TEHRAN – As the United States and its allies intensify pressure on Iran as the core of the axis of resistance, the mourning ceremonies in Muharram improve the morale of this axis and highlight the influence the Ashura legacy had on the axis.
Every year, millions of people in Iran and abroad participate in the mourning ceremonies for the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) and the Arbaeen march, a phenomenon that has drawn attention in academic circles in terms of anthropology. Scientists and researchers shed light on the driving force behind the solidarity among the Iranian and Iraqi people during Muharram rituals.
However, Muharram’s importance is not limited to social phenomena. It’s also of political importance and has played a significant role in mobilizing the people around the region against the U.S. policies and its ally, Israel.
The Ashura uprising is the underlying ideology of the Axis of Resistance, which aims to confront the U.S. and Israeli arrogance, just as Imam Hussein (AS) confronted Yazid’s arrogance and oppression.
“Today, the world sees one of the examples of Islamic strength, which is the Arbaeen march. [The Holy Quran states,] ‘Prepare against them whatever you can of [military] power.’ The Arbaeen march is the power of Islam, the power of the truth, and the power of the Islamic resistance front,” Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said on October 13, 2019, during a speech delivered at the military University of Imam Hussein (AS). The leader also said that all free people of the world should learn from the Imam.
The Leader has pondered on the martyrdom of Imam Hussein on many occasions, saying the Imam’s martyrdom should drive people from all walks of life to seek justice and truth.
“The lesson of Hussein ibn Ali (AS) to the Islamic Ummah is that for truth, for justice, for the establishment of justice, for confronting oppression, one must always be ready and use everything in his power to play a part,” the Leader said on June 12, 2013, adding, “Today, fortunately, the Iranian nation has learned this lesson from Hussein ibn Ali. For thirty years, the majority of the Iranian nation has been moving in this direction. There have been some few people who didn’t move in this direction, but the majority of the Iranian nation follows in Hussein ibn Ali’s footsteps.”
He earlier said that the Ashura uprising had many lessons one of which is that one should make sacrifices to preserve his religion and everyone should participate in the battle against the wrong.
Ayatollah Khamenei himself is seen as another “Hussein ibn Ali,” who leads the Islamic resistance against Israeli arrogance and oppression.
“Today America, Israel and the tools of America and Israel are trying to besiege our camp, and the imam of this camp is Imam Khamenei (may Allah protect him), and the center of this camp is the Islamic Republic in Iran,” said Seyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, in September 2019.
Nasrallah added, “This is our camp, this is our imam, this is our leader, and this is our Hussein. In this battle, there is no place for neutrality. Either you are with Hussein or with Yazid. The battle is renewed and the confrontation is renewed again.”
The U.S. and its allies in the region continue to join forces to weaken the axis of resistance and eradicate it if possible, even though Hezbollah and Iran repeatedly say that the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese group is unbreakable. Nasrallah once said that Hezbollah will never part ways with Iran even if its members are grisly killed and burned.
Nevertheless, the U.S. and Israel continue their campaign against Iran and Hezbollah. To this end, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began a tour of West Asia to discuss the normalization of diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates as well as the U.S. efforts to restore international sanctions on Iran.
The tour comes against a backdrop of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran over the White House’s controversial decision to trigger the snapback process, a mechanism built into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to allow parties to the deal to snap back all UN sanction on Iran if it didn’t uphold its obligations under the nuclear deal. 13 of the 15-member UN Security Council has expressed their outright opposition to the U.S. measure, saying the U.S. lost its legal authority to trigger the snapback after it unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018.
The U.S. seeks to establish closer cooperation with its allies in the region to ramp up pressures on Iran after it faced strong opposition from the international community. The U.S. State Department issued a statement ahead of Pompeo’s trip to the region saying that Iran would be one of the issues that Pompeo will discuss during his tour.
“Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will travel to Israel, Sudan, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates August 23-28. He will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem to discuss regional security issues related to Iran’s malicious influence, establishing and deepening Israel’s relationships in the region, as well as cooperation in protecting the U.S. and Israeli economies from malign investors,” the statement said.
It seems that the U.S. believes that the accelerating developments in the region including the massive explosion at Beirut Port, which destroyed large swaths of the Lebanese capital, and the UAE-Israel peace deal provide a unique opportunity to weaken the axis of resistance.
However, some analysts believe that the U.S. efforts to confront Iran will hit a dead end because the Islamic Republic of Iran and the axis of resistance have deep cultural roots.
Ja’afar Ghannadbashi, a West Asia expert, previously told the Tehran Times that the Iranian people have a deep affection for the Ashura uprising and that the Islamic Republic of Iran is more of a cultural movement that is inspired by Imam Hussein’s (AS) martyrdom.
“No country can confront a cultural movement,” the expert said.