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1. Introduction

The word myth is derived from Latin 'mythus' and Greek 'mythos'. According to the ancient Greek words, mythos means dumb, silent and reticent, the opposite of logos meaning the word, statement, subtle word, reason, and wisdom (Letafati 2004:195). In the term, mythos refers to a story that apparently originates from an unknown history date against which the sources of the narrations are known (Karimi Panah and Radfar 2011:82). In the present article, myth is not just what belongs to the metaphysical part, but also in the broader sense of what exists in the history of mankind but has come out of the real shell and found a mythical colour, because myths are gradually developed over time. In the same vein, the authors of this essay attempt to examine everything inherited from the historical and metaphysical myths manifested in the poetry of Hazin Lahiji. The reference to national myths and prophets has a long history in the works of poets of Iran, where poets such as Roodaki, Ferdowsi, Unsori, Khaghani, Nezami, Sana'i, Attar, Rumi, Sa'di, Hafez and others have referred to national and religious stories in their poetry due to specific reasons (Poornamardian 2006:54). Hazin Lahiji is no exception and has used these myths to express his mental images. So far, research on this subject has not been carried out on the poems of Hazin Lahiji; however, there are at least two studies conducted in this area, namely "The Poetical Manifestation of Myths and Historical and Religious Traditions in Khagani's Poems (2002)" by Ali Ardalan Javan and "The Dictionary of Myths and Stories in Persian literature (1996), the work of Mohammad Jafar Yaghighi.

This article aims to answer the question of why Hazin Lahiji has used national myths in his poetry.

2. Manifestation of myth in Hazin Lahiji's book of poems

"Myths relate to the time of man's happiness and liberation and his close relationship with the gods, which later disappeared as a result of the collapse of this prosperity and freedom, and the connection between the Earth and the Heaven" (Eliadeh 1995:58). In Jung's view, the civilized man preserves pre-historical myths and beliefs in the unconscious, and shows these beliefs in their work for critique, retrieval and discovery of it. Today, 'literature in exile' has a special place in the critique of psychology (Sharifian 2010:224). Another aspect of collective memory is the distant history, ancient times, and even mythology of every ethnic group (Sharifian 2010:210, 1389).

Myth is widely reflected in Hazin Lahiji's poems. The mythological characters in Hazin's poetry are a reflection of the brilliant past of Iranian history and would not be a huge claim to say that a significant percentage of his poetry is the same. Addressing the national myths of each nation reflects the feeling of pride and promise of a rich culture and civilization, and reminds of that joy and pleasure in the speaker and listener.

Delight in the tradition or the distant past occurs when there are profound cultural, social and political changes in society" (Sharifian 2010:221). Hazin Lahiji among Indian style poets is of special prominence. Having lived apart from his friends and homeland in India for a long time, Hazin had experienced a foreign culture, policy and society in a strange land. Thus, he tried to console his turbulent soul and relieve his pains by reconstructing the national myths of Iran. Perhaps one of the best manifestations of such reconstruction can be found in the following poem, which recalls the passion of the poet about the Aryan land and his ancestors, and also refers to the glorious past of Iran, which has a magnificent and thrilling empire:
Beheshte barin ast iran e man
Basitash soleyman o shan ra negin
Gar az fakhr balad be keyhan kam ast
Ke astatkhare o takhtgahe jam ast
Fereydon yek az khoshe chinanae ust
Soleyman ham az khosh neshinane ust
Bovad larze dar keshvare room o ros
Ze rozi ke mikoft kavus kos
Kahin kakhshe eyvane keykhosrovist
Kamin taghe o ghorfeye kasravist
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:437, 438)

This poem is rich in mythical elements regardless of its expressive and exquisite beauties. The presence of national myths such as: Jamshid, Fereydoun, Rostam, etc. portrays the greatness and beauty of the ancestral land of the poet to the audience and the reader, and artistically embodies the glory and majesty of his land being proud of it. Of course, in addition to being dignified and solid, these verses resemble the theme and rhyme of that part of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, which he has composed for Mazandaran, thereby adding to its grace and attraction.

Thus, the glorious past of Iran and the eternal and mythical heroes such as Kiyomars, Jamshid, Kaykavus, Sam, Zal, Rostam, Esfandyar inspired Hazin Lahiji. Of course, it is worth mentioning that being so nostalgic about Iran's history and the ancient era is the result of the profound and deep-rooted cultural, social and political changes of the society in which Hazin lived, as we see in the following passages the sadness of the poet in another way:
Dar in haft khane sepanj eetebar
Na Rostam bepayad na Esfandyar
Dar in ariyat gahe ashob zay
Na Mazdak bemanad na Salman be jay
Cho Bahram khanjar zanad bar fesan
Na Shiroyeh danad na Nushirvan
Cho doran dahad jame safio dord
Na Piran shenasad na Godarze gord
Bar arad cho shire ajal sar ze ghab
Na Iraj gozarad na Afrasyab
Boland ast az in dakhme har so ghariv
Na Keshvad ra shad darad na Giv
Cho Homan darayad be dashte setiz
Be hendo ke bastast rahe goriz
Cho Sam e savar dar girodar
Che ayad ze bozineye boz savar
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:433, 435)

As you can see in the above-mentioned lines, the poet has brought epic and historical figures such as Iraj, Anooshirovan, Mazdak, Shirovi, Keshavand, Giv, Goodarz, Piran, Rostam, etc. to his poetry filled with national elements and his heart recalls the myth of Iran.

In some cases, when Hazin speaks of the world and its changes, we find again the trace of myth in it, as if he wants to display the amazing power of the times and the inability and disability of man against it through reconstructing these eternal myths:
Gereftast chalak rakhsh az raghib
Fekandast bar khak Sam-e savar
Daridast dara Nariman be zor
Boridast sharayan shiran hezar
Farrah karde gori ze Bahrame Gor
Kafan kardeh kheftane Esfandyar
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:363-364)

In this section, some of the national mythical characters in the poems of Hazin Lahiji are mentioned.

3. Jamshid

"Jam means 'the great king' and is the name of Solomon, Jamshid and Alexander, but it refers to Solomon when it is accompanied by the gem, the beast, the fairy and the devil, to Jamshid when accompanied by glass and bowl, and to Alexander when accompanied by mirror and dam" (Strong Argument, below the word Jam).

"Jamshid is the son of Tahmureth who acceded to the throne after the death of his father, and the world served him. Jamshid, with his divine splendour and obedience to God, restored tranquillity to all people, and pacified the demon and the fairy" (Rastegar Fasa'i 1990:312).

Many of the poems have referred to Jam-e jam, a specific glass attributed Jamshid in myths, and this is not unprecedented as seen in the following poem by Hafez where it refers to mystic's heart:
Ze mulk ta malakutash hejab bardarand
Har anke khedmate jam-e jahan nama bekonad
(Hafez 1993:252)
Jam-e-jam has a great value for Hazin, because he says:
Ze maani delam jam-e jamshid zad
Neyam zakhme bar saze Nahid zad
Hazing! Zolfe manit dar mosht bad
Be in tare kolkat khosh angosht bash
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:430)

In fact, the poet in his above-mentioned verse feels capable of expressing fresh meanings and themes, and since he is interested in poetry the challenges therein, he has used the myth of jam, and even in this field has outperformed Nahid's Musical Instrument and Jam-e jam.

4. Bijan

"Bijan is the son of Giv and a famous Iranian warrior, whose inexperience and arrogance, hasty decisions and rush, wrath and lust overshadowed his life" (Alborz 1990:65).

Bijan is the son of Giv and grandson of Goodarz whose father and grandfather are great Iranian heroes and champions. He is one of the Iranian epic heroes who fought many battles and won many victories, including the battle with Plashan and Tjav, participating in the battle between the Persians and the Turanians commanded by Fariborz, and most importantly, killing Gorazan in Turan, assissted and guided by Gorginmilad. He was later deceived by Gorgin who caused him to fall in love with Manijeh, the daughter of Afrasiab, and the love affair of these two is a beautiful story in Shahnameh.

Gorgin is imprisoned in a well by Afrasiyab's order and his father, Giv, cannot find him, he uses jam-e-jahanbin and finds him, and the only one who can save him is none other than Rostam. Anyway, Bijan's captivity in the well is more known in the minds of Iranians than his other attributes; therefore, Hazin has also used this notion to compare his confinement in the gloomy world around him to Bijan's captivity in the darkness of the well, and has wished for a saviour like Rostam to rescue him from his affliction:
Dar pich o khame gham gosalad reshteye omrash
rostam naresad gar be sare Bijane chahi
(Hazin Lahij 2008:359)

5. Siavash

"Siavash is the most innocent heavenly and noble figure of Shahnameh whose untimely death in Turan land in infallibility and innocence, inhibition and restraint, and human dignity is very painful and sad" (Alborz 1990:179).

Siavash is the son of Kaykavus, the king of Iran, and his mother is the great grandchild of Garsioz, the brother of the king of Turan. Siavash's mother was a beautiful woman who fled her father lest he should murder her. She was found by Iranian heroes and taken to Kaykavus who married her as she was beautiful and from a noble family. When Siavash was born, people were surprised at his beauty, but Kaykavus had heard from astrologers that his child would have a turbulent future; hence, he handed him to Rostam to rear. Rostam took him to Zabulistan and taught him riding and shooting, and royal rituals. It took years and Siavash missed his father, so Rostam took him to the court of Kaykavus with many gifts. Kaykavus celebrated Rostam and his son with great celebrations throughout Iran, then tested his son for many years, and after he made sure that his son deserved it, he gave him the crown of honour and royal prerogative. Meanwhile, Soodabeh, the wife of Kaykavus, fell in love with Siavash and took him to her bedroom several times by deception to express her love but Siavash refused. Soodabeh decided to take revenge. Soodabeh set the scene in a way that she could accuse Siavash of intending to violat her but Kaykavus, while believing in the innocence of his son asked Siavash to prove his innocence by passing through fire. Because of his true faith in the God, Siavash led his horse through fire and the people were glad. Kaykavus ordered to hang Soodabeh, but Siavash, who was aware of his father's love of Soodabeh, asked his father to forgive her.

Sometimes Hazin considers himself in the disasters, problems and oppressions like Siavash:
Hazing! Toee ke siyavashe jangodazani
na harke raft dar atash samandari danad
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:139)

Siavash is considered as the national myth and the most oppressed and pure Iranian champion, because despite proving his innocence, he feels obliged to leave Iran and seek refuge in the camp of enemy who is no one but Afrasiab. And ultimately, an evil person decapitates him as ordered by Afrasiab. Hence, Hazin speaks of the blood of Siavash, the blood that is shed unjustly and tries to redden his own face with the blood of Siavash beautifully and poetically:
Badeie sorkhtar az khon e siyavash kojast
Ke rokhe zarde mara rang be onvan arid
(Hazin Lahiji, 2008:121)

6. Sam

Sam is an Iranian champion, the son of Nariman and the father of Zal. At the time of Manouchehr, Sam was at his service and led a fight to avenge Iraj's murder. He was also the commander of the right wing of the Qaran troops in battle with the Salm and Tour, When Manuchehr took the reign, Sam remained his hero, a position he had from Fereydoun's reign" (Rastegar Fasa'i, 1990:528).

Sam, the father of Zal, considered his son devilish and abandoned him in the Mount Alborz to die only because he was an albino considering them evil. After many years, Sam dreamed that a man promised him a child. His dream interpreters told him that because he had broken the covenant of God and abandoned his son, he should ask God's forgiveness. Sam went to Alborz Mountain and brought the child to the elders for education.

In Hazin's history and itinerary, we see that he had a special dedication to the Safavid kings and hated Nader Shah, as the book "The Poet in the Crisis of Critics" on Hazin reads: "In the face of close and friendly relations that Hazin had with the Safavid kings, there has always been hostility and hatred between him and Nader Shah, and we see that Hazin did not even say what he himself said, but others have written that he was always alert to Nader Shah, and wherever his army was seen, he was concealed. This hostility towards Nader Shah was based on his devotion to the Safavid family. Another example of his opposition to Nader, which led to his escape from Iran, is in the Lar revolt that comes to the fore against Nader Shah representative and forces people to resist" (Shafie Kadkani 2011: 85).

Sometimes Hazin, resorts to a legendary myth like Sam, to depict Safavid dynasty's political defeat, their withdrawal against Nader, and the onset of Afshariyah's reign.
Chon Sam savar ast dar gir o dar
Che ayad ze bozineye boz savar
Khazaf ra be gohar che ja midahad
Jafaye khod o range ma midahi
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:435)

The aforementioned references point to the fact that the Safavid king, like Sam, cannot do anything in this disorder, let alone Nader Shah, whom he refers to as a 'chimpanzee on the goat back', and why the destiny has chosen Nadir Shah 'clay jug' instead of the king of The Safavid 'gem'. The poet wonders why destiny has made suffering and oppression for us both by this choice.

Where he wants to talk about the lack of possibilities, he believes that, in many cases, originality and racism are not workable; in other words, this originality does not work and, in this sense, refers to Sam, and suggests that empty-handed you will lose your soul, even if you have a high and genuine race:
Ba johare zati che konad sam-e tohidast
Jan moft dahad tigh ze dast dade sepahi
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:359)

7. Rostam

"Rostam, the eminent figure of Kayani era and the Iranian mythological hero and crystallization of all the aspirations of the Iranian people; with an ideal human face, a theologian, a patriotic, strong, righteous and a great man, and respectable is adorned in variety of artistic arts, with the presence of him in Kayani era has made this course the most prominent period in the national epic of Iran" (Alborz 1990:129).

Rostam is the son of Zal and Roodabah. The birth of Rustam was an unprecedented and exceptional phenomenon, because his mother fainted during his birth due to his great body, and Zal asked Simorgh for help and Rostam was born only after they cut his mother's side open; Rostam had ten wet- nurses, and after they weaned him onto solid food, he ate as much as five men, and he resembled his grandfather, Sam. He fought many battles to protect the throne of the kingdom, the prominence of the Iranians and the security of the people, and constantly played the role of a hero and rescuer in the Shahnameh.

"Rostam alone has the full national identity of Iran. The realization of Iranian ideals is at his hands and is the source of life, tranquility and honor of the Persians (Alli Abbas Abad 2008:133).

Although Hazin knows that Rostam is a unique mythical champion and hero without no counterpart in the Iranian literature, and that a huge body of poetic exaggeration about the heroism revolves around Rostam, he still finds him unable to stand against the power of the fate and wants to say that everyone, even Rostam, has to bow to the command of time and destiny:
Dar keshvari ke hokm be zore shekastegist
Gorze geran o Rostam e doran be nim ho
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:243)

Dar in haft khane sepanj ettebar
Na Rostam bepayad na Esfandyar
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:433)

And in the following verse, using a myth such as Rostam, he expresses his concern about the world and the grief of the people as follows:
Be gorz o kamand az kafe Rostam che goshayad
Rayej be zar o sim shaved sekeye shahi
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:359)

8. Bahram Gore

Bahram the fifth is known as Bahram Gour, the famous Sassanid king. Although he is a historical and real character, he has turned into a myth, because "myth refers to not only to the special sense of the story of the gods and what belongs to the supra-historical part, but in a broader sense to everything that exists in the history of mankind, but come out from the faces of reality and the gained mythical taint, because myths are nurtured gradually and over time" (Karimi Panah, Radfar 2011:82).

The complaint about the times in Hazin's poem is manifold in many ways. Where he wants to prove the extraordinary power of time and mankind's inability to stand against it, he recalls Bahram Gour whom the fate provided with a good grave and the king, with all his glory and power, was helpless:
Farrah karde gori ze Bahrame Gor
Kafan kardeh kheftane Esfandyar
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:364)

9. Afrasyab

"Afrasiab is the devil nature of the Turan land king, and the most heinous battles of the Shahnameh occur during his reign. The sharpness of anger and dullness of the heart, cruelty and ruthlessness, weakness of the covenant, capriciousness, charm and evil nature resemble the moral personality treats of Afrasyab, which ultimately suffers from their consequences and ends life in degradation" (Alborz 1990:37).

Afrasyab "is the name of the son of Pashang and the great son of Tour, whose name was first mentioned in Shahnameh, when his father Pashang adorned a forum for a war on the Iranian people, where he heard the Iranian oppressive conducts to Tour from his fathers and volunteered to fight Iranians" (Rastegar Fasaei 1990:102).

"It is natural that every artist presents his art using the elements and materials of his culture and nationality. Myths form part of the nationality, civilization and culture of each nation and become national symbols over time" (Alli Abbas Abad 2008:132).

Afrasiyab is a symbol of anti-Iranianism (but his grandfather is Tour, who is the son of Fereydoun, who defeated Zahak and his race reaches to Tahmurth), and is an ardent enemy of Iran, and most of all he is hostile to Rostam and fears him.

The scope of mythology is very wide in Hazin's poetry, in that it covers a wide variety of topics, for example, when he speaks with his fan. He still uses myths such as Rostam and Afrasyab, meaningfully to enrich the concept of speech:
Az eshveye khon Rostam taghat be khak riz
Khanjar ze tarke ghamze bar Afrasyab kash
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:364)

In fact, recalling myths can be a medicine used to treat pain that is untreatable, such as pain caused by ill fate:
Bar arad cho shire ajal sar ze ghab
Na Iraj gozarad na Afrasyab
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:433)

10. Zal

Zal, the son of Sam, was named so because he was an albino, and thus his father called him a disgrace, and in order to keep him away sent him to the Alborz Mountain. A Simorgh (legendary huge bird of wisdom and power) that lived in that mountain took Zal as food for its chiks to the nest, but God made its children kind to Zal, and Simorgh raised him, until Zal turned into a strong young man. Sam dreamed of him, and was blamed by dream interpreters for abandoning him, therefore he headed in search of his son and because Zal was not happy to be separated from the Simorgh, Simrgh gave him a feather to burn in time of difficulty to let Simorgh help him.

"Zal was always one of the greatest advisers to the kings of Iran, and all the gladiators saw him in the eye of credibility" (Ardalan Javan 2002:68).

Where Hazin reminded of his father, who had a keen interest in him, he praises him with good attributes such as goodness and generosity, and in his coaching, tact and help he considers his father Zal:
Labash feizbakhsh o kafash zarfeshan
Be emdade o ZaleRostam neshan
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:379)

As Hazin treats the world's worthlessness as is not a good place to stay and pick up, he resorts to Zal; and his way of looking for solution warning his audience:
Donya na maghamist ke chinand basati
Zalist ke pichideh be ham masnade jam ra
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:312)

Bazoye Zal donya che afkand be khakat
Bi dard! posht dasti, namard! Posht paee
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:275)

11. Esfandyar

Esfandyar is the son of Katayun, daughter of Kaiser of Rum and Goshtasb, the king of Iran. Esfandyar "is the man of Ahoori, Shahriari, and Pahlavani" (Alborz 21:1369). Esfandyar was the founder of the religion of Persia in Iran. Esfandyar was a hero with no rival during his term except Rostam. He was an epic and mythic figure known for 'being invulnerable', 'haft khan (seven daunting stages)' and 'releasing his sisters from the Turanian Arjusb', and so on. Sometimes Hazin recalls Esfandyar's bravery and compares this world to his haft khan. He also compares his heart to that of Esfandyar, and claims that one needs a heart like Esfandyar to overcome the problems of the world and survive the haft khan victoriously. Furthermore, passage through the haft khan signifies the seven Wadi by Attar, in the 'Mantegh al-Ta'ir':
Mara kard dared talab bigharar
Jahan haft khan o del Esfandyar
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:386)

In this verse, the poet also considers the world as the ephemeral haft khan and thus gives a very fanciful image to the audience, while in the second line, there is a subtle delusion of haft khan of Rostam and Esfandyar, pointing to indifference and disloyalty of the world:
Dar in haft khane sepanch ettebar
Na Rostam bepayad na Esfandyar
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:433)

12. Fereydoun

Fereydoun is the son of Abtin and Faranak. Fereydoun was born long after Zahak's reign commenced, and the clerics who had previously interpreted Zahak's dream told him about his birth. Zahak's guards intended to arrest him at the time of his birth and kill him. Fereydoun mother, Faranak, had to take him to a meadow where there was a dairy cow, and leave him there to be raised by the guardian of the meadows, and this man raised Fereydoun for three years, until his mother who was worried over her son's life took Fereydoun to Mount Alborz and gave him to a pious man who lived in the mountains, and this gentle man raised Fereydun for sixteen years, and then Fereydoun went back to his mother and asked her about his father. Faranak told him the story of Abtin, dairy cow and Zahak's oppressions he decides to take revenge (Rastegar Fasaei 1990: vol 2, 718).

In many cases, Hazin has used national myths to express the disloyalty of the world, as he refers to this in the verse by referring to the name of Jamshid and Fereydoun:
Jam raft o Fereydon ham zin kakh do biron shod
In kolbe ke mibini mirase kiyanasti
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:280)

The term 'kiyanasti' in this line can be read in two ways: 1) The legacy of the 'Kay' kings and 2) Whose legacy is it? In fact, the idea used in this verse about the message that Hazine intends to present to his audience has doubled its beauty and delicacy.

In the verse below, the poet describes the beauty of Iran to the reader in describing the Iranian state by rebuilding myth and bringing up mythical and epic figures.
Fereydon yek az khoshe chinanae ust
Soleyman ham az khosh neshinane ust
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:438).

13. Zahak

According to Ferdowsi, foul and ugly character Zahak was the son of Mardas the benefactor, and deceived by Ahriman (the devils) had killed his father, and the devil himself appeared to him as a handsome young man, kissed his shoulders and two snakes emerged from his shoulders, and then he disappeared. Snakes food was human brains and at the same course of time the Iranians protested against Jamshid and set Zohak on the throne, and he so cruelly oppressed the people that Kaveh rose up against him and turned a piece of leather into a flag (Derafsh-e Kaviani), and overthrew Zahak with the support of the people and he acceded to throne. Although Zahak was not Iranian, ruled over them and is an evil myth against the good myths of Kaveh and Fereydun, and many poets, including Hazin, have used this character to express their intentions and meanings.

Myths use is quite conspicuous in Hazin poetry when describing his stylistic power:
Sade nazmi ke dar jahan bastam
Zolme yajoj ra barandazad
Khame bazam cho dar jahangiri
Alam az kafe sekandar andazad
Ejdeha kolke kaviyanie man
Sare zahak andar andazad
(Hazin Lahiji 2008:317)

In the above verses, the poet boasts of decapitating Zahhak, defeating Alexander, and eliminating Yajoj tribe by composing great verses. He also makes a reference to Nader Shah-Afshar, maintaining that through the magic of his writing power he has created a sense of liberty among the various sections of society and has led people to resist and fight against Nader Shah and other foreign forces.

14. Conclusion

Myth is one of the important themes in the poetry of Hazin Lahiji, since the manifestation of these myths in the poetry of Hazin is deeply rooted in the Iranian culture and civilization. Not surprisingly national myths have a particular place in his poetry.

Myths are so prominent in his poetry that there are few masnavi or lyrics in which mythical characters have not been named; Hazin used mythical characters to express his thoughts so that readers would unconsciously rebuild and re-imagine national and mythical stories. Hazin filled his poetry with national elements using national mythological figures like Jamshid, Fereydoun, Zahak, Esfandiar, Rostam, and he recalls Iran's myths and, in the same vein, introduces the brilliant past of Iran. In fact, the greatest use of myths is to show the anxiety and the indifference of the world and the helplessness of man against the power of time.

Certainly mythological figures have been interwoven in Hazin's poems like gold threads, giving them a stunning effect, and Hazin has used these mythical symbols effectively to make the concepts more easily understandable.


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Zohreh Arab, Abolghasem Amirahmadi, and Ali Eshghi Sardehi

Islamic Azad University, Sabzevar Branch


Abolghasem Amirahmadi

Department of Persian Language and Literature

Islamic Azad University, Sabzevar Branch

Dr Siadati St.

Sabzevar, Iran


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Author:Arab, Zohreh; Amirahmadi, Abolghasem; Sardehi, Ali Eshghi
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Mar 1, 2019

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