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Why is Iran spreading socialism in the West?

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guard boasts that the protests that have blanketed the nation for the last week have died down – and, with them, at least 22 Iranians demanding better economic conditions and civil liberties. Economic change was at the heart of public discontent, something Iran may be seeking to export to the West by spreading socialist ideology.

The Islamic Republic of Iran and Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela both support – and may be funding – the spread of socialism in the West for their own reasons, writes Ángel Manuel García Carmona. In a new essay for Acton’s Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website. Carmona documents allegations that Iran and Venezuela funded the leaders of the Spanish far-Left party PODEMOS.

Perhaps more interestingly he quotes the party’s founder, Pablo Iglesias, telling a public meeting that Iran promotes socialism to destabilize the West:

In March 2013, during a conference session organized by the Communist Youth Union of Aragon, Pablo Iglesias said that Iran’s government is interested in spreading left-wing ideology throughout Latin America and Spain, because it would undermine those societies. “The Germans were interested in putting Lenin on a train to destabilize Russia,” he said. “The Iranians are interested in the spread of leftist discourse in Latin America and Spain, because it affects their adversaries.”

Of course, Lenin’s success in the Bolshevik Revolution led to the death of 100 million people and the enslavement of one-third of the globe … including half of Germany itself.

Why would Iran want to export this economic system to the transatlantic space?

Perhaps it recognizes Ludwig von Mises’ insight, “The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness.” The average Iranian is 15 percent poorer than a decade ago. The price of food has risen 40 percent in the last year. Unemployment and overall inflation hover in the double-digits. Socialism could bring the uneasiness of economic stagnation to the West, leaving it in social upheaval (as it has Venezuela).

Maybe Iran recognizes that “leftist discourse” inevitably degrades the pillars of Western civilization.

Or Iran may acknowledge the reality that, at the heart of all human beings is a profound longing for communion with God. Communism tried to redirect mankind’s inherent religious zeal toward its earthly utopian designs. Any society denying mankind’s spiritual nature is bound to fail. Already, rigid secularism and “European values” are proving no match for Islamist fundamentalism in Europe. Socialism would only accelerate the West’s surrender.

“Iran and Venezuela are among the main advocates of ideologies at war with the West,” Carmona writes, ideologies that “disregard [such] fundamental tenets of the West” as:

human dignity, religious liberty, the right to free speech and assembly, and economic freedom. Iran exports radical Islam – which dominated Spain for too much of its history. Venezuela exports a disregard for the human rights and civil liberties of its citizens. Both export populist, leftist socialism for their own reasons; at least one of them believes socialism is the key to weakening the West from within. Socialism’s popularity across the transatlantic sphere should concern everyone who sees the repression playing out in the streets of Venezuela and Iran.

Read his full essay here.

(Photo credit: Protests in Iran on December 31, 2017. Public domain. This photo has been cropped.)

Rev. Ben Johnson Rev. Ben Johnson is Senior Editor at the Acton Institute.

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