’Ingilis’, ‘Cherchil’ and Conspiracy Theories Galore: The Iranian Perception of the British
Summary, in English
One of the constant characteristics featuring Iran-Britain relations in the post-revolutionary era has been a strong sense of distrust and a demonizing discourse they have employed mostly as an ideological-moral framework to interpret and represent each other’s actions and policies. A great majority of the Islamic Republic officials view the UK and its policies, however favourable or friendly they might prove to be at times, from a ‘threat-based’ perspective. A byproduct of this sedimentary perception is the development of conspiracy theories about British ubiquity in Iranian affairs, exemplified by the pre-revolutionary book and television serial My Uncle Napoleon. and its overriding motif that the British have a hidden hand in anything ominous and undesirable that happens to its protagonist and, by extension, to Iran. Strikingly, there is a good number of Iranians among the general public who believe that the Islamic Revolution was primarily masterminded by Ingilis. Others take a further cynical stride and, in spite of the strained relations and almost constant tension between the Islamic Republic and Great Britain since, maintain that the ayatollahs are originally a British product and bilateral co-operation on how best to take advantage of Iran’s national wealth goes on behind the scenes.