Abbas Milani on Sadighi's Missed Opportunity and Bakhtiar's Premiership


Abbas Milani on Sadighi's Missed Opportunity and Bakhtiar's Premiership
by Darius Kadivar

A talk with historian Abbas Milani on Shapour Bakhtiar's Premiership amidst attempts by his rival Gholam Hossein Sadighi to convince the Shah to remain in Iran whilst full executive powers to be entrusted in the premier's cabinet.

Part I:

Part II:

Dr. Gholam Hossein Sadighi was the Iranian Minister of Interior in the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. After a CIA-backed coup d'etat overthrew Mossadegh, Sadighi was arrested and later testified in defense of Mossadegh at the latter's trial. Despite the loss of power, Sadighi continued to be politically active. He helped to found the Second National Front  in 1960 and, along with other pro-Mossadegh politicians, advocated a democratic system and a Shah that reigns but does not rule.

By 1978, Iran was gripped by mass turmoil and there was a significant danger that Mohammad Reza Shah would be toppled by a mass rebellion led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Because of this threat, the Shah appointed Sadighi as the prime minister in order to rally the moderates behind the government and neutralize the religious opposition. However, the plan collapsed over Sadighi's insistence that the Shah remain in the country and that full executive powers be entrusted in the premier's cabinet, two things that the Shah refused to grant. Because of this, Sadighi left the scene and the Shah instead appointed Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar (one of the leaders of the National Front ) as Prime Minister of Iran. On February 11, 1979 the regime was toppled and Sadighi left the country. He died in 1987.

Shah in last Official Speech to the Nation acknowledges Voice of the Revolution but refuses to abdicate and promises to Respect the Constitution once Calm and Order are Restored (1978/79):


French Journalist asks the Shah if he thinks that by abdicating it would help solve the "problems" in Iran:

To which the Persian Monarch sardonically Responds "Do you know what would happen in Iran if I did that ?". "No I don't" admits the Journalist. "Think a little then about the consenquences" replies the Shah. (circa 1978)

Pro Bakhtiar Demonstrations In Support of the Constitution of 1906 and Bakhtiar meets the Foreign Press-1979:

Shah of Iran and Shahbanou Leave the country as Newly named Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar and cabinet members bid him farewell at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport:

Recommended Reading:

37 days: A cautionary tale that must not be forgotten by Cyrus KADIVAR

Related Blogs:

LESSONS IN DEMOCRACY: Shapour Bakhtiar Interview with LA TV (1987)


PARIS GATHERING: Shapour Bakhtiar and Soroush Katibeh memory honored in Paris (FRANCE)


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Peas and Peacock Throne

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 Dr. Milani’s account given in this interview, which was featured on this site before, is factual and right. I venture to say that any government associated with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi at that late stage of people’s uprising would have failed. The people were after the Shah who was the sole person responsible for dictatorship and corruption. His speech, featured above, was received by people as a desperate lie and imprisoning of Premier Mr. Amir Abbass Hoveyda on corruption charges as a cowardly act of sacrificing his loyal servant to save his own neck.

At the end Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was left with no option but to flee, and Iran with no alternative political organization except the regressive anti-Iranian clerics.  The peas around the peacock throne fled with the big pea, patriotic Iranians were left to the wild beasts in the like of Khalkhali, and Iran descended into its darkest period of history.  


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Sargord Pirouz

Milani's a pal of one of my

by Sargord Pirouz on

Milani's a pal of one of my uncles.

I like his histories that go back beyond the 1970s. I find his current analyses skewed. And lately, he's been brashly wrong and ill informed.