Iranian Shia eulogists dispatched to Damascus to wage propaganda war for Tehran


The Syrian war is viewed by the Iranian regime as an opportunity for the dissemination of sectarian ideology through Shia eulogists, as part of the official propaganda policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Due to the emergence of terrorist groups such as ISIS and their presence in Syria, foreign media and counter-revolutionary media, have focused their reports concerning Iran’s presence there on its armed forces and militias allied with Bashar’s regime on military issues, mentioning “Iran’s military presence” in Syria, and occasionally referring to Iranian media reports exalting the regime’s “martyrs and defenders of Shia protecting [Syria’s] holy shrines” and similar religiomilitary references.
Although little attention has been paid to the Iranian regime’s Shia eulogists arriving in Syria to proselytize on behalf of the Islamic Republic under the pretext of “defending the Shiite sanctuaries and shrines” (usually in areas with neither), they were mentioned in a recent BBC article.
In the BBC article, which focused on the preeminent status of “mourners” and “eulogists” in Iran, the author referred to a meeting between commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is also the leader of the world’s Shia. Several prominent eulogists, who have a high rank within the regime, were also present. During the meeting with Khamenei, the writer stated, one of the senior IRGC commanders, Sadegh Ahangran, was reportedly overcome with religious devotion, lamenting and weeping to express his emotional state at proximity to the ayatollah, with other commanders joining in. Although this is unusual in the West, it is not an uncommon or noteworthy occurrence in Iran, demonstrating the absolute supremacy of Shiite doctrine in shaping all aspects of regime policy, with such emotional displays of devotion viewed as admirable indications of piety.
The BBC report indicated that during the IRGC officials’ talks with the clerical eulogists, they [the eulogists] emphasized the importance of strengthening religious devotion amongst young people, as well as the central role for eulogists and mourners in “defending” Shiite holy sites, not only in Iran but also in Iraq and Syria. Ayatollah Khamenei also stressed the eulogists’ crucial role, saying that they serve Iran even more than Quranic reciters, chanters, and mourners, praising their work and urging them to continue with their proselytizing work, which he said plays a critical role in promoting the ideology of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The article on the BBC website stated that, based on the statements of IRGC commanders, the Iranian regime is “mobilizing its eulogists,” following requests from the Iranian leadership, to dispatch them to Syria and Iraq in coordination with the IRGC’s elite Quds Force, which is operating in both countries.
The war in Syria has helped to revive aspects of the “imposed war,” as the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 is known in Iran, with the conflict in Syria providing an opportunity to reformulate the ideology of proselytizing and mourning as part of the Islamic Republic’s official dissemination propaganda policy. The mourners” and “eulogists who travel to Damascus, are metaphorically “strengthening the trenches” in Tehran, not to confront ISIS but to challenge the changing culture of new generations of young Iranians who are increasingly disenchanted with the official culture and principles of Iran’s ‘Islamic revolution.’

Editorial Team