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By Barry Rubin
Is Iran’s government sponsoring an Internet site that extols the German Nazis, their history and achievements, including the antisemitism that the current Iranian regime also supports? The facts seems to show this to be true though the possibility of a hoax does exist.

Here are the facts. There is a discussion group site entitled IranNazi that has an Iranian internet URL. It is written in Persian and seems to have begun on August 24. All the material on the site is pro-Nazi and features pictures of Adolph Hitler, the swastika, and goose-stepping German soldiers. There is an English-language part as well.

The main page includes the following message:

این تارنما طبق قوانین جمهوری اسلامی ایران و تحت نظارت کارگروه رسانه های دیجیتال وزارت فرهنگ و ارشاد جمهوری اسلامی فعالیت می کند .

In English it means: “This website is under Islamic Republic of Iran laws and it is under the supervision of the working committee on Digital Media of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.”

Neo-Nazi groups have existed in Iran, going back to the 1930s when some high-ranking Iranians advocated an alliance with Germany. Indeed, fear of such an outcome led to the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941 and five-year-long occupation of the country.

Could this site be a counterfeit created by anti-government forces to discredit the regime or an independent creation of some tiny group? Maybe. But probably not.

The site is registered to this place. IRNIC, the registered holder, is Iran’s domain manager and an arm of the government.

So this, then, is a state-backed site, showing just how far the regime has gone in endorsing Nazism and antisemitism.

One reader asked me whether anyone would be surprised to see something like this happen. My answer is that while many observers won’t be surprised, given the regime’s hatred of Jews as well as of Israel, the national home of the Jewish people, there are others who will be genuinely shocked. The conventional wisdom in many quarters that Iran’s regime is a rational government that looks only to its national self-interest.

There is something to be said for this view. We have seen times when Iran’s rulers–some if not all–exercised caution and showed that the regime’s survival was their highest priority.

But as I’ve written elsewhere, Iran’s government is the closest thing we’ve seen to an irrational, ideologically motivated ruler since the fall of Germany in 1945. There have been other such rulers–Idi Amin in Uganda, the Cambodian Communists, the Afghan Taliban come to mind. But we have seen how these regimes have behaved and how many people they’ve murdered.

And none of those others, including Nazi Germany itself, had nuclear weapons.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict, and Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan), Conflict and Insurgency in the Contemporary Middle Eastand editor of the (seventh edition) (Viking-Penguin), The Israel-Arab Reader the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria(Palgrave-Macmillan), A Chronological History of Terrorism (Sharpe), and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).   

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