I try not to be conspiratorial. I always think that simple logic provides the best explanation for any given event. But I got to tell you, I have recently been watching a lot of Shah’s last interviews—the ones from 1975 on—and I cannot escape the nagging conclusion that this man was removed from power by the Westerns powers who saw him as an emerging threat. From his comments about the “blue eyed people being sleep” to his criticism of the Jewish Lobby in the United States to asserting his independence and refusing to be America’s ”stooge” when he was labeled in a CIA study as being too “unreliable” and “dangerous”, to his criticism of Britain and claiming that in ten years Iran would be where Britain was at that time and in twenty five years surpassing the UK, all the signs point to an ambitious man who saw his country’s economic and military power rising and who was intent on asserting his independence. And they didn’t like it.
Let’s face it. Iran was on its way to becoming a major power with great resources and a lot of disposable cash. It was debt free. It was becoming a nuclear country with the Bushehr plants on their way to a speedy completion, with one reactor at 85% completion and the other at 50% completion at the time of the 1979 devolution. It is not difficult to imagine that has the Shah remained in power Iran would probably have built a nuclear bomb at some point, probably in the mid to late 1980’s.
And watch this video where he remains uncompromising in the price of oil, and essentially threatens the United States with maintaining high oil prices in exchange for the price of spare parts and commodities being too high. Another notable point in this video, as well as in the one where he refuses to be “America’s stooge” is the sense of fear that the United States has of Iran’s growing power and possible “expansionist” goals.
This guy was no stooge of the West. He was a threat to the West. The West had probably surmised that if he remained in power for another decade, Iran would have been unstoppable. We would have become a rich and modern version of India: an independent Eastern nation that would have been a thorn in the side of, and a competitor of the U.S., in the Middle East, and specifically the Persian Gulf--and they could not have that. They had their hands full with the USSR. They didn’t need another headache.
Sure, he was a dictator. But given the nature of the democracy movement in Iran, and his inevitable death, I am sure that the monarch’s absolute rule would have ended at some point and Iran would have morphed into some form of a democracy. That was just inevitable.
We really could have been somebody. We could have been a truly independent, powerful country. Instead, they pushed upon us the most backward, reactionary, theocratic system since the Middle Ages and set us back decades in development and independence, to the point that re-packaging 60 year old aircraft and re-assembling 60 year old North Korean missiles became our measure of “progress” for us, and giving away the Caspian Sea to the Russians so that they stop sanctions and sell us cheap junk became our measure of “independence.”
Truly, kudos to that great Iranian, the Shah, for being a visionary and a lover of Iran and the Iranian people. He was not perfect by any stretch of imagination, but watching these old interviews leaves one with one inescapable conclusion: he was no one’s stooge.
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