTradeCenterattackers justice.The key concepts to in this restructuring been firstly"terrorist have states," whichimpliesthe "indivisibility of terrorism"'3 therefore the collectiveresponsibility 9/1 1 is on anystateso and that for andsecondly,weaponsof massdestruction, designated; becauseanyonewho possesses themmay be temptedto sell or give themto terrorists, evokingfearsof chemical, thus biological,or even nuclearattackson Americancities. However,anyonewho already possesses nuclearweapons is immunefrom attack,as for instancePakistan,whose militaryintelligenceservice was the chief sponsorof the Taliban, possiblyNorth and Korea. The toposof "terrorist stateswith weaponsof massdestruction" therefore is confined to hostile states thatmay, at some time in the future,acquirenuclearweapons

[Continuedfromprevious page] repressthe Iranianpeople's hope for freedom.Iraqcontinuesto flauntits hostilitytowardAmericaand to supportterror." PresidentGeorge W. Bush, State of the Union Address,January29, 2002. 8. Bob Woodward,Plan of Attack(New York:Simon and Schuster,2004), p. 87. 9. Woodward,Plan of Attack,p. 88. 10. Woodward,Plan of Attack,p. 88. 11. Woodward,Plan of Attack,p. 90. 12. Woodward,Plan of Attack,pp. 93-94. 13. The phrase,"indivisibilityof terrorism," used by RupertCornwell, "HowWarin the Midwas dle East Roils Transatlantic Relations,"EuropeanAffairs,Vol. 3, No. 2 (2002).

424 * MIDDLE EASTJOURNAL to whichtheymay,at some timein the future,possiblybe tempted bestowon terrorists. in thatit is considered hostilestate, a Iranmostdefinitelyqualifiesunderthese criteria, The has a nuclear and program, cannotprovethatit will not so bestowtheseweapons.'4 in to Americangovernment's approach the burdenof proof was amplydemonstrated the case of Iraq,whereit assertedthatneitherthe UnitedStatesnorthe UN neededto provethatIraqhadWMDs,butthatthe Iraqishadto provethatthey did not, and that was any evidencepresented fake. in Iranmembership theAxis of Evil areprobably Twootherreasonsfor granting first,the theocracy'sgeneralhostilityto the United States (oppositionto Good must towards that be necessarily Evil) andsecond,its attitude terrorism; generally, Irandoes not considerthe Palestinians' and struggleagainstthe Israelisto constituteterrorism, for in the specifically, country'ssupport Hizbullah Lebanon.

THEAXISOF EVILMETAPHOR
Manyobserversin the UnitedStatesand Europewere bothamusedandpuzzled Bush's use of the phrase,Axis of Evil. Some regarded phraseas just the by President in the UnitedStates. that emptyrhetoric was designedto appealto domesticaudiences For example,the phrasespawnedthe "Axisof Evil Cookbook," which was published by the NthPosition,an on-line magazine.'5 Althoughthis phrasemay have been an inventionof the President'sspeech writers,it containsmetonymicconceptsthat are in "structure just our languagebut also grounded experienceand, like metaphors, not ourthoughts,attitudes, actions."'6 and Bush used the word"evil"five times in this speech,threetimes referring ento emies. He also used it in his speechto the nationon September11, 2001, anda week laterhe describedterrorists Congressas "planning to evil."In Novemberof thatyear BushtoldNewsweek Saddam also "evil." that was Theseareclearexamplesof demonization,and one of the reasonsthe phrasethe Axis of Evil attracted muchcriticism so andis said to havedone so muchdamageis thatcallingothercountries is not genevil of to erallyconsidered be the language diplomacy. Thereis probably echo of Ronald an Reagan'slabel of "EvilEmpire" the Soviet Union,which was equallycriticizedat for the time. It is possiblethatmanyAmericanssemi-consciously imaginethat,since the Evil Empireis no longerwith us, the application sucha labelhas a beneficent of effect thatcan be repeatedin the case of the new enemies.This may be connectedwith the rise of fundamentalist Christianity, whichis encouraging themto see worldpoliticsin terms. eschatological

14. At first the United States concentratedon the Iraniannucleardevelopment,with Russian assistance, of a nuclearpower stationin Bushehr.The United States believed thatthis facility could be used to produce nuclear weapons. Subsequently,the United States learned to its own surprisethat Iranhad a nuclear weapons developmentprogramnear the city of Natanz. Secretaryof State Colin Powell used this as an example of how a country,determinedto develop nuclearweapons,could keep the process hidden from inspectorsand other outsiders."Powell Says Iran Is PursuingBomb," The Washington Post, November 18, 2004, p. AO1. 15. See Val Stevenson, "TheAxis of Evil Cookbook,"http://www.nthposition.comlaxis_booklet. pdf. 16. Lakoff and Johnson,MetaphorsWeLive By, p. 39.

WHAT THEAXISOFEVILMETAPHOR TOIRAN* 425 DID Bush and some of his advisors,as evangelicalChristians, Certainly may have a tendencytowards dualisticview of life, as a strugglebetweenGoodandEvil, with no a middleground."Thosewho are not with us, are againstus,"he told the more secular Europeans, who insist on tryingto understand situation'scomplexities.'7 a Although the use of the word"evil"for flyinghijackedaircraft civilianbuildingswill strike into manypeople as justified,it is the corollary, otherside of the eschatologicalcoin, the whichis especiallydangerous: assumption the divisionof GoodandEvil cointhe that cides withthe divisionbetweenUs andThem.Consequently, this dualisticpictureof in the world,the UnitedStatesis a Forcefor Good,even the Forcefor Good.This means thatanythingit chooses to do is Good and anythingthatoffendsor inconveniences it is Evil. Theimportant thingaboutthe "evil" component themetaphor thatevil hasno of is specificgoal - exceptto produceevil. As an ontologicalforceevil has no interestsof its own except the interestsrelatedto its destination: is why all negotiations that with evil arefruitless.Thereis no way to makea dealwithevil, exceptto includein thisdeal even a greater evil, not for you butfor others.Therefore, Forcesof Evil haveto be the destroyedtotallyby the Forcesof Good. Moreover, absurdunityof such different the politicalforcesas IranandNorthKoreaseem not to be so absurd, you agreewith the if principle the Unityof Evil. If thereis only one evil, all of its incarnations simply of are the different formsof one force- an argument whichis veryeasy to understand when you acceptthe dualisticontology.Herethe ontologicalchangesproduced metaphor by areobvious.'8 TheAxis component be considered severallevels. In the firstplace,it is an can on incoherent as metaphor, an axis is a straight line;the figurative is, in fact,takennot use fromCartesian geometry(the x andy axes on a graph)butfromthe axis of the Earth's rotation. axis around An whichsomething revolvesis madeby two points;you canhave threepointsjoined in a triangle,but then nothingcan revolvearounda triangle.This geometrical usageactuallyderivesfroma misunderstood modification the metaphor to shortlyafterit was coined. Theoriginal Axis was thatbetweenHitler'sGermany Mussolini'sItaly.Origand inally rivals,they were driventogetherby the Western Powers'hostilityto the remilitarization the Rhineland the conquestof Ethiopia.In 1936 they announced of and that henceforth worldwouldrevolvearound Rome-Berlin the the Axis. Germany Italy and thusbecame"theAxis Powers." November1, 1936 Mussolinireported the hisOn on toric agreement betweenGermany Italy,and he said, "ThisBerlin-Rome and vertical line is not an obstaclebutrather axis around an which can revolveall those European stateswitha will to collaboration peace."'9 and Afterthe signature the tripartite of Anti-

17. On September 16, 2001, President Bush stated, in response to a question about homeland security and civil rights, "This is a new kind of - a new kind of evil. And we understand. And the American people are beginning to understand.This crusade, this war on terrorismis going to take a while." "Remarksby the PresidentUpon Arrival,"September 16, 2001, http://www.whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010916-2.html. 18. The authorswould like to thankVictor M. Sergeev for these insights about the Axis of Evil metaphor. 19. Benito Mussolini, Edoardo and Duilio Susmel, eds., Opera Omnia (Florence, 1951-1960, Rome, 1978-1980), Volume28, pp. 67-72.

426 * MIDDLE EASTJOURNAL ComintemPactlaterin the year,Japanwas called anAxis Powertoo, butin fact there was no strategic collaboration betweenthe European Axis andthe Japanese. The metaphor thusbeena logicalabsurdity a powerfulaffectivetool since has but 1936. "Axis"evokes "our" enemiesof the SecondWorldWar,andit is a metonymfor This historicalresonanceis the second level. Nobodytodayin Nazism and fascism.20 with politesocietycan say anything good abouttheAxis Powers,andanyonecompared themis stigmatized. A thirdand relatedlevel is that the Axis metaphor implies the allianceof the countries includedin it. Giventhe intenseantipathy betweenIraqandIran,andthe lack of muchvisible connectionbetweeneitherandNorthKorea,the tropehas occasioned much ridicule,with TV and internetwits groupingtogethertripletsof countriesallegedly offendedat being left out of the Axis. In theory,we mightspeakof the world is revolvingaroundan axis of inveterate enemies,in the sense thattheirquarrel what use and powersinternational politics.Thatwouldbe a reasonable of the metaphor, usbut ing it for pre-2003Iran-Iraq (withoutNorthKorea)wouldnotbe inappropriate, the Bush meant.Nor publicconsensusseems to be thatthis is not in fact what President rather Bush was using that would such a use have muchmobilizingpower.It appears in theAxis metaphor the originalsense,to suggestthatIraq,Iran,andNorthKoreawere in not only Evil countries themselves,butwerein alliancewith one another againstthe Evil but a conspiracyof Evil. Demonizarest of us. In otherwords,this is not merely tion and conspiracytheoriesalways go handin hand;the humanmindappearsto be inclinedto weave all perceivedthreats naturally into a single pattern. In this way the Axis of Evil conceptallows a returnto the bipolarworldof the 201 century,when all one's enemieswere frontsfor International Jewry,International It Capitalism,or International Communism, accordingto variousnarratives. allows Americansto thinkthat"evil"is a featureof particular geographical regions,faraway countriesaboutwhich they know little, andthus not of Texasor Wyoming,which are is partof the Kingdomof Good. It suggests that terrorism somethingthat is mostly createdor promoted a list of countriesactingin concert,butwhose membership is by not fixedforever. can easily envisagetheAxis of Evil in the year2010 beingtwo or We threecountriesotherthanIraq,Iran,andNorthKorea. Finally,we may note how the use of the tropes of the Waron Terrorand the Axis of Evil in the samerhetorical discourseservesto imply,withoutactuallystating,
that the Axis is collectively responsible for the attacks of 9/11. The attempt to acquire

the of weaponsof mass destruction, promotion radical-Islamic terrorism, acts of and are with the implication that generaldictatorial unpleasantness all mixedup together, for for responsibility any one of themis responsibility all of them.This we mightcall the principle "theindivisibility evil." of of

20. Lakoff and Johnsonpoint out that "metaphor metonymy are differentkinds of processes. and Metaphoris principallya way of conceiving of one thing in terms of another... Metonymy, on the other hand, has primarilya referentialfunction, that is, it allows us to use one entity to standfor another."MetaphorsWeLive By, p. 36.

WHAT THEAXISOFEVILMETAPHOR TOIRAN* 427 DID

THE CONTEXTUAL BACKGROUND21


relationshad been undergoPriorto the Axis of Evil speech,Iranian-American Khatami's idea of a "dialogue civilizations,"22 of ing a thaw.One factorwas President Another clash of civilizationstheory. presented a responseto SamuelHuntington's as was the apology profferedin March2000 by Secretaryof State MadeleineAlbright for the eventsof 1953. She admitted the UnitedStatesplayeda majorrole in the that overthrow PrimeMinisterMuhammad of Mossadeqandtherebyput an end to Iranian democratization the sakeof its own oil interests. also apologizedforAmerica's for She of and in support the Shah'sbrutal repression for its short-sightedness supporting Iraq's in waragainstIranfrom 1980to 1988.Eliteinterviews conducted both200023 and2002 showedthatAlbright'sapology madea strongimpression the Iranian on oppositional elite. A thirdfactorwas the Iranian with the WestoverAfghanistan. collaboration The United States graduallygrew disenchanted with the Taliban,which it had originally At hoped might stabilizethe country. the end of the 1990s MadeleineAlbrightstated that the United States was now an opponentof the Talibanbecauseof their "despicable"treatment women and their generaldisrespectfor humanrights.Similarly, of on September 2001 ForeignSecretary 25, Jack StrawvisitedTehran, firstofficial the UK government visit since 1979, with a view to gettingIranto join the anti-Taliban coalition.He statedthatIranwas a useful and important consulteewith regardto Afghanistan.For theirpart,the Iranianswere supporting Northern the Alliance, whose ethnicbackbonewas the Taziks24 the Panshir of Valleyand which hadbeen underthe of leadership the legendaryguerrillaleaderAhmedShahMasouduntil his assassination on September 2001 by al-Qa'idaagents.Followingthe attacksof 9/11, Iranand 9, the UnitedStatesnow had a commoninterestin crushingthe Taliban. Iranenvisaged a new geopoliticalrole for itself in Afghanistan Central and Asia, in alliancewith the United States. On November27, 2001 representatives the Northern of Alliance and various Afghanexile groupsmetin Bonnto construct transitional a administration. The Northern Allianceacceptedan international peace-keeping force, and by December5 the negotiators agreedon a government national had of unityunderHamidKarzai. Iran playeda constructive at this conference.Everything role seemedto pointtowards collaboration, everything yet wouldchangefollowingtheAxis speech.

21. For a summaryof recentUS relationswith Iranand a descriptionof the internalpolitical situation in Iran,see ErvandAbrahamian, "EmpireStrikesBack:Iranin U.S. Sights,"in BruceCummings, Ervand Abrahamian,and Moshe Ma'oz, eds., Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truthabout North Korea, Iran, and Syria (New York:The New Press, 2004). Abrahamian argues (p. 94), among other things, thatthe Axis of Evil speech threatensto reverse the process of reformin Iran. 22. See MuhammadKhatami,Hope and Challenge(Binghamton,NY: Instituteof Global Cultural Studies BinghamtonUniversity, 1997). 23. Daniel Heradstveit,"ElitePerceptionsof EthicalProblemsFacing the WesternOil Industryin Iran," Journal of IranianResearchand Analysis, Vol. 17, No. 2 (2001), pp. 22-40. 24. Taziksare the Iranians'ethnic cousins in CentralAsia, as they are surrounded mostly Turkic by peoples.

EASTJOURNAL 428 * MIDDLE

9/11 AND THEAXISOF EVILIN IRANIAN POLITICS


THERESPONDENTS

The datafor this researchwere collectedduringfieldworkin Iranin Marchand interviews with 18 members the Iranian of April2002. Weconducted in-depth political be elite who may currently considered The partof the politicalopposition.25 "political opposition"is deemedto be those forces that supportreformstendingto strengthen and the democratic processesandinstitutions, therebyweakening autocratic politicsof in the velayat-efaqih.The surveyis basedon similarfield interviewsconducted April fromthe Iranian 2000 in whicha totalof 14 respondents oppositionwere interviewed. Theresponsesshownbelowaredirectquotations fromindividuals weretakenfrom that detailedinterviewnotes.
AND SAMPLE METHODOLOGY

We have madea purposivesampleof politicalelites who represent policies and politicalideologiesthatarein competition with the established ones, andthatmayone We day in the futurebe the mainstream. also have includedrepresentatives Iran's of cultural artisticelite, a segmentof the population has been an important and that catalyst in the reformprocessthatthe countryhas been undergoing the last decade.It for shouldbe emphasized this is nota population that sense. Social samplein the statistical science knows of no inter-subjective consensualdefinitionof "elite,"and so no and universes "elitemembers" possiblybe identified. otherwords,it is impossible of can In to takea statistically representative it sample,andfor ourresearch purposes is not even desirable. The interviewswere in-depth,and lasted on averagean hourand a half; a few questionshad closed responsecategories,while most were open. This methodology involvestime-consuming workto code the responses,butthe open methodwas a natural consequenceof our not knowingthe responseuniversevery well. In otherwords, we wereprepared be surprised whatthe elite said.Open-ended to by questionsprovide interesting and information, oursurveyshaveshownthatfor politicalelites this procedureis stimulating the intervieweesgive moreof themselvesthanis the case with closed questions. problems The arisesubsequently, whenwe tryto reviewandorganize the data.Categorizing codingof repliesis a time-consuming and process,butgives the reader certainquantitative a pictureof the resultsin addition the opportunity enter to to the cognitiveworldof the respondents the extensiveanswers. via On the otherhand,the interviewinstrument standardized, thatall the rewas so spondentswere askedthe same questions.Hereit was a greathelp thatwe were able to build upon the knowledgeand expertisewe had alreadyacquiredthrougha correspondingelite surveyundertaken April2000. Theseelite interviews also a partof in are a cumulative research strategyinvolvingplansfor further Iranian interviewrounds.In this perspectiveit is important elicit the cognitiveuniverseof the respondents, to and
25. For the respondents'individualbiographicalinformation,please see the Appendix at the end of the article.

WHATTHEAXIS OF EVIL METAPHOR DID TO IRAN * 429

for thisreasonwe havechosento present replieson mosttopicsalmostverbatim, which is not usual in such investigations. The objectiveis next time to operatewith closed responsecategorieson the basis of the knowledgegarnered from the 2000 and 2002 surveys.It shouldbe notedthatthis is not exclusivelya matter snapshots political of of attitudesas in opinionpolls, becauseour arbitrary of respondents includesa sample dynamicperspective; is, it triesto look forward. that We arealso fully awareof the limitations the data.We havelimitedoursurvey of to the politicaloppositionin Iranandmusttherefore assumethatthe statements made in our interviewsreflecta political strategy, that is, the rhetoricof the opposition.It mustbe assumedthatthe responsesarepartof a politicalstrategy discreditthe supto of porters Ayatollah Khamene'i the revolutionary and doctrine the IslamicRepublic. of The fact that we were foreignershelpedto soften this aspect,becauseconversations with foreignersemphasizethe informative at (perception-reflexive) the expenseof the agitationand demagogy (instrumental) dominatethe domestic power struggle. that However,whatis said in oralinterviewsmay easily fail to matchthe facts.Oursurvey makesno attempt measurethe "truth to quotient." the contrary, aim is to chart On our not facts butperceptions.
THEIRANIAN SELF-IMAGE Before we turn to the respondents' views of the current state of play in Iranian

politics and which factions have profitedand which sufferedfrom the Axis of Evil rhetoric, shall look brieflyat whatthey said or impliedaboutIran'simageof itself we in the new worldcreatedby the World TradeCenterattacks.
RESPONSES

Iran's National Unity Has Been Strengthened


September11 led to the Iranian government feeling moreresponsibility its peofor ple. In generalpeople felt a certainsatisfactionin noting that peripheral nations in the ThirdWorldcould play such an important in the USA. It is a paradox role thatsome of those who felt satisfaction reactedagainstthe blindandpointless also violence. September11 has made the rulersunderstand they must do more to remove that the gap betweenthe rulersandthe ruled.The reformists now openlyadmitting are thatthis gulf - which is gettingwider- exists. Thatpoliticianstakeit seriously is shownby the greaterfreedomof speech:Thereare controversies disagreeand mentson the role thatshouldbe playedin this by thecourts,whicharein the hands of the 'Leader.' Priorto September11, foreignpolicy was a subcategory domesticpolicy.This of createda situation whichnationalsecuritypolicy acquired separate in a dimension, partlyelevatedover domesticpolicy. Foreignpolicy was subjectto a tug of war betweendifferentfactionsin which each conductedits own foreignpolicy.After September11, Iransaw itself obligedto changeits foreign-policy priorities. Conservatives reformers and cametogether moreoftenthanbeforein orderto searchfor

430 * MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL consensusin foreignpolicy. Iranianforeignand securitypolicy is more important thanever. Previously, each faction conductedits own foreignpolicy. Now there is no doubtthat we need a singlenational foreignpolicy.Wemustthinkthingsthrough carefullybeforewe act in the foreignpolicy arena. After the WTC, previousdisagreements were laid aside. Before there were factheirown foreignpolicy.Forexample,Khatami tionsin the stateconducting wasn't awareof whatPasdaran Revolutionary was [the Guard] doingin Afghanistan.

Iran Has Become More Integratedinto the World Community


The events made Iraniansrealize that everythingthat happensin this world has come closer.Even whathappensa long way awaycan haveconsequences Iran. for The notion that we can isolate ourselvesfrom the rest of the world has become weaker. Ourgeopoliticalpositionmeantthateveryonehadto talkto us afterSeptember 11. This madeus feel important. 11 September reducedthe tensionlinkedto Iranin the international community. The eventsaffectedeverycountryin the world,and it is therefore advisableto not considerIranseparately. was a watershed manypeoplethinkshouldformthe It that basis of a new international systembased on multilateralism. European countries areconcerned with this as well. The need to strengthen global communityand democratic the values has always existed.TheWTChas strengthened globalcommunity. the People aredependent one another. on This time it was the USA thatwas affected, next time it can equallywell be us. The dividebetweendifferent culturesis not so clearany longer;we can havethe samefeelingsacrosscultural boundaries. The catastrophe September11] was an excellent opportunity Iraniansto [of for expresssympathywith the USA and demonstrate the countrydistanceditself that from that sort of act. Iranjoined the mainstream global politics. Khatami of and mostotherIranians expressedsympathy with the USA, andin the workof democratizing Iran Afghanistan, cooperated with the USA. Khatami's approach reflected Iranian attitudes.

Iran is Perceivedas Less Extreme


On September11 we were confrontedwith a modernform of extremism.This weakenedthe imageof Iranas an extremist country. Iranian extremism viewedin a gentlerlightbecausethe eventsso clearlyshowed is thatthe extremeelementsin SunniIslamarewilling to go further thanthe extreme elementsin Iranian Shi'i Islam.Extremism Shi'i Islamis moremodernthanin in

WHATTHEAXIS OF EVIL METAPHOR DID TO IRAN * 431 SunniIslam. Bin for Although Ladinwas no hero,therewas sympathy himoverthewholeworld. Even in Europetherewere groupswho wore Bin LadinT-shirts. Nothinglike this in happened Iran;heretherewas no one who expressedsympathy him. for It is important Iranwas not involved.The ideologicalvocabulary Iranhas that in changed.Peopleno longercareaboutissues thatareof only symbolicimportance. Forexamplethe manin the streethas no interestin fightingin Lebanon. How does this serveourinterests? It is important not everybody Iranacceptedthe logic behindthe acts. that in It is important Khatami that the condemned acts afteronly 11 hours.

Iran Is the Lighthouseof Islam


We areunlikeothercountriesin the region.Ourpoliticalcultureis in constantdevelopment. And the very fact thatwe have not stagnated given us confidence. has Everyonewho comes fromoutsidemustpass through Iran;this gives us powerat the sametime as makingus vulnerable attack. to In general, Arabsocietiesarestagnant. This is by no meansthe situation Iran. in We have a dynamicsocietywith a politicalphilosophy constant in development. Of the threecountriesthatBush firstincludedin the Axis of Evil, Iranis the only one wherethe population well-educated. is Iran Moreover, plays an important geopoliticalrole. The Iranian reformmovement, whichclaimsthata modempoliticalmovement can growup in an Islamiccountry, putsIranin a specialposition.By focusingon elections and humanrights,the reformists sendinga powerfulmessageto Muslim are countriesandFarsi-speaking populations. Most countriesin the Muslimworldare headingtowardsdemocracy. this way In Iran,compared withthe restof the Muslimworld,has a leadof 20 years. Discussion Some respondents thought that the United States had been weakened by 9/11, but others believed that Iran had been strengthened by the attack. The strengthening they describe takes the form of an increase in national unity and greater effort to conduct a coherent foreign policy and a greater integration into the internationalcommunity. Our respondents are sure that the fact that Iran was quick to condemn the 9/11 terroristattacks, and indeed was the first Muslim country to do so, was favorably received by the rest of the world and would help to soften the West's perception of Iran as a terrorist state. In the same way, the world community ought to be able to see that the Iranianideological extremism (as exemplified by Pasdaran'sassassination of dissidents in exile) is in fact not so dangerous after all, in comparison with what happened in Manhattan.

432 * MIDDLE EASTJOURNAL amongour respondents as a consequence that It was also a commonperception in politics.After 9/11, a numof 9/11, Iranhas become moreimportant international ber of delegationscame to Tehran. Iranlookedas if it was aboutto be welcomedinto the Western club.The respondents emphasized constructive they thoughtIran the role Afghan played,andtherewas a generalconsensusthatits workto createa democratic it government of greatassistanceto the West.Behindthis enthusiasm was easy to was see a hopethatthis wouldbe the country's future. havean overlyoptimisticview of the interWe may suspectthatthe respondents of betweenthe "fundamentalism" Iranand national community's abilityto distinguish of thesearenot only two different thatof the Wahhabis SaudiArabia.Forthe Iranians, different Iran,they ways of thinking. politicalideologies,buttheyaretwo dramatically an Islamicroadto modernity, withthe abilityto adaptto changingcirthink,standsfor The talksaboutIslamicdemocracy, ruleof law,freethe cumstances. reformmovement world dom of speech,humanrights,and civil society.However,muchof the Western and just tarsthe Shi'i Islamistswith the brushof Wahhabi puritanism obscurantism. The key conceptin the mobilizingrhetoricwas "theGreatSatan"(the United and who States).Todayit is mostly the conservatives ultra-conservatives cling to this fromthe interviewsin both2000 andin 2002 thatIranian enemyimage,butit appears elites, despite the Revolution'sattemptto liberatethe countryfrom foreign interferThe ence, still feel thatthey are in the powerof the UnitedStates.26 hope is thatthe and UnitedStateswill conductsome self-examination confess its offensesagainstthe in a Iranian nation,so thatnew andgood relationscan be established, turnfacilitating modernIran.
OF ON POLITICS THE IMPACT THEAxis OF EvWL IRANIAN

Responses

What effect has the Axis of Evil rhetoric had on Iranian politics and the Iranian factions? (n is the numberof statements)
No effect on Iran the Strengthened overseasexiles the Strengthened reformers Nationalunity Killedoff dialoguewith the USA A godsendto the conservatives ultra-conservatives and 2 1 2 4 11 16
n = 36

26. Daniel Heradstveit,"ElitePerceptionsof Ethical ProblemsFacing the WesternOil Industryin Iran," Journal of Iranian Research and Analysis, Vol. 17, No. 2 (2001).

WHATTHE AXIS OF EVIL METAPHOR DID TO IRAN * 433

No Effect in Iran; Strengthenedthe Overseas Exiles


No Iranian grouphas exploitedthis to its own advantage. No single factionin Iranhas benefited fromthe speech.On the otherhand,the Iranianpoliticaloppositionabroad Pahlavists) havebenefited. speechcreated The (the an atmosphere enabledthe exile opposition presentitself as an alternative that to to the Islamicgovernment.

Strengthenedthe Reformers
The reformers havebenefited fromthe phrase.The conservatives havebeen scared andnow see the USA as a realthreat. this reasonthey aremorecautiousabout For using the USA in the ideologicalstruggleagainstthe reformers. They understand thatthis is not the time for ideologicalinitiatives domesticpolicy;Iranmustact in All rationally. rational The foreignpolicy favorsthe reformers. ideologicalelement in politicsharmsthe countryandmustbe eliminated. As long as they were confidentthatno foreignstatewouldoverthrow governthe ment,the rulersof Iranfelt strongenoughto oppressthe oppositionin the country. But afterBush'sspeechon theAxis of Evil, andbearingin mindthe activityof the secularoppositionabroad includingShahPahlavi'sson - the government concludedthatthe USA wouldsupport secularandWestern-oriented the oppositionin Iran.In orderto deal with such a situation the problems wouldbring,they and this went in for national reconciliation.

National Unity
The reformers concernednot to give the USA the impression Irancan be are that frightened compliance. threat brought conservatives reformers into The has the and together, compelledto solidarity againstwhatis seen as an external danger.
The interestingthing is that we in Iran- across factionalboundaries have reacheda consensuson how to reactto it. We shall not subjectourselvesto the are USA, butneither we interested givingthe USA excusesfor further in confrontation. We are using the meanswe have at our disposalas regardsreducingthe effect the phrasecan have internationally, alia by cultivating inter contactswith the Europeans.

The conservatives have been surprisingly cautious.We thinkit is becausethey are quitesimplyscaredthatthe USA will carryout its threats. otherwords,thisis too In seriousto exploitfor propaganda purposes. If we arethreatened fromoutside,we will standtogetherregardless ourviews in of domesticpolitics.

Killed off the Dialogue with the USA


The last yearhas beendisappointing Iran.The USA has dictateddevelopments. for

434 * MIDDLE EASTJOURNAL


Khatami's conceptof 'the dialogueof civilizations'has been shelvedin favourof the USA'sunilateral policy. The groupsthatsupported dialoguewiththe USA therefore ground. lost The speechchangedthe basisforjoint actionwiththe USA. In the new context,the idea of dialogueacquired differentmeaningfrombefore,which undermined a the positionof thosewho supported dialoguewiththe USA. The phraseBush usedhas meantthatthe moderates mustto a muchgreater degree thanpreviouslydefendall positivesteps they supportin the relationship with the USA andin international policy. will In such a situation,the reformers not advocatedialoguewith the USA either. In the light of the collaboration with the USA, the reformers have takenover the conservatives' that arguments the USA cannotbe trusted. the a It has weakened positionof those who support detentewiththe USA. The Iranian politicianswho wantdialoguewith the USA see theirchanceas gone. The idea is now dead. The phrasecame straight afterthe collaboration betweenthe USA and Iranin AfThe was ghanistan. sense of betrayal strong. Iranians who werepreviously neutral the USA haveunfortunately to changedtheir views andarenow againstthe USA. Withgreatsatisfaction, they note thatthe Axis of Evil is a slap in the face of all the thosewho trusted USA. I thinkthattheAxis of Evil has destroyed foundation a normalized the for relationshipbetweenIranandthe USA.

A Godsend to the Conservativesand Ultra-conservatives


Butwe shouldremember theconservatives, maintaining enmitywiththe that the by USA, are not exclusivelyconcernedwith scoringdomesticpoints.The fact is that The problemis, however, in Iran,factionalfighting that they too wantto negotiate. is still more important thannationalinterests.By exploitingBush's statements in domesticpolitics,the conservatives elevatedfactionalconflictover nationalinterests. Religiousgroups,those who exercisereligiousand politicalpower,have had the benefitfromthe speech.The speechwas perceived an insultto the values as greatest of the Iranian the to peopleandfor thatreasoncausedthe Iranians rallyaround relithe gious values.This reactionstrengthened conservative groups.The mobilization of religiousandconservative ideaswas strengthened the fact thatBush'sspeech by

WHATTHE AXIS OF EVIL METAPHOR DID TO IRAN * 435 camerightbeforeourcelebration the 23'd of of anniversary the IslamicRevoluion.27 This madeit easierto get massesof peopleontothe streetsanddemonstrate against whatBush said- andthis benefited conservative the forcesin society. Therightwing profited fromtheAxis of Evil.Thelanguage usedin theconservative newspaper Kayhanis now the sameas duringthe warwithIraq,violentandbloodthirsty.Realityis presentedin a way thatrequiresthe countryto be in continual the preparedness, citizensmustbe on guardandforma commonfrontagainstthe enemyat the gates.The conservatives usingtheAmerican are initiative eliminate to or oppressthe opposition. Whenthe USA, on the basisof its positionof power,insultsa nation,securityquestionsacquire placein national a politicsat theexpenseof topicssuchas freedom for thecitizens.Thegroupsthatsupported opennessin domesticpolicy ... therefore lost ground.The ultra-conservative factionis criticalof the government the state and benefited fromBush'sspeech. PresidentClintonand Secretaryof State MadeleineAlbrightwere of a different metalthanBush. The way Bush is going, he is pouringoil on the flamesof antiAmericanism. is givingthe fundamentalistshelpinghand.Mr.BushhasexhibHe a ited a lackof interestin protecting civil society,civil rights,andthe development of politicalpartiesin Iran.On the basis of Bush's statements, conservatives the want to introduce stateof emergency Iran. a in The fact that Bush made a distinctionin his speech betweenthe elected and the non-electedelementsof the government could have been used by the reformers. They could have played on this distinctionand so strengthened theirpositionin Iranian politics.Instead,they collaborated with the forces of the dictatorship. The right-wingers immediately the dangerthatthe supporters religiousdictatorsaw of ship in Iranandthe Taliban mightbe portrayed birdsof a feather,andthusthat as they mightsufferthe samefate as the Taliban. prevent To this, they realizedthatin this situationthey needed supportfrom Khatami, and it turnedout that Khatami was easy to playfor a sucker. reformers' The strategic blunder dueto an unconwas scious xenophobia. was this thatprevented It them fromreapingthe benefitsof a situation could havestrengthened forcesof democracy Iran. that the in In the conservative camptherearethose who havebenefited fromthe phrase. The phrasegoes in the conservatives' favor.If the verbalhostilitiesbetweenthe USA and Irancontinue,they will strengthen conservative the forces at the next election. The conservatives the ultra-conservatives, - in contradistinction the and who to reformers wantdialogue - basetheirpolicyon hostilerelations who withtheUSA and will clearlybenefitfromBush's speech.AfterAfghanistan, expectedthat Iran the dialoguewith the USA would get wind in its sails, but then came the speech thatgave the right-wingers chanceto say, 'If they wantto hurtus, then we'll the hurtthem.'

27. January andFebruary 2002,respectively. 29 11,

436 * MIDDLE EASTJOURNAL havederived from Theextreme wingforces right advantage theAxisof Evil. Theconservatives' that has assiduously-used argument theUSAis hostileto Iran beenstrengthened. the Thespeech strengthened right has The wingforcesin Iran. effectof thestateit because wounded national mentwas extensive shares. feelingsthateveryone a their and Bushassaulted people, culture, their feelings. with Theconservatives welcomed speech openarms. the have Iranian conservatives clutched phrase their the to Bush breasts. hasgiven them theidealammunition. ForIran, interference foreign all is When by powers theworst thingimaginable. Bushusedtheterm Axisof Evil,it wasas if he hitthemoderate the forcesin Iran witha hammer. Discussion The WTCattacksand subsequent American policy havehada decisiveeffect on Iranian domesticpolitics. Iranian hatredis not reservedfor "theGreatSatan." There are fierce conflicts among Iraniansas well. Society is fragmented, with destructive factionalfightingbetweensupporters the revolutionary of Khomeini dogmasandthose who wanta modemIranwith the ruleof law andfreedomof expression. Only two of the respondents dismissedthe Axis of Evil rhetoricas havingfew consequencesfor Iranian politics. One claimedthat no Iranianfactionhad exploited the speechin its own interest,as everyoneralliedroundthe flag,while another that said the only beneficiary the exiled opposition, Pahlavists, was the givingthemhopefor imminentregimechange.Everyoneelse considered the phrasehadhadan enormous that impacton the tug of warbetweenthe conservatives reformers. and Some respondents thatthereare groupsin Iranian hint society whichhope for a bit of outsidehelpin gettingridof the dictatorship. the sametime,a bloodbath the At is last thingthatthey want.In this perspective policy of the UnitedStatesunderBill the Clinton,whichnow appears havebeenshelved,was promising. was implicitin this to It policy thatIrancould, by small steps and avoidingwar,createthe rule of law and an Islamicversionof democracy. a countrylike Iran,Americansabre-rattling For under Bushis particularly alarming, the fragmentation the Iranian as of nationwill meanthat the alreadyirreconcilable factionswill hate one anotherall the more and exploit the resultingchaosto makea grabfor power.It also will harmeconomicdevelopment and compromiseIran'sability to deterotherattacks.The anxietythe liberalrespondents feel leads severalto contemplate exile. TheAxis of Evil led to realfear,notonly amongthereformers also amongthe but conservatives. Two respondents considered the speechhad strengthened that reformist forcesby badlyscaringthe conservatives. Accordingto thesetwo respondents, conservativeswere convincedthatthe UnitedStateswould sooneror laterattackIran.They realizedthatwith the threatof an Americanmilitaryattackhangingover Iran,perhaps with a view to a Pahlavirestoration, was no time for ideologicaladventures the this or

WHAT THEAXISOFEVILMETAPHOR TOIRAN* 437 DID politicsof symbolism.Thus,conservatives, to according these two respondents, toned down the anti-American rhetoricfrom the Revolutionand, afraidthat the reformers wouldget the upperhand,bit the bulletandofferedthema measure compromise of and was very brief:As soon as the conservacooperation. However,this "Tehran Spring" tives felt they heardthe danger-over siren,they exploitedBush's speechfor all it was worth. Ourinterviewsthus suggestthatthe Americanwarningto Iranembeddedin the Axis of Evil speechgaveconservatives in national pauseandresulted greater unity.Anotherconsequence the speechwas the alienation reformers. of of They met the conservativeshalf-way,with a suddenlydecreased enthusiasm normalization relations for of with a countrythathadbetrayed, and threatened, insultedthemin this manner. Accordingto the respondents, Bush speechupsetthe positivetrendthathad the begunin Iranian politics,such as a moreopen attitude the international to community and a normalization relationswith the UnitedStates.Therewas much talk of the of "objective" alliancebetweenthe two countriesin overthrowing Taliban reconthe and structing Afghangovernment. the This, they think,demonstrated usefulnessto the the superpower havinggood relationswith Iran.Withthe launching theAxis of Evil, of of however,all this was put on ice, and will not be takenout again for a long time. To stigmatizea countryin thatway was seen as a deeplyhostileact. as Strongandpassionate the respondents' senseof betrayal was, the suddendeath of the dialogue with the United States was neverthelessnot the highest-scoring effect of the Axis of Evil. That was reservedfor the baleful effect on Iran'sdomestic factionalfighting.Thereis a massiveconsensusthatthe speech was a godsendto the conservatives, revitalizingthe bloodthirsty anti-American rhetoricfrom the days of the Revolution. The conservatives took the speech as the finalproofthattheirenemy image of the UnitedStateshad been rightall along, and thatthe reformers, with their wish for dialogue,were naive.And it is veryhardfor the reformers arguewith this, to as most people will perceivethe Axis of Evil to be insultingand degrading. Some of the respondents statedit was the violence-prone coup-plotting and ultra-conservatives who profited mostof all fromBush'schoice of words.

CONCLUSION
In this articlewe focused on domesticIranian politics and the impactthereof 9/l 1 andtheAxis of Evil. Therespondents werequiteupbeatin regards the first,seeto ing it as strengthening Iranian nationalunityand bringingcoherenceto the country's foreignpolicy. Further, WTC attacksand Iran'spromptcondemnation the meantthat the Iranian "fundamentalists" no longerseen as the worstthatIslamhadto offer. were Regarding impacton the Iranian the factorsof theAxis speechspecifically, results the werequiteunambiguous. tinyminority it as helpingthe reformers the PahlavA saw or ist exiles, a largerminority emphasized way it scaredor offendedthe conservatives the and reformers collaborating into with the othercamp,buttherewas an overwhelming consensusthatit hadbothkilled the nascentdialoguewith the UnitedStatesandcome as a godsendto the conservatives the ultra-conservatives. and The metaphor targetsentirecountries,not theirleaders.It does not differentiate betweenthe evil leadersandthe otherswho live in the country. reformers, exThe for

438 * MIDDLE EASTJOURNAL paintedthemwiththe same ample,did not wantto be viewedas evil, butthe metaphor and brushof evil; they resistedby joining with the conservatives rallyingaroundthe In mobilizedthe entirecountry- including government. otherwords,the metaphor of that,while GreatPowersknow thattheir "friends" the US. We also would remark they always own citizens forgettheirdifferencesand rally to the flag when attacked, seem to have difficultyunderstanding why this might also be the case for theirenemies.

deviceintended In conclusion,we wouldpointoutthatthecrafters a rhetorical of controlover how to functionin one culturalandpoliticalcontexthave only imperfect thatdevice is receivedand exploitedin an alien culturalandpoliticalcontext.This is changesin the politicalcontextafterthe exactlywhatwe havewitnessedwithdramatic intervenSince thentherehas been one dramatic metaphor originallyarticulated. was of this event is too well known,discussed,and ing event,the Warin Iraq.The impact analyzedto dwell further upon it here. Suffice to say thatthe Warin Iraqhas been a can realitycheck on whata superpower andcannotachievein the region.The Warin for Iraqhasbeena learning experience a wholeglobalaudiencehavingto changemany weakenedin its self-image of of its pre-war being gradually perceptions a superpower as well as weakenedin the eyes of the world. Bush has stoppedusing the Withthis dramatically changingsituation,President has With the changingcontext,the metaphor been emptiedof its original metaphor. force. But the changingcontexthas meaning;its originalsourcehas lost its rhetorical new meaningto those people and countriesit was originallyingiven the metaphor Now it goes to demonstrate the "evilUS" could labela whole how tendedto discredit. that countrylike Iranas evil. It is not at all surprising the rightwing of the RevoluAhmadinejad likes to repeatthis metaphor as tionaryGuardaffiliatedwith Mahmud This also is an exampleof how an exampleof what satanicforces the US represents. use. New senderscan a senderof any given messagecan lose controlover its further It to resendit in a formthatis quitecontrary whatthe originalsenderintended. is not for becausethe changing even necessary the new sendersto tryto createnew meanings, politicalcontexthas alreadygivenit new meaning. Ourrespondents effects madesome appropriate predictions aboutthe short-term in of the metaphor Iran.Whattheydid not foresee,however, its long-term was effect.It tool is still with us in politicalspeecheseverywhere. has been seized as a rhetorical It for by manyin ourglobalvillage.Theeffectof the metaphor thedomesticdevelopment in Iranhas, for all those workingfor democracy the ruleof law insidethe country, and been a disasterreinforced the turnof events. by for GeorgeW. Bush, if not remembered anythingelse, will certainlybe rememberedfor giving the worldthe skillfulbutmisguided construction the metaphor, of the Axis of Evil. It has becomea powerfulrhetorical for mobilizingthe ultra-consertool also has becomea stumbling vativeand anti-democratic forces in Iran.The metaphor block for Bush,as well as for the effortof the UnitedStatesto createa betterworld.

WHAT THEAXISOFEVILMETAPHOR TOIRAN* 439 DID

APPENDIX
LIST OF RESPONDENTS

1. BahmanFarmanara: 1942. Studiedactingin Englandat the age of 16 and then b. in of He studiedfilmmaking the US at the University Southern California. returned to TV. to between1980-1990, where Iranto workin Iranian Returned the US andCanada He he ranseveralfilmcompanies. has madefive featurefilms,the mostrecentof which areSmellof Camphor; Scentof JasmineandHouseBuilton Water. 2. SadeghZibaKalam:b. 1948.Studiedengineering Londonandreceivedhis Ph.D. in at Bradford, on the Iranian He of UK, Revolution. is a professor PoliticalSciencein the Facultyof Law andPoliticalScienceat Tehran University. 3. Farhad Ataie:b. 1953.Ph.D.in NearEastern Studiesfromthe University Califorof nia, Berkeley.Professor Economicsat ImamSadeghUniversity. of 4. Anonymous playwright. 5. AbadollahMolaei:Directorof Euro-American Studiesat the Institute Political for andInternational Studies,Tehran. 6. Seyed KazemSajjadpour: Ph.D. from the US. DirectorGeneralof the Institute for PoliticalandInternational Studies,Tehran. 7. Mahmud Educated the UnitedStates,he is a professor the Faculty in Sarioghlam: on of EconomicsandPoliticalScience,ShahidBeheshtiUniversity Iranandthe headof in the Centerfor ScientificResearch Strategic and Studiesof the MiddleEast. 8. HamidReza Jalaiepour: One of the most active reformist journalists,he was involved with most of the now-closednewspapers, including Jame'ehandmostrecently Bonyan. 9. Farshid Farzin: 1967. He is an M.A. candidate the Facultyof Law andPolitical b. in Science of Tehran University, workingon his thesison International andSatellite Law Legislation. is also a consultant AtiehBaharconsultancy He to firm. 10. Amir Mohebian: is a columnistfor the conservative He newspaper Resalatand is considered be the most vocal spokesperson the conservative to for side. 11. Mohammad Najafi:b. 1945.He has an M.A. in architecture. also has directAli He ed severalfilmsandtelevisionseries.His architectural is responsible designing firm for a mosqueanda cultural centerin Tehran. 12. SiamakNamazi:b. 1971. He receivedhis M.A. in UrbanPlanningfrom Rutgers Universityandhas lived in Iransince 1999. He is the Risk and Strategic Management

440 * MIDDLE EASTJOURNAL Directorat AtiehBaharConsulting Tehran. in 13. HadiSemati:b. 1960. He receivedhis Ph.D. in PoliticalScience fromthe Univerto sity of Tennesseein Knoxville.Spent 1978-1980 in the UnitedStates,thenreturned He Iran,wherehe did his militaryserviceand workedfor the ForeignMinistry. spent 1985-1993 in the US andcurrently teachesat the University Tehran, of Facultyof Law andPoliticalScience. 14. HatamGhaderi:Professorof Political Philosophyat Tehran's TeacherTraining University. in b. 15.AhmadZeydabadi: 1965. Ph.D.candidate Tehran University's Facultyof Law andPoliticalScience.His dissertation on religionandthe statein Israel.He worksas is a journalistin the ForeignDesk of Hamshahri variousothernewspapers. was and He in prisonfor seven monthsin 2001 andwas recentlysentencedto 23 monthsplus five fromjournalistic yearsprohibition activity. 16. Farhad Firouzi:Previouseditorof the weeklyjournalKarnami. Independent writer andauthor. b. 17. IbrahimAsgharzadeh: 1955. Studiedelectricalengineeringat SharifUniversity and became partof the studentmovementbefore the Revolution.He was one of the main US hostage-takers was an MP in the thirdparliament. is curand He rently an elected memberof the TehranCity Council and an outspokenreformer. Nabavi: 1958.He is Iran's b. mostpopular satirist whosenewspaper 18.SeyyedIbrahim and columnsappearregularlyin the mainstream reformist press.He was imprisoned runshis popular for his writingsandcurrently website,http://www.nabavionline.com.