ZOROASTRIANS [Michael Ledeen]
Thanks to John Miller for the latest silliness from the NYT, which seems not to know that there is a vast Zoroastrian revival under way in Iran. As I have written from time to time, Islam is very unpopular in Iran nowadays (mosques are empty for Friday prayers; a few weeks ago there were less than a dozen people in the main mosque in Shiraz, according to an ayatollah friend of mine), but Zoroastrianism is surging. Just look at the fire festival for No Rooz, the ancient new year celebration, which the regime has been unable to quash. (emphasis added)
Yes, Michael, I'm sure the Iranian people are getting sick of Islam, just as Iraq is a mostly secular country whose people will rally behind the "outstanding leadership of Ahmed Chalabi." Even if Islam were becoming unpopular in Iran, I guarantee that the best way to make everyone in Iran real devout real quick is to follow Michael Ledeen's foreign policy suggestions. Bloody well worked for Iraq.
Back in the reality-based community, non-Muslims make up between one and two percent of Iran's population. Zoroastrians make up a portion of that one to two percent, along with Jews, Christians, and Baha'i. I don't know if I'd call that "surging" as much I would call it "a portion of between one and two percent." While recognizing that there is a considerable amount of resentment against the regime among various groups in Iran, Edward Luttwak suggests that reports of a Zoroastrian revival come mostly from exiles. (I know I've seen this movie before...) A Google search of "Iran, Zoroastrian revival" produces mostly some articles by Michael Ledeen, or articles with references to claims by Michael Ledeen.
This isn't to say that the persecution of minority religions in Iran does not take place, or that it isn't a terrible thing (wherever it occurs), just that everything that crosses Michael Ledeen's line of sight is interpreted by him as one more reason to topple the Iranian government. He's become sort of a neocon Chatty Cathy doll, only when you pull his string, instead of saying "Please brush my hair" or "Let's make cookies", he says "Please Invade Iran" or "Let's Invade Iran."