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Page history last edited by Adam 14 years, 4 months ago

Reign of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, 1941-1979


- having deposed Reza Shah, the Allies set up his son as the new Shah - he would ultimately turn out to have as interesting a uniform as any other Shah:



- Mohammad Reza was the first Shah to be educated in Europe, at a Swiss boarding school - Teymourtash accompanied young Mohammad Reza to the school

- so, the UK and the USSR now established the “Persian Corridor” - this allowed Britain to ship things to the USSR (Germany was in the way in the west)

- here are some trucks hauling goods across Persia on their way to Russia:



- and here’s goods being transported on the Trans-Iranian Railway:



- in January 1942, the new Shah signed the Tripartite Treaty of Alliance with the UK and the USSR, under which Iran ended its stance of neutrality and agreed to supply the Allies with nonmilitary support during the rest of World War II - the Allies agreed that their troops would leave Persia within 6 months of the end of the war

- in September 1943, Iran formally declared war on Germany in order to qualify for membership in the United Nations

- November 1943: the Big Three come to Iran for the Tehran Conference - here they are in Tehran:



- the Big Three affirmed their commitment to Iran’s independence and offered Iran economic assistance

- at the end of World War II, British troops withdraw but Soviet troops stick around

- USSR creates pro-Soviet separatist regimes in northern Iran: the Azerbaijan People’s Republic and the Republic of Mahabad (a.k.a. Kurdistan) - here’s a picture of Qazi Muhammad, the new President of Kurdistan:



- this led to one of the first major episodes in the Cold War, the “Iran Crisis”: the US demanded that the USSR withdraw its troops from these new people’s republics

- the US succeeded to convince the USSR to withdraw its troops in May 1946, but only after Iran agreed to grant Russia an oil concession

- in mid-1946, Iranian forces, with US backing, re-took the two separatist provinces - the leaders of the Azerbaijan People’s Republic sought refuge in the Azerbaijan SSR, but the Kurdish leaders were captured and executed - the Soviet oil concessions were now revoked

- it initially appeared that Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi would behave as a constitutional monarch - he took a hands-off approach to government and let the Mijlas do what it wanted

- in 1951, however, Mohammad Mosssadegh became Prime Minister of Iran - here he is:



- Mossadegh had been an important leader in the Mijlas since the time of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution

- Mossadegh wanted to nationalize the Iranian oil industry - he knew that this would upset the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co.  (APOC was renamed AIOC in 1935), but he thought that the U.S. would support him because the US had no interest in Iran - Mossadegh led the nationalization legislation through the Mijlas and was elected as  prime minister shortly thereafter - under the terms of the nationalization, the Iranian government assumed control of AIOC’s assets and expelled all western oil companies from Iran

- Mossadegh’s political party was a National Front, an alliance of Nationalist, Liberal, and Social-Democratic parties - unfortunately for Mossadegh, he was also willing to reach out and work with the Tudeh Party of Iran, the communist party which had been founded in 1941 during the Soviet occupation - here’s the Tudeh Party logo:



- this led to the Abadan Crisis (named for the oil-producing city) - Britain was furious about the nationalization and initiated a boycott - under pressure from the British, the shah briefly removed Mossadegh from power in 1952, but Mossadegh was extremely popular, so the Shah quickly brought him back as PM

- however, Britain had another crafty plan for a coup against Mossadegh - they asked Harry Truman to approve it, but he refused - Eisenhower, on the other hand, was worried that the political situation in Iran might give the Tudeh Party the opportunity to seize power (since Communist parties have often used nationalist “front” movements to gain power - see, e.g. China, Poland, Hungary, etc., etc.)

- so he approved a joint MI6-CIA coup - the CIA appointed Kermit Roosevelt Jr.  (Teddy Roosevelt’s grandson) to be in charge of what was codenamed “Operation Ajax” - here’s Kermit:



- as a condition to participating in the coup, the US insisted that the AIOC monopoly on Iranian oil would not be restored - instead, it would be divvied up between AIOC, five US companies, Royal Dutch Shell, and the Compangnie Française des Pétroles

- February 1953: the Shah tries to force Mossadegh to resign and in August 1953, Mossadegh’s followers forced the Shah into exile- enter Fazlollah Zahedi:



- background of Zahedi: he had initially served in the Persian Cossack Brigade, and played a major role as a leader fighting separatist movements in the 1920s - Reza Shah, whom he knew from the Cossacks, appointed him as a military governor over the oil-rich province of Khuzestan - in 1941, when Reza Shah was overthrown, the British sent Zahedi to a concentration camp in Palestine for the rest of the war - when he returned from exile after the war, the new shah made him chief of secret police in charge of fighting another separatist movement - in 1951, he accepted the post of Minister of the Interior under Prime Minister Hosein Ala’, whom you can see here:



- when Mossadegh became Prime Minister, Zahedi retained his post as Minister of the Interior - however, he grew dissatisfied with Mossadegh’s policies for a number of reasons: 1) he felt that Mossadegh was too closely allied to the Tudeh Party (who held large rallies in favour of nationalization); 2) he felt that the economic embargo imposed by the UK was killing Iran’s economy; and 3) there was growing unrest among southern ethnic groups and oil workers, and he felt that Mossadegh wasn’t doing enough to stop these problems

- so in August 1953, the Shah again dismisses Mossadegh, only to have Mossadegh and his followers force the Shah into exile in Rome on August 15 - the Shah now names Zahedi as his prime minister, and, directed by the CIA and MI6, Zahedi now led a counter-coup against Mossadegh

- here, we can see Zahedi’s troops surrounding the Mijlas on August 19:



- nor was this counter-coup entirely unpopular - Zahedi was relying on the authority and charisma of the Shah, and a propaganda campaign that involved dropping thousands of pamphlets saying “Up with Communism, Down with Allah” and “Down with Islam, Up with Communism”, meaning that Mossadegh was anti-Islam while the Shah would maintain tradition - as such there were some pro-Shah, anti-Mossadegh demonstrations as Zahedi’s troops entered Tehran, which you can see here:



- Mossadegh was put on trial for high treason, though the Shah and Zahedi decided to just place him under house arrest rather than have him executed - he died peacefully in 1967

- so problem solved - in 1954, the Shah agreed to the British-American plan whereby Iranian oil was placed under an international consortium split between the Americans (40%), British (40%), Dutch (14%), and French (6%)

- thus, by 1955, everything was back to normal, and the Shah and Zahedi were as pleased as punch, as you can see by this photo of them shaking hands upon the occasion of Zahedi relinquishing the prime ministership and sailing off to become Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations:



- in 1957, the Shah ended martial law, which had been in effect in Iran since 1941

- in 1961, the Shah initiated a series of reforms which culminated in the White Revolution of 1963: the centrepiece of the White Revolution was land reform, which saw Iran’s traditional landed elites lose much of their power and influence as 90% of Iran’s land was redistributed to share-croppers following a national referendum - here we see the Shah handing out land deeds:



- other significant aspects of the White Revolution: nationalization of forests and pasture lands; government-financed heavy industry projects; more money for rural education, including the formation of the Literary Corps, which allowed young men to forego their military service in favour of teaching rural peasants how to read; and suffrage was extended to women

- problems with the White Revolution: peasants didn’t get enough land to live on and ultimately lost it to loan sharks; Shi’ite clergy angered because reforms move education and family law in non-traditional direction and limit clerical power in rural areas: it’s at this point that a young Ayatollah Ruhollah Kohmeini first comes to prominence as an opponent of the White Revolution who accuses the Shah of having fallen under infidel (Christian and Jewish) influence

- throughout the White Revolution, the Shah’s Prime Minister was Hassan-Ali Mansur (he became prime minister in 1963) - here he is:



- in 1964, the Iranian government passed the American Force Protection Act, a “capitulation” granting diplomatic immunity to American military personnel stationed in Iran

- from the holy city of Qom, the Ayatollah Khomeini denounced these capitulations - as a result, the Iranian government forced him into exile - first, he went to Turkey - here’s a picture of him  during his Turkish exile - note that he’s not wearing a turban because turbans were banned in Turkey:



- in 1965, Mansur was assassinated by a communist,, just before he was about to give his first state of the union speech to the Majlis

- to replace Mansur, the Shah chose Amir-Abbas Hoveida, seen here:



- Hoveida’s background: Hoveida leveraged a position at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to become a director of the National Iranian Oil Company in 1958; under Mansur’s leadership, he helped to create a group called the Progressive Circle, a group of western-educated technocrats; the Progressive Circle founded the New Iran Party in 1963; and in 1964, Mansur brought Hoveida into the cabinet as his Finance Minister   

- Mansur’s assassination led to increasing role for SAVAK, the Iranian secret police - during this crackdown, they killed roughly 13,000 people       

- Hoveida attempted to bring western-educated intellectuals into the government, and began a series of reforms designed to stem corruption   

- 1969-71: Iran’s relations with Iraq deteriorate - Iraq expels Iranian nationals - in response, Iran occupies 3 Persian Gulf islands it claims belong to Iran

- unrelated note: the Shah visits the US in 1971 - here he is with the Nixons:



- also in 1971, Iran’s Minister of Finance (served 1964-73), Jamshid Amouzegar, negotiates a deal with Saudi Arabia which results in the world price of oil increasing fourfold - look at how smug he looks, with his pretty golden braid:



- the Shah re-nationalizes the oil industry in 1973 - this time it’s less controversial

- beginning in the early 1970s, the People’s Mujahadin of Iran begin assassinating American military personnel and contractors stationed in Iran

- the Shah grows increasingly sceptical of multiparty democracy - as a result, in 1975, he bans all parties except for the monarchist party, the Rastakhiz (“Resurrection”) Party - all Iranians are pressured to join the party

- Hoveida’s New Iran Party was dissolved during this process, and Hoveida was persuaded to briefly become the secretary general of the Rastakhiz Party

- smug old Jamshid Amouzegar was taken hostage by Carlos the Jackel in 1975, but he eventually released him

- Amouzegar became prime minister in 1977

- the Shah visited the US again in 1977 - here he is meeting with Jimmy Carter and Carter’s advisers:


- shortly after Carter became president, the Shah had appointed Amouzegar as his PM

- nevertheless, the Shah remained quite unpopular for a number of reasons: 1) his close relationship with the US, esp. the capitulation was regarded as anti-Iranian; 2) the elitism of the Shah’s court alienated those who were not a part of it (see, e.g. the massive party thrown in1971 celebrating 2500 years of uninterrupted monarchy) ; 3) the Ayatollah Khomeini, in exile, was campaigning against him, but the Shah never cultivated allies amongst the Shi’ite clergy; 4) although the Shah was successful in repressing leftist organizations, the regime failed to notice the growth of extreme right-wing (Islamic nationalist) organizations; 5) the Shah exhibited authoritarian tendencies, repeatedly violating the 1906 constitution and unleashing the unpopular secret police, SAVAK, on the populace; 6) the antagonism of a ton of people by the creation of a one-party system in 1975



The Iranian Revolution, 1979


- 1978 saw the whole Iranian system unwind

- three groups were opposed to the Shah’s regime in 1978: 1) constitutionalists; 2) Marxists; and 3) Islamists

- January 1978: protests by Islamic groups in the holy city of Qom in protest of calumnies printed about Khomeini in the government press - the army sent in and kills several protestors - their funerals are held 40 days later (in accordance with Muslin tradition), initiating a fresh round of demonstrations - fresh government killings lead to funerals in March, which spark another round of demonstrations       

- fearing a revolution, the Shah approached the US - the Carter administration had no consistent policy towards Iran in this period - Secretary of State Zbigniew Brzezinski assured the Shah that the US supported his regime, but this wasn’t necessarily the case

- violence continued - Islamists started attacking cinemas

- September 8, 1978 - known as Black Friday - the Shah declared martial law and sent in tanks and helicopter gunships to break up anti-Shah demonstrations

- at this point, we’d do well to check up on the Ayatollah Khomeini - recall that he had been exiled from Iran in 1964 and had gone to Turkey - in 1965, he moved to Najaf, Iraq, and lived there until September 24, 1978, at which point Vice President Saddam Hussein’s forces bombarded his home and forced him to leave Iraq- at this point, the Ayatollah traveled to France on a tourist visa (he wasn’t sure where he’d settle next) - here he is in Neuphle-le-Château in 1978:

- in light of what was going on in Iran, journalists from around the world flocked to Neuphle-le-Château, France, to see if the Ayatollah would play a role in the emerging crisis in Iran - here’s a picture of him surrounded by journalists:

- the Ayatollah was thus transformed from being a merely local Iranian celebrity into a bona fide worldwide celebrity

- the Shah now appointed a reformist politician, Shapour Bakhtiar, as his prime minister, in an attempt to stem the reformist sentiments - here’s Bakhtiar:

- that didn’t really work out though, and Bakhtiar recommended that the Shah leave the country, resulting in the Shah going into exile on January 16, 1979

- the Shah’s departure led to mass demonstrations demanding that the Ayatollah Khomeini return to Iran - e.g.:

- two weeks later, on February 1, 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Shah’s most prominent critic, returned to Iranian soil after 15 years of exile - here he is returning to Iran (note that he’s old and has to be helped off the plane by the Air France pilot):

- so, what were Khomeini’s thoughts as he stepped off the plane?  well, they had evolved over time - in the 1940s, he had published a book in which he argued in favour of constitutional monarchy under the terms of the Iranian Constitution of 1906 - however, following his own ill treatment by the monarchy, he changed his mind, and in 1970, in Najaf, he gave a series of lectures in which he outlined his new political theory - the major points addressed during these lectures were: 1) the Sharia law should be the only law governing human society; 2) since Sharia law is the proper law, the ruler should be, a “faqih”, someone knowledgeable in Islamic law - this was opposed to the concept of rule by the people; 3) only a system of clerical rule could prevent injustice, corruption, and oppression of the poor by the powerful, prevent deviation from Sharia law, and protect the country against plots by anti-Muslim foreigners

- at the time to his return to Iran, the Ayatollah’s opinions about the need for a cleric-dominated government were not yet widely known - he was a celebrity because of his religious, not his political views, and because he had stood up to the Shah about the White Revolution

- Khomeini opposed Bakhthiar’s government, and appointed his own rival prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan - here's a pic from the press conferernce:

- as Khomeini’s popularity continued to grow, soldiers began to defect to his side, and the Revolution was pretty much won by Khomeini on February 11, 1979, when the military declared that it would be neutral as between the Shah’s government and Khomeini’s       

- Khomeini now proposed a new polity for Iran, submitting his proposal to a national referendum - in the “Referendum of 12 Farvardin” (March 30-31, 1979), 98.2% of Iranians agreed that Iran should become an “Islamic Republic”


Islamic Republic, 1979-Present


Foundation of the Islamic Republic


- under the terms of the Referendum of 12 Farvardin, elections were held to the Assembly of Experts for the Constitution in summer 1979

- prior to the election of the assembly, a “Revolutionary Council” had proposed a constitution, drafted by Hassan Habibi - here he is when much older:

- Habibi’s draft constitution was identical to the 1906 Constitution (which the Shahs had subsequently undermined), except that, in place of the Shah, it substituted an elective presidency - this was basically the model of Gaullist France

- Khomeini was prepared to submit this constitution to a national referendum, but (ironically, as it turned out), leftist politicians objected to bypassing the Assembly of Experts, and insisted that the Assembly of Experts should be allowed to amend the draft constitution before it was submitted for a national referendum

- the Assembly of Experts had 73 seats: Iranians elected clerics to 55 of these seats; 50 of these clerics belonged to the Islamic Republic Party - i.e. maybe the leftists would have been better off if the Assembly of Experts hadn’t been allowed to comment on the constitution

- the Assembly was influenced by the concept of velayat-e faqi, or “clerical guardianship”, which the Ayatollah Khomeini had developed during his time in exile - under the guidance of this idea, the Assembly modified the Constitution in 2 major ways:

(I.)  the Assembly inserted the position of “Supreme Leader of Iran” into the Iranian Constitution - the Supreme Leader would be elected by an 86-member “Assembly of Experts”, all of whom would be Muhtahids, experts in Islamic law - the Supreme Leader would be Iran’s head of state (the president would be its head of government) - the Supreme Leader’s duties include: 1) determination of Iran’s general policies and supervision of the government’s implementation of those policies; 2) he was the Commander-in-Chief, with the right to declare war or peace; 3) right to appoint: a) the fuqaha’ (Iranian chief justice) and the rest of Iran’s supreme court; b) the head of Iran’s TV and radio networks; c) the chief commanders in Iran’s armed forces; c) heading an “Expediency Council” when issues can’t be resolved by normal means; d) calling for new elections; e) decision to remove president upon recommendation of the legislature or the supreme court; f) the right to issue pardons

(II.)  the Assembly inserted a “Guardian Council” - the Guardian Council consists of 6 clerics appointed by the Supreme Leader, and 6 jurists nominated by the Head of the Judicial Power (who was himself appointed by the Supreme Leader) and elected by the Majlis - the Guardian Council constitutes the Upper House of Iran’s legislative system - if the Majlis and the Guardian Council cannot reach agreement on a bill, the bill passes to the Expediency Council, which is appointed by the Supreme Leader

- as amended by the Assembly of Experts for the Constitution, the new Constitution was submitted to the Iranian people for a referendum on December 2-3, 1979, and received in excess of 98% of the popular vote


The Iranian Hostage Crisis, 1979-1981


- the Iranian Hostage Crisis began in November 1979, a month before the referendum on the new Iranian Constitution

- the Iranian Hostage crisis was plotted by Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, seen here when he was much older:

- in consultation with the heads of the university student Islamic groups at the University of Tehran, Sharif University of Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, and the Iran University of Science and Technology, Asgharzadeh formed a group called the “Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line”

- the cause for this movement was the fact that the exiled Shah had been admitted to the US for cancer treatment at the Mayo Clinic in October 1979       

- the Ayatollah took this as a sign that the US was plotting to restore the Shah - Khomeini now denounced the US as “the Great Satan” and the “Enemy of Islam”

- on November 4, 1979, the Muslim Followers of the Imam’s Line invaded the US embassy and took American diplomats hostage

- here’s a picture of a hostage displayed for the media - note that there has been speculation that one of the student captors in the photo is Mahmoud Ahmedinejad

- the students demanded: 1) the return of the Shah to Iran for trial; 2) the return of the Shah’s wealth to the Iranian people; 3) an apology from the US for its undue interference in Iranian affairs; and 4) a promise not to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs in the future

- Bazrgan’s government resigned on November 6, two days after the beginning of the hostage crisis - the Islamic Revolutionary Council stepped into this power vacuum and pledged to hold the scheduled referendum on the new constitution in December

- Khomeini refused to take a position on the hostages, stating in February 1980 that the new Majlis should determine what to do about the hostage situation - on the other hand, the students proclaimed that the hostages were “guests of the Ayatollah”

- the American public was outraged and wanted the government to do something:

- at first, Jimmy Carter didn’t know what to do

- on November 14, he issued an executive order, freezing $8 billion of Iranian government assets held in US banks


The Canadian Caper


- 6 American diplomats were out on assignment in Tehran on November 4, as the hostage crisis began - by November 10, 3 of them had made it to the Canadian Embassy - 6 altogether

- the Canadian Ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor, alerted the Canadian Prime Minister, Joe Clark, seen here:

- Clark called a special session of the Parliament of Canada (the first special session held since World War II), which approved the issuance of fake Canadian passports for the American diplomats

- Ambassador Taylor now sketched out a plan for the American diplomats to sneak from the Canadian Embassy to the airport:

- January 27, 1980: arriving safely at the airport, the American diplomats used their fake Canadian passports to board a flight to Switzerland and safety

- the American public, happy to finally hear some good news out of Iran, erupted in a mass demonstration of pro-Canadian sentiment - e.g.:


The Crisis Continues


- President Carter now decided to approve a military expedition to free the hostages, entitled Operation Eagle Claw

- the rescue mission began on April 24, 1980 (four days before my birth on April 28, 1980) - things started out swimmingly:

- however, an unexpected sandstorm resulted in the downing of one of the helicopters:

and, as a result of the storm conditions, the military commander decided to abort the mission


Beginnings of the Islamic Cultural Revolution


- the first elections under the new Islamic constitution were held on January 25, 1980 - Abolhassan Banisdar becomes president (with Khomeini as Supreme Leader)

- the Islamic Cultural Revolution was a series of dramatic changes in Iranian life in the period 1980-1987

- the “Islamization of the Universities” proceeded to purge the universities of professors whose Islamicity was suspect

- one of the unexpected consequences of the beginning of the Cultural Revolution was to bring secular academics to the holy city of Qom for the first time, thus resulting in Qom’s first exposure to modern ideas


The Crisis Continues and then Finally Ends


- the Shah died of cancer in July 1980 - the students now demanded only the unfreezing of the Iranian government’s assets in the US and the right of future self-determination

- in August 1980, Mohammed Ali Rajai becomes prime minister of Iran   

- September 1980: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces invade Iran - we’ll come back to this

- the second American attempt to rescue the hostages, Operation Credible Sport, occurred in October 1980, shortly before the US presidential election - it also failed

- after Carter lost the November 1980 election to Ronald Reagan, he entered into a series of negotiations with Iran brokered by the Algerian diplomat Abdulkarim Ghuraib (the chief American negotiator was Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher) - the result of these negotiations was the Algiers Accord, signed on January 19, 1981, by which: 1) the US agreed not to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs; 2) the US un-froze Iranian assets; 3) both countries agreed to submit any potential litigation from the crisis to a joint commission; 4) the US agreed that the Shah’s personal property would not be subject to sovereign immunity principles; and 5) Iran agreed to meet its credit obligations to US lenders

- as a result of the Algiers Accords, the American hostages were freed on January 20, 1981 (Reagan’s inauguration day) - here they are arriving at the Rhein-Main Air Base in West Germany:


What Happened to the Shah’s Family?


- Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was married to Fawzia of Egypt in 1939:

- Fawzia was the daughter of the King of Egypt (who knew that there was such a thing?), Fuad I:

- the Shah divorced Fawzia in 1945 (in Egypt) and in 1948 (in Iran)

- so that gets the Egyptian royal family (who knew?) out of the picture

- in 1951, he remarried, to Soraya Esfandiary, the daughter of the Iranian ambassador to West Germany

- here’s a picture of the Shah and his new Shahbanu (empress) on their wedding day:

- in 1958, after determining that Soraya couldn’t have children, the Shah divorced her as well - oh well, I guess that divorce is traditionally much easier in Muslim cultures than in western culture

- third time’s the charm I guess - in 1959, Mohammad Reza Shah gets his third Shahbanu, Farah, the daughter of an army captain, although she doesn’t get formally crowned until 1967, by which time she has already produced several children for the Shah - here’s the Shah, the Shahbanu, and their kids on the occasion of her coronation (and we finally get to see a picture of Mohammad Reza wearing the spectacular Pahlavi crown):

- and here she is, dressed to impress the Americans during a visit to the White House in 1972:

- Mohammad Reza and Farah’s son, Reza Pahlavi, was born in 1960, and in 1978, he was shipped to the US to study at Williams College (just like Alex Poole)

- at the time of the 1979 Revolution, Shahriar Shafiq, son of Mohammad Reza’s twin sister (and, hence first cousin of Reza Pahlavi), who was a captain in the Iranian Imperial Navy, began organizing a royalist resistance - however, this was cut short in December 1979 when he was assassinated in Paris, France - here’s a picture of  and his mother:

- thus, the royalist movement had suffered a fatal blow

- nevertheless, when the Shah died in 1980, Reza Pahlavi went on TV to declare himself Shah - here he is:

- he was also careful not to get himself assassinated, so he stated that he would accept the verdict of the Iranian people as to whether a monarchic or a republican system served them best - unsurprisingly, they opted for a republican system





go to http://iranianhistory.pbwiki.com/iranianhistory3

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