Great Satan
Overview
 
The Great Satan is a derogatory epithet
Epithet
An epithet or byname is a descriptive term accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title...

 for the United States of America in some Iranian
Politics of Iran
The politics of Iran take place in a framework of theocracy guided by an Islamist ideology. The December 1979 constitution, and its 1989 amendment, define the political, economic, and social order of the Islamic Republic of Iran, declaring that Shi'a Islam of the Twelver school of thought is...

 foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

 statements. Occasionally, these words have also been used toward the government of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

The term was originally used by Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini
Ruhollah Khomeini
Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini was an Iranian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran...

 in his speech on November 5, 1979 to describe the United States whom he accused of imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 and the sponsoring of corruption throughout the world.

Ayatollah Khomeini also occasionally used the terms Iblis (Diabolis - the primary devil in Islam) to refer to the United States and other Western countries.
Iranians have considered the United States and the United Kingdom as Imperialist states, who have a long history of interfering in Iran's internal affairs.
Encyclopedia
The Great Satan is a derogatory epithet
Epithet
An epithet or byname is a descriptive term accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title...

 for the United States of America in some Iranian
Politics of Iran
The politics of Iran take place in a framework of theocracy guided by an Islamist ideology. The December 1979 constitution, and its 1989 amendment, define the political, economic, and social order of the Islamic Republic of Iran, declaring that Shi'a Islam of the Twelver school of thought is...

 foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

 statements. Occasionally, these words have also been used toward the government of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

The term was originally used by Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini
Ruhollah Khomeini
Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini was an Iranian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran...

 in his speech on November 5, 1979 to describe the United States whom he accused of imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 and the sponsoring of corruption throughout the world.

Ayatollah Khomeini also occasionally used the terms Iblis (Diabolis - the primary devil in Islam) to refer to the United States and other Western countries.

Background history

Iranians have considered the United States and the United Kingdom as Imperialist states, who have a long history of interfering in Iran's internal affairs. In 1907, the Anglo-Russian Agreement between Russia and Britain divided Iran into spheres of influence, challenging Iran's moves toward independence. At the height of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the administration of the U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 approved a joint Anglo-American operation to overthrow elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq, in the pretext that his nationalist aspirations would lead to an eventual communist takeover. The operation was code-named Operation Ajax
Operation Ajax
The 1953 Iranian coup d'état was the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh on 19 August 1953, orchestrated by the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom and the United States under the name TPAJAX Project...

. At first, the military coup seemed to fail, and the Shah fled the country. After widespread rioting —and with help from the CIA and British intelligence services— Mossadeq was defeated and the Shah returned to power, ensuring support for Western oil interests and snuffing the perceived threat of communist expansion. General Fazlollah Zahedi
Fazlollah Zahedi
Mohammad Fazlollah Zahedi was an Iranian general and statesman who replaced democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq through a western-backed coup d'état, in which he played a major role.-Early years:Born in Hamedan in 1897, Fazlollah Zahedi was the son of Abol Hassan...

, who led the military coup, became prime minister.

Ayatollah Khomeini was exiled to Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 for his outspoken denunciation of the Shah's Status of Forces bill, which granted U.S. military personnel diplomatic immunity
Diplomatic immunity
Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity and a policy held between governments that ensures that diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country's laws...

 for crimes committed on Iranian soil. From Turkey, Khomeini moved to Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 in 1965 and remained there until 1978 before moving to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 for four months. He then returned to Iran and led the 1979 Iranian revolution.

The United States supported the Shah starting from the 1950s, but this waned toward the end of the 1970s, particularly under the Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 administration. The Iranians hated the Shah, and felt that the U.S was against them. When Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 came into power, the U.S also at first supported him. Demonstrators commonly chanted slogans such as "Independence, Freedom, and Islamic Republic".

Definition of the term

Khomeini is quoted as saying on November 5, 1979, "[America is] the great Satan, the wounded snake." The term was used extensively during and after the Islamic Revolution, but it continues to be in used in some Iranian political circles. Use of the term at rallies is often accompanied by shouts of "Marg bar Amrika!" ("Death to America" is an inexact translation of "Marg Bar Amrika", but is supposed to mean "Down with America"). The term has also found in political statements of Muslim and anti-American activists throughout the world. It is used in academic journals and media.

Controversies

The term has been discussed extensively and addressed within the context of U.S.-Iran relations by some members of the United States foreign policy establishment.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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