Iran-Iraq War: A Path To Nowhere (Notes)


Manoucher Avaznia
by Manoucher Avaznia

To the memory of the soldiers who fell before my eyes in the first Persian Gulf War. From my Iran-Iraq war memoirs that has been published in a book titled "A Path To Nowhere" >>> Introduction -- Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3 -- Part 4 -- Part 5 -- Part 6 -- Part 7 -- Part 8 -- Part 9 -- Part 10 -- Part 11 -- Part 12 -- Part 13 -- Part 14 -- Part 15 -- Part 16 -- Part 17 -- Part 18 -- Part 19 -- Part 20 -- Part 21 -- Part 22


1. The word SAVAK is the Persian acronym of Sazeman-e Ettela'at Va Amniyyat-e Keshvar: the Organization of Intelligence and Security of the Country. It is the name of the secret police the American Central Intelligence Agency established for the last Shah of Iran in 1958. Discovering a network of Communist officers of Tudeh Party in the Iranian army was the motive behind the creation of SAVAK; however, the real aim of its creators was to repress any movement that jeopardized Western and monarchy’s interests in Iran.

Many: Communists or not, were arrested, tortured, executed, banished, and harassed by SAVAK. Burning, sexual assaults, flogging, cutting victims’ limbs, and hanging from ceiling were amongst what SAVAK was serving its victims. Combination of all of these made SAVAK the most hated royal institution in the country.

SAVAK enjoyed a vast training and co-ordination from CIA and MOSAD: Israeli intelligence agency, until its abolition in 1979. Shah’s agents killed the first head of SAVAK: General Teimoor Bakhtiyar who had fled to Iraq. The remaining three heads of the agency were executed in Tehran in the early days after the victory of the 1979 Revolution.

2. Khomeini's first name was Roohollah, meaning “Spirit of Allah”.

3. In the Hezbollahis and the Guards invasion of universities during Cultural Revolution, armed clashes occurred and several students lost their lives. Arms clashes were especially intense at the University of Tehran and Jondeeshapour University of Ahvaz.

4. According to the twelve-Imami Shia branch of Islam: which believes in twelve infallible Imams (religious leaders) Prophet Mohammad's cousin Ali was the first Imam to be followed by eleven of his descendants, Mahdi (meaning the Righteous Guide) is the last Imam and the Savior. Although strongest and the most politicized among Shia believers, the idea of a Savior coming from the line of Ali and Fatemeh: Prophet’s daughter; is not confined to the Shia believers. Mahdi is supposed to reveal his mission at the End of The Time when the world is most corrupt to save the people according to his new interpretation of the divine rules of the Qur'an.

Shia’s Mahdi, son of the eleventh Imam, was born in the ninth century A.D. and went to an Occultation in his childhood around 870 A.D. During his Lesser Occultation, Mahdi had been in touch with some godly scholars of the believers and through them he had given his religious directions and orders to Moslems. At the beginning of The Larger Occultation he cut off his contact with everybody and will not contact anyone until his revolution at the will of Allah. According to Shia, in Mahdi’s absence the Islamic Jurists: Foghaha or Olama (scholars of religion), have the responsibility of guiding the believers on Mahdi’s behalf.

Shiites also believe in just government as one of the principles of their religion, making them the most revolutionary branch of Islam. After their first Imam's martyrdom in the first half of the seventh century, all other Shia Imams have resorted either to sword to establish the just rule of Allah, or have been engaged in passive campaign against unjust rulers. So, all of them were killed in battles against the ruling governments, suffered long imprisonments, or were poisoned.

During the Larger Occultation the Shiites have repeatedly revolted unjust rulers hoping Mahdi to assume the leadership of their revolution to eradicate oppression from the Earth. These revolts have made the history of Shia a history filled with revolutions both victorious and failed.

Some conservative Shiites believe differently. They believe they should not take any action against evil or social ailments. According to them, until the world is not filled with evil, Mahdi will not come to save humanity. So, they just wait until the Promised Imam reveals his worldwide revolution. Hojjatiyyeh Association: Association of Hojjat (Mahdi), in Iran follows this theory.

Shrewd religious and political leaders have used the belief in Mahdi as an effective means to consolidate their governments or fan wars amongst the Shia. In the past fifty years, at least, two of Iranian rulers have used this concept. Khomeini enjoyed the title of “Naebo-ol-Imam: Vicar of Imam Mahdi”, and many Shia were convinced that he was receiving his instructions from Mahdi. The last Shah of Iran who was a secular ruler writes while walking with his guardian he had a vision of Mahdi and concludes that an unseen divine hand was backing him and his throne. (*)

(*) Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Mission For My Country, London, Hutchinson 1961, 55.

5. The Persian word Bassij means mobilization. Here, the word refers to the volunteer civilians who were mobilized for the war. The Bassijis were trained by the Revolutionary Guards and were taken to the front lines to fight for a short time, mostly in attacks. The complete name of the organization is “Bassij-e Mostazafan or Bassij-e Mostazafeen: Mobilization of the Dispossessed”, but people used to call it Bassij and its personnel Bassiji.

6. The Revolutionary Guards and the Martyr Foundation were established after the 1979 Revolution.

7. Sazeman-e Mojahedin-e Khalgh-e Iran stands for People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran generally known as Mojahedin-e Khalgh or simply the Mojahedin. Originally a guerrilla organization founded in 1965, the motives behind Mojahedin establishment went back to the early 1950's.

Then, Iranians’ campaign for the nationalization of the oil industry from the British under the leadership of the Iranian National Front led to a CIA and British Intelligence Service’s concerted effort in favor of absolute monarchy. On August 18, 1953 a coup overthrew the nationalist government of Mohammad Mosaddegh and the Pahlavi dictatorship resumed after a halt that had started by Reza Shah Pahlavi’s abdication and exile in 1941.

A post-coup rift between the secular and religious activists of the National Front led to the creation of Liberation Movement of Iran under the leadership of some former religious leaders of the National Front. Mahdi Bazargan, Mahmoud Taleqani, and Yadollah Sahabi, later to become leaders of the 1979 Revolution, had modern attitudes toward Islam. They considered Islam a progressive religion that should and could play a role in politics. These men were strong believers in Islam and had engaged in a peaceful campaign against the despotism of the last Pahlavi king.

On June 5, 1963 after Khomeini's famous criticism of the Shah, thousands of people in Tehran and other cities waged peaceful demonstrations. The Shah’s secret police and army cracked the demonstrations down in blood. Many (fifteen thousand is the figure which this author frequently heard that seems to be highly exaggerated) were massacred.

Mowing the defenseless civilians caused the younger generation of the intellectuals in the Liberation Movement to revise their peaceful political activities. Within months three men, Mohammad Hanifnezhad, Saeed Mohsen, and Ali-Asghar Badizadegan, formed a small group to discuss the methods of challenging the Shah. This was to be the nucleus of the Mojahedin Organization. In ensuing years many young men and women joined the founding fathers.

Through extensive studies, the organization gave a new interpretation of Islam and Shia beliefs. They advocated that Islam was a religion against any kind of oppression and exploitation that after Prophet Mohammad and Imam Ali’s demise unjust rulers had deviated from its original path. In their belief, Shia Imams who had revolted against ruling governments had lost their lives to preserve the true anti-oppression Islam. The Mojahedin studies concluded that they must launch an armed struggle against the Shah's regime that was as cruel as any government the Shia Imams had fought against.

In the Mojahedin interpretation of Islam there was no room for the professional mollas. Rather, mollas were regarded an integral part of the oppressive system who constituted the religious tongue of the oppression. This conviction was the seed of their future antagonism with Khomeini.

In 1971 there were lavish plans for the claimed 2500th anniversary of the Iranian kingdom. (In fact the history of civilization in Iran goes back to thousands of years before the claimed date to Ilam Civilization and even before that civilization while the history of the so-called Aryan monarchy went back, at least, to the Mad Dynasty that had begun in early seventh century B.C. The Shah ignored historic facts and came to a magical conclusion that Cyrus titled the Great had initiated monarchy in Iran in mid-sixth century B.C.). The Mojahedin decided to disrupt the festivities by blowing up the main electrical plant in the Capital City of Tehran. Their plan was foiled and they were arrested en masse by SAVAK.

After extensive torturing: varying from whipping to burning, they were put on a mass trail. Many of those who had been detained were condemned to death: founding fathers included. Others were given long-term imprisonments; however the movement was not quelled. It continued both in and out of prison.

The only member of the central committee of the Mojahedin who survived until the 1979 Revolution was Masood Rajavi: the Mojahedin’s present leader. Rajavi assumed the movement’s leadership after the mass release of political prisoners of 1978-1979. During the guerrilla fighting of February 9-11, 1979 that led to the collapse of the Pahlavi regime, the Mojahedin and the Marxist-Leninist organization of Fadaiyan Khalgh-e Iran played outstanding roles.

Mojahedin's vision of an Islam and Shia without clergy ran counter to Khomeini regime after the revolution. The regime accused Mojahedin of eclecticism: mixing Islam with Marxism, the accusation which SAVAK had already posed under the Shah. Then, it called them Hypocrites like those who had antagonized Prophet Mohammad in the seventh century A.D. Madinna. Meanwhile club-wielders attacked their offices, arresting their supporters, and killing their sympathizers.

By June 20, 1981, when Mojahedin commenced an armed struggle against the Khomeini government, the club-wielders, Islamic Republic Party, and the Guards had killed more than seventy of the organization’s followers at their meetings and peaceful rallies. On June 20, the Mojahedin called hundreds of thousands of people in different cities to the streets to express opposition to Khomeini. They demonstrated against banning of freedoms and imposition of religious law to the civil rights code. Half a million came to the streets in Tehran. Khomeini and his clerical circle condemned the demonstrations as an opposition to Allah's will and heavens’ decree. The Guards opened fire on demonstrators, killing tens and injuring hundreds. During the demonstrations and subsequent repressions many were arrested, briefly tried, and executed.

In the years following June 20, 1981, Mojahedin fought the religious tyranny and lost thousands of lives. Some supporting families like that of the Mesbah were entirely executed in the ensuing massacres.

By the time that National Liberation Army of Iran was founded almost all Iranian political organizations and parties had lost ground to the Islamic Republic. Many had accepted expatriation and many had considerably reduced their activities; but Mojahedin had grown into the most powerful and the best organized armed opposition of the ruling government.

By June 1986 the leadership of the Mojahedin, after a few years of exile in France, had moved to Iraq to get closer to the Iranian borders in order to conduct their armed campaign against the war.

8. Shams-e Ghanat Abadee had been killed shortly before the 1979 Revolution.

9. This was a routine on the government-run TV since 1981, the beginning of systematic repression of freedoms. The prisoner was subjected to harsh psychological and physical torture, videotaped while confessing to what he had been told to say, and broadcasted on national TV.

10. "The Iraqi imposed war on Iran" was one of the frequently used titles of the war.

11. This widely used title tied the Iraqi regime with Israel against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

12. Meaning dead; as someone else would carry the body in a coffin.

13. According to the religious order decreed in 1981 by Ayatollah Mohammadi Gilani; the revolutionary court judge, the wounded counter-revolutionaries must not be treated. They must be put to death by worsening their injuries. Any clinic that accepted them would be closed and the physician would face the death penalty.

14. This organization was to deal with political and religious questions of the army personnel. But, it acted as a means of control.

15. In the Iranian army it is forbidden to salute by hand without having a headgear on.

16. Some stations along the roads leading to the fronts offering food, bath, haircut, and other services to the armed forces free of charge. The name alludes to the fact that the recipient of the service was morally obliged to praise Prophet Mohammad by saying: “O Allah praise Mohammad and his family”.

17. Some mountain heights in the Iraqi Kordestan.

18. An Iranian city at the head of the Persian Gulf that housed the country’s largest oil refinery and was besieged by Iraq in the beginning of the war.

19. The Town of Bostan as well as some other Iranian border towns like Soosan-Gerd in the Province of Khuzestan was inhabited by Arab Iranians. When Iraqis invaded, these people regarded them as their liberators, and welcomed them by immolating bulls and rams, celebrating, and dancing. Many inhabitants were evacuated to Iraq to organize an Arab People's Organization Army to fight against Iran.

This brutality of an Arab army against Iranian Arabs invoked the rage of the armed forces against Iraq. Both the military and the Guards extensively used the incident to ignite vengeance among the armed forces.

20. A winter seasonal skin boil caused by poor sanitation, normally lasting at least a month and leaving a big scar on the skin. It begins as a tiny rash and develops into a big wound. The common remedy for this disease was repeatedly injecting medicine into the boil.

21. According to soldiers, golden shrapnel was a small piece of bomb shrapnel that slightly injured the person. The wounded usually received one day of clinical treatment and went on a few weeks of medical leave.

22. A few months later the military police forbade designs of the female faces for needle working. According to them, female designs were provocative and were in contrast with the Islamic codes of ethics. They started confiscating those designs at the Karkheh Bridge checkpoint.

23. Khomeini's famous title for the U.S.A.

24. When somebody leaves home for a long journey Iranians throw a bowl of water after him. By holding the holy book over the traveler’s head, they wish the Qur’an to preserve the traveler. By pouring water they wish him to return soon.

25. On my vacation I met Ali Avaznia: my brother, who used to serve as a conscript soldier in Sumar and asked about the event. The following account is what I heard from him.

"That night there was a heavy fire exchange on the front. All of a sudden, we heard a few barely audible explosions in the headquarters of the army and one of its regiments. At dawn, we were told both headquarters had been bombed by cyanide gas and we were ordered to evacuate bodies.

More than four hundred people had been suffocated in the bunkers and foxholes. Virtually nobody had been left alive and the military had to send personnel from the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Tehran to keep the army running.

Each corpse was swollen to the size of three men. Their faces were black. We noticed a body with gas mask and not swollen like others. It was strange. Why had he had died?

Carefully looking at the body, we noticed that the soldier, probably in his excitement, had not removed the filter cap from his gas mask. He must have thought he had been affected like others and had died unnecessarily."

26. Soldiers had nicknamed this colonel “Sarhang Salman: Colonel Barber" with contempt. He was suffering from shellshock and was speaking aloud with foaming mouth and always carried hair clippers in his commanding jeep to cut soldiers’ hair.

27. Two days later, the Intelligence announced:

"From the issuance of this order up to two days there must be no paper littered in the area. Commanders of all units are responsible for the implementation of this order. Violators will be severely punished."

28. Normally taking prisoner at night is not allowed in the armies. This move of the Mojahedin’s was unique, as well.

>>> Introduction -- Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3 -- Part 4 -- Part 5 -- Part 6 -- Part 7 -- Part 8 -- Part 9 -- Part 10 -- Part 11 -- Part 12 -- Part 13 -- Part 14 -- Part 15 -- Part 16 -- Part 17 -- Part 18 -- Part 19 -- Part 20 -- Part 21 -- Part 22


Recently by Manoucher AvazniaCommentsDate
زیر و زبر
Nov 11, 2012
Nov 03, 2012
شیرین کار
Oct 21, 2012
more from Manoucher Avaznia

dears Critic and Manouchehr

by Souri on

I've read both comment. Thanks to both of you,  people that I most respect in this site.

If I may, it seems to me that two intelligent and articulate persons in
this site, are catch in a battle of "email misunderstanding" which is
a classical effect on the net.

Trough reading your writing (both of you) for a long while, I think I've got enough knowledge to believe that you two are the civil nationalist people who both love our country but reach to different conclusion about the historic facts, because each one comes from a different path.

I always say, history is something arbitrary. We can rely on " dates" sometimes but not sure about the means and the purpose of the events. We get our knowledge about the past, trough our study and researches, some of
which are not %100 based on reality. ...and what is reality in fact ?

Reality of the historian ? Is it a %100 truth ? Our perception of this reality? Is it %100 conform to that historian's reality ?

If someone (Bazargan, Rajavi....etc) comes out of prison and tell us, see my hand ! I have been tortured by Savak in we have to believe them or not ? This is not a free choice !!!

This choice is based on our study and knowledge about the subject, the situation, the witnesses. And as I said before, this knowledge
become available trough the path we took toward it. Not easy for two or
more group, in that era, to come into one obvious and sure conclusion.

Knowing Manouchehr, I don't believe he ever had intention of accusing you
(Critic) or anybody else that he does not know personally. His words
here can be misleading, but I know him enough to say that even trough
this angry tone, I can see his intention is not a negative one.

I would beg you two, to engage in a closer conversation about this
matter, without the negative thoughts and prejudice, to reach to a
magnificent conclusion, I'm sure you are able to do.

We need more of interaction between the two knowledgeable, wise and intelligent persons like you, for us to learn more about our lives and our history, our country and our duties.

Thanks to both of you, my dear friends.

BTW, Critic : When would you finally tell me who you are ? :D)


Manoucher Avaznia


by Manoucher Avaznia on

1.  The day that I decide to write a history about SAVAK I will definitely refer to your recommended book as well his book "Shaahanshaah" which Farah Pahlavee refers to. Also, I will read some SAVAK agents' accounts. 

2.  I really do not understand why you should show so much sensitivity to a matter that is not the focus of the work at all.  Strange, that you have not found me exaggerating in my accounts of the number of the dead and wounded at the fronts; bombardmants of Iranian cities; the mood in the streets, and attributing heroic deeds to myself that, at least, give myself a glamorous look.

3.  Again, thank you for being so soft and calling a work ridden with inaccuracy and exteremly biased and still claiming you are soft. 

4.  I saw the remnants of the Shah's army's war equipments left in streets of Tehran after they tried to attack the Air Force garrison in Tehran that was a part of a planned Coup. 

5.  I do not dispute that the Shah's army had enough deadly power to cause some catastrophes in the country.  What you forget that army was based upon conscript forces who mainly had left the garrisons weeks if not months before 22nd of Bahman as Khomeini asked them to leave the service of the Shah.  Besides, at least once in Tehran and once in Hamadaan, some officers of the same army were opened fire upon in their dining lounges and many of them lost their lives.  The rest of that army was not on one stance against the Revolution and as a result it could not offer a strong resistence.  You cannot run an army with a few devoted commanders.  That army was facing a revolution and was highly unpopular.  Also, I agree with you that once the army (the eternal guards) failed to capture the Air Force garrison, they declared their neutrality. 

6.  As I have mentioned before, I am biased toward victims of war.  Also, I believe, Iranian people have historically judged the Monarchy and its institutions (SAVAK included) in Iran and I definitely respect that judgement.

7.  The Geurrilla warfare did not start on the 22nd of Bahman but on the 19nth of Bahman and lasted until 22nd: February 11.  It was a popular move backed by Khomeini's religious decree to disregard the martial law and resist the army.  People's reaction was overwheming and definitely Mojahedeen, Fadaaeeyan and other armed organizations played outstanding roles in bringing down the Shah's army. Imagine an army that was not capable to defend its own garrisons.


With regards


dear Manouchehr

by Souri on

Thank you so much for these great information. I mostly agree with you.


Dear Souri and Mr Avaznia

by Critic (not verified) on

Souri jan,

Thanks for your comment. It is always nice to hear from you. I am sure that there are many first hand observations in Mr Avaznia's book (not by any means the first one of its kind) but what apart form a a few poorly researched point that I picked up, what makes for an uneasy reading is the biased and non objective view of the author that hits you right in the face (see my reply to the author below)

Mr Avaznia,

When I say you are biased, I am being soft on you. Look at the way you are inferring that I am a SAVAK agent: "I believe you have better knowledge as it seems to me that you have more first-hand information about the organization. " My knowledge is not a private one. I didn't earn it by having secret meetings with SAVAK agents as you are trying to infer. It is a matter of public record. Furthermore, if you are insisting to be an objective writer I suggest you read the book by Sivash Bashiri (ghesseye savak). You may knot like what you read there but it may help you with your background research.

Furthermore, while I do not dispute the fact that there was torture practised within the SAVAK''s prisons, your exaggerated description of such activities, like cutting the limbs and legs or Bazargan's torture will only ruin any shred of accuracy that your story may carry. Your words remind me of the exaggerated lies that organizations like Mujahedin or Fedayeen were spreading in the early days of the Islamic take over to justify their relentless execution of the previous regime's members. Another point is your exaggerated account of the guerrilla warfare during the days leading to the victory of the Islamic take over. You seem to have conveniently forgotten that the army had chosen to withdraw from engagement with the people and in fact on 11th of February they declared their neutrality. Islamic revolution was among the LEAST BLOODY OF REVOLUTIONS in recent history. Most of the bloodshed occurred AFTER the revolution by the agents of the revolution in taking revenge against the elements of the former regime and the rebellious ethnic minorities like the Kurds. Your heroic account of the Mujahedin and Fedayeen's warfare in the days leading to the revolution is a figment of your imagination.

With regards


Manoucher Avaznia

Jamsheed Jaan;

by Manoucher Avaznia on

I have responded to parts of what you call leis in a response to Souri's comment.  Unfortunately, it seems to me that you regard all of the confirmed reports about SAVAK's brutality as lies.  The fact is that many Tudehee officers were executed after their network was discoved in the army.  Khosrow Gole Sorkhee in the his trial which has been filmed by the Shah's regime clearly said: "they some much beat me that I urinated blood".  Beezhan Jazanee and the founding fathers of the Mojahedeen Khalq were executed by the SAVAK.  I watched Tehrani (the chief SAVAK's torturer) on TV admitting the torture and killing when I was in Iran.  Many mollas who run the Islamic Republic were prisoners of the SAVAK.  Montazeree, Taaleghaanee, Beheshtee, Rafsanjaanee, Khaamenei to be a few of them.  These are just a few instances that came to my mind as I am writting these words. 

Still, you have taken a few lines of notes about a specific term and draw conclusions that have broader implications.  My argument here is not about SAVAK that I will never endorse.  The core of my argument is the everyday life at war zone that seems has been brushed aside.  Do you really deny the existence of political prisoners, their harrassment, torture, and execution at the time of the Shah any way?  Or, since the people whom you have mentioned have brought them up so necessarily they are false? Truth or falsehood is not evaluated by association. Unfortunately, I find it amusing to read that you would have criticized me not because of the work I have done and the opinion that I have expressed, but because of what you believe to be my sympathy toward Mojahedeen.  Any way, please do not hesitate to criticize me in any manner you find appropriate.  I welcome them all.

Manoucher Avaznia

Critic Jaan;

by Manoucher Avaznia on

Thank you for the input.

1.  For your information Sir; the termoils of 1953 was a coup that everyone, including those involved, is aware of and I do not have to add anything to that.  Please, check with Mr. Clinton.  

2.  When a bill has not passed the parliamant, it is not a law to be called an act of parliamant and Mosaddegh to put it into effect or not. No one believes that the plarliaments after the coup had any independence to make decisions as elections were all rigged and everything was "be farmoodeh".

3.  I still remember that for the "Manveeyaat Molookaaneh" every prime minister was nobody.  Many other institutions were attatched to the office of the prime minister such as Scouting, and Atomic Energy, and even sports.  The actual decision-maker in the Pahlavee era, as you are fully aware Brother, was the Shah and not the prime minister who was to be endorsed by the elected members of the Majles.  If the prime minister was anybody in decision-making process, with the change of prime-minister the Shah could have saved his throne.  He changed few prime ministers and still people said "Marg Bar Shah".

4.  I beleive you, even, have not read the books the Royal Family have written about themselves.  Just, read Farah's memoirs how SAVAK even intervened in naming a public bathhouse (Hammaam) after the Pahlavees and she had to intervene; not Mr. Prime Minister.  Or, she is the one who decides who (Naseeree) to be present in receiving Carter. Who is the real power?

5.  As you are fully aware, the Cold War era was the cold war between Capitalism and Socialism.  Again, my note was only a few lines to introduce a term and not to write a history of SAVAK and its torture techniques. The amount of the displayed sensitivity to white-wash the SAVAK is questionable. 

6.  If this work is ridden with errors and you have read it all or some of it, why do you not point out any error about the Islamic Republic era?   If you are so sure and so knowledgeable and interested in telling the truth, you should at least point to some valid points.  Whether Mosaddegh dreamed of an organization such as SAVAK, it does not change the fact that its involvement began years after the 1953 coup; and Mosaddegh had no hand in the way the SAVAK controled the country and also he did not direct its activities and had no hand in its crimes.  Is this your convinience or mine?

7.  If you find my work filled with error, please tell your associates not to read it as it will never endorse the SAVAK's crimes and will never endorse warmongering.

8.  In the final analysis you agree with me that SAVAK was established by the Coup Regime and I do not find your criticizm valid. 

With respect

Manoucher Avaznia

Majid Jaan;

by Manoucher Avaznia on

You may order the book from the website of Infinity Publishing.   

Manoucher Avaznia

Souri Jaan;

by Manoucher Avaznia on

1.  After this part of the writing went out of the blog central page I did not pay a visit to it until now that I did it quite by chance and found quite a few comments.

2.  As I have said and have written, I never ideologically believed in Mojahedeen Khalq's Organization.  I was never within the framework of that organization and they do not recognize me as their sypathizer.  My relations with them has been at the level of participating a (at the most) three or four demonstrations. 

3.  These said, I know plenty of Mojahedin supporters whom I had befriended and respect.  In Iran, I knew some of them and even knew a few who were executed or imprisoned as I knew many other people with tendencies toward Marxist-Leninism.  For months I lived with some of Mojahedden organization's ex-supporters (or perhaps members as I was not interested to find it out).  I am not so blind to believe that since something has been said by the Mojahedeen, or Monarchists, or even Islamic Republic it is necessarily wrong. 

4.  As a rule, I have sympathy toward all victims of political violence  in Iran either being victimized by the Shah or the Islamic Republic.  Let's do not forget that most of those victims were members and supporters of the Mojahedeen Organization.  Also, let's do not forget that many of them lost their lives during face to face fighting the government agents in the streets and were not executed in prisons.

5.  I do not believe in "any government is better than this government".  Let's do not forget we said the same thing while campaigning against the Shah's regime. This kind of generalization are made by extremists to serve the purpose of violence.  Again, I  believe exteremist are of many kinds and brands.

6. About the inaccuracies that have been atributed to me, I remind the critics that Asghar Badeezadegan was burned by the Savak agents.  Either Mollah Ghaffaree (father of the peresent Haadee Ghaffaree) Or Saeedee's limbs were cut with saw in prison; and he died under torture.  The mark of torture still exists on uper lip of Masood Rajavee.  Mehedee Rezaaee was tortured.  He said to the miliatary judge: "Jaatoon khaalee tooye dahaan man shaasheedand".  Mr. Bazargaan was tortured so much that even during his pime ministership on TV everyone saw that his land was jumping without control.  These are just few example.  Stories of the victims of torture at the time of the Shah still exists.

7.  In any way, I will not justify the Shah's regime's brutality that he even admits as "police brutality".  The Shah's and his father's governments were both products of two coups that were initiated out of our homeland by dominant powers of the day; and both of them were so fragile that as soon as their supporters stopped backing them they tumbled. 

8.  My book is not a book of history to discuss the details of what I have said with documents.  In the introduction I have explained the shortcoming of my work.  About generalities, I have sticked to those informations that are well known to those who have read a bit or have witnessed some events first hand. 

9.  In spite of the harsh criticism, I am writing from the viewpoint of a victim of war and policies behind it.  So, I am biased toward all those souls who lost their lives without having a voice: those who were coming, almost exclusively, from the poorest of the country.  This I am proud of and nothing else.


Manouchehr jan

by Souri on

I don't see you there ? Maybe you are again too busy working late night.

As long as I remember, you told me that you are not a Mojahedin sympatizer....or maybe I am mistaken ? Would you please enlighten us about that ?


dear Critic: I understand your point, but still think Kaveh is right and you might change idea, when you will read the whole book entirely.



The IRI crimes DO absolve

by KavehV (not verified) on

The IRI crimes DO absolve SAVAK in many ways!

Since the a number of the genocidal mass murderers and torture specialists were former SAVAK prisoners, along with some of the most reactionary and backward Islamists founders of the IRI. You can argue that SAVAK was among the few organizations that delayed the Islamist catastrophe by fighting them head on. Had the previous regime shown more interest in countering and fighting Islamists, things could have been very different today.

Arash Monzavi-Kia

IRI's crimes do not absolve SAVAK

by Arash Monzavi-Kia on

IRI's crimes, although an order of magnitude more, do not absolve SAVAK's! Iran was better off during the Shah, but never-the-less, was also a repressive and brutal police-state.

Jamshid - the shame will be on you if the youth are misled into believing that SAVAK was not an inhumane torture and murder machine. Especially that, many of the same SAVAK infrastructure (e.g. Evin) and key personnel were employed into creating the Islamic SAVAMA. 

Arash M-K


Critic and Jamshid, I am

by KavehV (not verified) on

Critic and Jamshid,

I am glad to see people catching some of the inaccuracies in background info about previous regime and analysis in Mr. Avaznia's book. Although I, somewhat, agree with his analysis of the reasons for the duration of the war (part 22), the analysis to too brief (and inadequate) in the form of "4 pillars". The main culprit was the Mullah's will to keep the fire going and produce death and destruction in order to deceive and justify their rule (as stated by Mr. Avaznia).

The "Global arms dealers" were not as central in sustaining this conflict. Early on, it was decided, and announced, at many western capitals (and Moscow) that neither side will be allowed to overwhelm the other. Without being an apologist for Reagan administration, I still recall white house spokesman expressing regrets at the loss of life and destruction after every disastrous offensive by both sides and stating that there will be no winners in this war. Also, during the entire war and under military sanctions, Iran did not/could not purchase any Tanks, helicopters, or fighter aircraft (with the exception of a few obsolete F1s from China), or any other strategic weaponry other than what was available on the black market. You could say the black market arms dealers made a fortune from mullahs by selling them obsolete guns and ammunitions at inflated prices just to keep high death rates of Iranians against modern heavy equipment of Iraq. On the other hand, Iraqis were given everything they required (mostly from ex Soviet satellites and Europe) to keep Iranians in check.

Critic says:
"tou khod hadisse mofasssal nekhon a in mojmal!!"

Mr. Avaznia's book is a personal, first hand, narrative of the events he witnessed during his service period at the frontlines. I pursued every part and made it my nightly reading. It is a very sobering description of the events and provides insights into individuals character, their attitudes and their reasons for being in the war. I only wish we could have more first hand accounts of these veterans available to us without the oppressive censors of the Islamist morons. Although sometimes erroneous, there is very little analysis offered in these writings so far. These errors bear no consequence on the rest of his writings that is just the observation of the bloody events at the front.


Re: Avaznia

by jamshid on

Dear Manouchehr, if you would have told me right from the beginning that you are a Mojahedin sympathizer, then I wouldn't have criticized you so harshly on what you wrote in your opening chapter.

"... were arrested, tortured, executed, banished, and harassed by SAVAK. Burning, sexual assaults, flogging, cutting victims’ limbs, and hanging from ceiling were amongst what SAVAK was serving its victims."

Lies like these, made up by Mojahedin and their Islamist cousins (currently in power), fooled me and many others 30 years ago. Really, I fell for them too. Today I know better. "cutting victims' limbs"???

You, I, mojahedins, jebehey melli, monarchists, secular republicans, and any other member of opposition, today are suffering setbacks in our struggles against the IRI because of these type of lies that were made 30 years ago and that you are repeating in here.

People were trusting back then. They bellieved these lies whole heartedly. I was one of them. Today after realizing they were a bunch of lies, people in general don't believe anyone any longer.

We have trouble depicting IRI's crimes, including committing torture and make it believable to the masses BECAUSE of overuse of lies in the past.

People look back in time, remember those fantastic lies, some of which you wrote in here,, and hear today's real and truthfull accounts of torture with suspicion.

We are reaping what we had sown, Mr. Avaznia.

It is a shame that you have not learnt anything from the past.


Extremely biased and ridden with errors

by Critic (not verified) on

Just judging the book by its Notes, one can see that the author has not done his research. I am sure my usual detractors will jump to point out that (a) you cannot judge a book just by its Notes and (b) the errors you have spotted are minor!! My answer is simple:

Mosht nemooneh kharvar ast!

Here are two samples of such errors:

(1) SAVAK was created through an Act of parliament initially submitted by the government of Dr Mossadegh back in 1953 but was kept on hold due to the dissolution of the Majlis during the political turmoils of 1953 and was eventaully passed in 1955. SAVAK began to work from the April of 1956. SAVAK was NOT a royal instiution as implied by the author. It was attached to the Office of the prime minister and hence offcially it was accountable to the Prime minister, as envisioned by Dr. Mossadegh.

(2) The author coveniently omits the role of the Fadaeeyan Eslaam, an organization headed by Navab Safavi and later b Khomeini. It was responsible for a number of poltical assasinations and the 1963 violent riots on the order of Khomeini and burning and looting of banks.

tou khod hadisse mofasssal nekhon a in mojmal!!


Khasteh nabaashi

by Majid on

I'm looking forward to knowing where and how to obtain the book.

Each and everyone of us were involved, took part, lost a dear one  or was affected by this "path to nowhere" one way or the other.

Thank you sir


Manoucher Avaznia

Arash Jaan;

by Manoucher Avaznia on

Thank you for your heartwarming comment.  The whole purpose of writing this book is, indeed, what you said: to serve the cause of peace.  In the beginning of the book that I will post next (which will be the last part on this series) I have made clear that since I lacked the resources and contacts, I have self-published this work: meaning that I had to pay for its publication with Infinity Publishing which is an American publisher located in that country.  If interested, you may order it from that publisher as there are several pictures in the book as well.

Thank you very much

Arash Monzavi-Kia

Well done

by Arash Monzavi-Kia on

Dear Manoucher,

Congratulations on a book nicely written, which sheds light on a dark part of our recent history. Anyone who glamorizes war, should read you first-hand accounts, to realize what hell-on-earth means. Hope that your work will contribute to the peaceful progress of all Iranians in the near future.

By the way; is the book available in Canada yet? 

Arash M-K