Man in the middle
Hoveyda sacrificed by opposing camps, one to save the crown
the other to trash it
By Mahmoud Ghaffari
June 26, 2003
You sometimes ponder what would have
been if… This is the thought that preoccupies most
of us who went through the events that led to the revolution. A
lot has been said and opinions are abound, thanks to online media,
otherwise it would have been next to an act of god to
make most of these opinions heard.
For years I asked people like
my father to put their opinions, memories and life's struggles
into a written medium so that others can benefit from it. He, like
most from his generation refused for a variety of reasons. Once
they move on, a great part of history moves with them, and that
is a shame.
I was able to extract a few of his
views here and there and these are some of the stories.
One of the great politicians of Iran was Amir Abbas
Hoveyda, the longest serving prime minister of Mohammad Reza Shah
name sends a jolt down some ones spine or not, we have to accept
that his contributions, good or bad, are a hallmark for Iran's
twentieth century politics.
Those who knew him from a close
distance agree that his charismatic and amiable personality were
marks of a true politician. My father used to say that in the impetuous
days leading to the revolution while Hoveyda was serving
as his Majesty's Imperial Ccourt Minister Amir Taheri was strolling
down the hallways of the ministry and told my father, "When
we needed a technocrat to run the country we had Hoveyda,
that we need a politician we have Amouzegar." A very
true statement indeed.
Hoveyda was an astute politician and his prowess
have been best served during those days and not the hay
the past. Hoveyda was also a true friend. I used to see
occasions at the Friday gatherings at Abdullah Entezam's
house. At the time when it was a taboo to be seen on the
side of laid off politicians he would brave his position and
stay by the
side of his friend and mentor.
He would always place himself
on a chair near the end of the gathering room or stay
there were no spots and refuse the customary "taarof"
to take some one else's. This left an indelible mark on me.
How can a personality like him not want to sit? Are they
a notch above the mortal kind?
Years later I well understood the qualities of this
man. Alas, that he had to be sacrificed by
two opposing camps, one to save the crown the other
to trash it.
My father's most revealed secret was on a sunny
day a few years back as we were both in the car driving from
California to the one the wonders of the world, Grand Canyon.
It was a morning like any other when Hoveyda asked him to his office
and handed him a sealed envelope
Hoveyda, my father said, "did
not know of the contents of the letter" as he
had told my
was given this by the 'Arbab' (Master)," as
he used to call the sovereign, "and must be
delivered as mandated."
The letter was judiciously delivered to the person
of the Information Minister Dariush Homayoun, with
must be printed in the capital's daily. Contrary
to popular belief, Hoveyda did not have any knowledge
of the contents
of the letter.
On another occasion, while under house
arrest, the sovereign sent two generals (names my father did
not supply). Both
my father were home at the time when the messengers
arrived and had delivered what seemed to be a genuine
from the Shah,
asking Hoveyda to accept an appointed as the Ambassador
Hoveyda refused the offer, and asked
that the sovereign
him from the responsibility. He'd rather stay in
Tehran and not be remembered as some one who accepted
himself from his past responsibilities.
While in the Islamic Republic prison and during
Bazargan's provisional government, Abdullah Entezam tried in
vain numerous times to call Bazargan. The day before
Abdullah tried 12 times to get a hold of Bazargan.
His hope was Bazargan could use his influence with
of his trial for a period of time. Bazargan never
returned his calls
until the day after Hoveyda's murder.
In the ensuing
phone conversation, Entezam told Bazargan, "the
reason why I
called you is no longer relevant." Bazargan then
knew what you had called for, but I could not interfere
on his behalf and his fate was out of my hand." This
answer from a premiere and a government put in charge
of the rule of law!
On the day that the prisons were broken into and
the jailers had abandoned their position, we got
at home. I
was the one
who picked up the phone, even though we were not
to pick up that line. It was the one for the explicit
my Dad and
of Hoveyda. I could not mistake the voice, even
though it was shaky, and the first time I had heard it over
that of Hoveyda.
I passed the handset to my dad.
could see the cringing of his brows and hear
his short and
Hoveyda was asking for transportation to pick
up from the prison. At the time when all other
prisoners had fled
this noble man stood by his fate and refused
to slip away. He wanted
to be delivered to the authorities in charge
so he can
defend himself in a court of law. How, wrong
The farce he
ended up in
was not to be a court of the Napoleonic code
he was so fond of. The natural laws of the human dignity
ended up not applying
The progression of human civilization has been
replete with mistakes. Hoveyda ended up being
caught in one
Iran, lost many
of its good citizens, he was one of them.
Hoping that such travesty would not be repeated in
the future when
into a free society.
Mahmoud Ghaffari is the president of an IT
and ERP consulting firm in Los Angeles
and adjunct professor of telecommunications
and computer science at National University
and Devry University.
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