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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


May 16, 2000

Loyalty to God, King, and Country

In response to Sahar Nahrvar's letter to Empress Farah, I respect her right to ask a question and it was done in a "democratic" fashion but with some ambiguous remarks.

The modern Imperial Iranian Armed Forces was a creation of the Pahlavi state which ruled our country for half a century. The 1906 Constitution made the Shah the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. All military personnel swore an oath of loyalty to the King and one would expect that insulting the Shah within that framework would be a grave offence for it would question the loyalty and dedication of an officer to his God, King and Country. Even in the democratic republics a four star general who insults the President runs a risk of a court hearing and in the UK any officer insulting HM Queen Elizabeth would also run into serious trouble.

I find it hard to understand why Sahar Nahrvar's father went into the army in the first place. His political agenda or views notwithstanding, he received a better treatment than a relative of mine who was a senior imperial general and who was executed by the revolutionary authorities for having served the Shah as ADC after his daughter was raped.

As for the newspapers under the monarchy there is no doubt that until 1976 it was tightly monitored by the state. However, after the Shah's so-called liberalisation policy there was a significant change in their orientation. Despite a brief period when the papers were on strike during the 1978 upheavals the Shah's regime was criticised violently in both Ettelaat and Keyhan short of calling the monarch names. Under Dr Bakhtiar press censorship was officially lifted but within six months of Khomeini's triumph the liberal and leftist press came under attack.

The Shah's rule was as imperfect as the Iranian nation but to be fair one wonders what Iran would have been like had the opposition leaders thought of our country before their own personal interests. Empress Farah suffered along her husband and so did millions of others: nobody has a monopoly on martyrs and tears. I welcome hearing the Empress's view in the near future. We must in fact encourage debate for there is always two sides to a coin no matter who is holding it."

Cyrus Kadivar


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