Sha'ban "Beemokh" Jafari

Before the coup

1950 French documentary about the main zourkhaneh gymnasium in Tehran led by Sha'ban Jafari, nicknamed "Beemokh" (brainless). He's bald, black-bearded and the largest man in this group of sportsmen. Three years after this film was shot, Jafari, a Shah loyalist, was the top thug in the streets of Tehran attacking opponents of the monarchy during the CIA-coup that restored the Shah's dominance.



Re: Parham

by Parham on

Cheraghoonie parsal.


Re: Parham

by jamshid on

"... I'm just not interested in discussing "imagine" this and that..."

I just want to remind you that the US government pays hundreds of millions of dollars to its think tank organizations just to discuss "imagine this and that" regarding world affairs. Perhaps there is a value in it?

Perhaps if in 1978-79, we Iranians have dicussed among oursevles "imagine this and that", then we would have not fallen for khomeini so easily, or at least given Bakhtiar a chance?

But then again, that would be "imagining this and that". Do you still think it would have been a waste of time?

You should reconsider your opinion on this matter. "imagine this and that" is one of the best analytical tools there is.



by Mammad (not verified) on


I am happy to read your response. We do not agree on many things, but your last response is, in my view, progress in this debate. Let me say a few words.


(a) I do not agree. Just as I blame the Shah's regime for many things, so too I blame the IRI for many things. A few of them:

(i) Taking the US diplomats in Tehran hostage. That was one of the worst things in the history of the IRI, because it changed, all of a sudden, the direction of the Revolution, and put it on a totally wrong path. The students who took the embassy over did not intend it to be that consequential (I speak here with much authority, because one of the three main leaders - I won't name whom - was, and still is, a close friend), but it was used by the mullahs to get rid of Bazargan, a truly nationalist in my view, and put the country on the wrong path.

(ii) Supporting terrorists and terrorism. This is well-documented. I do not consider everything that the West calls terrorists as actual terrorists (one's terrorist is another one's liberator), but there is no doubt that the IRI has supported terrorism.

These two alone have contributed much to the present state of Iran.

However, the point that I keep trying to make is this: I do not believe that people were fooled. But, let's say, for the sake of argument, that they were. Who is responsible? If people were educated - political wise - they would not have been fooled. Why were they not? Because they lived under a repressive regime that did not allow freedom of the press, thoughts, opinion, political parties, and free elections - pillars of a society in which people are not fooled, because they are aware politically.

In fact, a main reason that I despise the Shah's regime is precisely this: It was due to his repressive regime (by the above definition) and elimination of the secular opposition that people turned to the religious people.

(b) I am happy to read that you say you will change your view based on solid reasoning. However, since you are the one who decides what is solid and what is not, this creates the problem.

I also agree that one should consider the totality of a regime's action in order to decide whether that regime was good. Aside from his zealos supporters, and repenting former leftists, though, 28 years after the death of the Shah there is hardly anybody who gives him an overall positive "grade." It may be too soon, though, for a historical judgement.

(c) See (a).

(2) How many people were affected most by the Shah's repression? Those who counted most: The potential future leaders of Iran. Those educated people who were killed by his regime. Those who were jailed by him, and those who could not educate people about politics, human rights, the necessity of the separation of church and state. It is not necessary to have millions affected. What counts most are the potential true political leaders and servants of the people.

I do not agree with you regarding the Revolution being a fraud, but I also do not see the point of pressing this, because we are just too far apart on this.

I also do not agree with your emphasis on Western democracy. Yes, Western democracy has taught us a lot of good things, but I believe that every nation should find its own path to democracy based on its culture and historical heritage.

Thank you again



by Stiz (not verified) on

You are right, we are not converging; but it is amazing that a majority of issues and objections that you have raised in your last comment apply even more profoundly to your side of the argument. Let’s look at some of them.

(1) Well, I objected to your approach in analysis, that is amplifying the convenient facts and ignoring the counter-points. That is no insult that I said you ignored the human dimension and circumstances of the issues discussed. I have no doubt that you are familiar with the events and that you are a very intelligent person. Thanks to shah, our generation was the most educated generation of anytime up to the revolution, and thanks to shah all of us lived with relative prosperity in iran and witnessed the revolution, and thanks to Islamic Republic most of us have now lived outside iran and have become familiar with the workings of best democracies that are humanly possible. But when one is emotionally involved on any side of an issue, it is natural that one becomes unconsciously non-objective and his evaluation become subjective to his biases and emotional desires.

(a) Aahhaa…, I did exactly as you viewed the issues. You are criticizing me for blaming people around the shah and the Iranian people for some of the wrong-doings but “not” the shah; but don’t you see that you are doing the exact thing: you are “not” blaming the IRI for their disastrous internal and foreign policy with all sorts of negative consequences, from war to sanctions, from rampant population explosion (that khomeini caused when he told people to go make babies) to revolutionary chaos (which is still going on). Had shah remained in power, none of that would have happened.

Mammad Agha, in your scientific consideration, you must be consistent. Fine, if you want to place the blame of everything on the person of shah, that is fair. But then you must blame the leadership of IRI for all the wrongdoings as well; otherwise you are conveniently twisting matters in favor of the IRI. What would you have said if in early 70s when Iranian boats challenged iraq’s sovereignty over Arvand-roud, had it led to a full-blown war. Would you have blamed shah for the war or the destiny of the country? Similarly, the barking of Khomeini et al. at saddam led to the war and thus they are solely responsible for its consequences. You see you were able to see my apparent bias, but not your own, even though the two are really the two sides of the same coin.

(b) I am open to revising my position, but based on solid reasoning and pragmatism, but not hearsay and ideology. I admit that shah’s regime had unjust prisoners. I admit that his regime was involved in torture and executions. I admit that his rule was authoritarian and he did not tolerate political dissent. Beyond that, words like dictator or corruption are meaningless until quantified and compared with that of any alternative. And the totality of shah’s deeds cannot be fairly evaluated until human dimensions and cultural atmosphere of iran is taken into account. He must be compared to others, from Omar to present day, nationally and internationally, on his totality of achievements and wrongdoings, to be able to place him in the right spot on the history of iran.
(c) That is where wisdom comes in. Again, you are proving my point that people who staged the revolution were to blame, primarily the intellects, who were so naïve that failed to see what was coming at them. Even in this last election, you see that a chap called Moen, an academic, participated in the elections but failed to succeed. A bozo like Ahmadinejad, 25 years after the revolution, won a majority of votes (by his skillful act of deceit, I should add).

(2) Here you are resorting to meaningless and relative terms: repressive and corrupt. I really do not know what these words mean beyond their Webster’s meanings. How many people do you think were impacted by his repression: a very tiny minority who opposed him. And for corruption, what did he exactly do with his corruption? And how would you place these in the context of what could be achieved without him.

Mammad Agha, you and I may in fact agree on who is best qualified to and “should” rule iran (in general terms). But the fundamental question is if he “can” rule iran: if he can be elected democratically and remain in power without resorting to oppression. My answer is that for the people who considered learning French sinful (see my previous post), traded in human excrement and opium out of poverty, and believed in Jen and Pari due to lack of education, were in no position to elect a qualified ruler and would have made an afghanistan out of iran as a result. My conjecture is that democracy is at the end of an evolution, hand in hand with education, not at the beginning of it. People of iran would have lined up behind a khomeini-like mulla anytime that they got a chance in the past century irrespective of if shah even existed or not.

And my statement about revolution being a fraud is not novel nowadays. A lot of people, some revolutionaries themselves, are coming out gradually and expressing that it was a coup d’ etat through the arms of deception. Yes, a majority of people participated, but they were (i) handed packs of lies and exaggerations, (ii) blamed shah for everything and failed to look into a mirror to see who is at least partially to blame, and (iii) were totally unaware and unfamiliar with the (western) democracies and their natural short-comings, and naively thought that khomeini would come and fix everything overnight, or let the “right” people to rule. Notwithstanding, intellectuals and lefties, that thought they could push aside that stupid mulla and take over overnight. Alas that mullas were the only ones who knew what they were doing and what they were exactly after.

Please look at the western democracies (the ones that we know of closely) and tell me which of their leaders you are willing to be content with to run iran (considering his/her internal and foreign policies collectively). I do not know of anyone whom I can confidently say that he/she would be superior to shah and his regime had he/she somehow magically ended up Iranian and running the country. They are mostly impotent and incompetent, and with the same flaws that shah is accused of, in either domestic or international affairs. We need to be pragmatic; we cannot live in utopia and reject any leader as long as he does not fit our utopian view. An ideal leader simply does not exist, and thus only by a fair and impartial comparison we can prefer one over another.

(3) I already discussed this. I basically took your approach of crediting the leader with positives and blaming the people in my case, like foreign elements in your case, for negatives. Shah will come even further ahead, if you consistently credit a leader with the positives and blaming him as well for ALL the negatives. As Rumi says: “aaftaab aamad dalile aaftaab”: that fact that most of us were living in iran under shah but have not been able to stand living in iran under IRI is the best measure of whose positives outweighs his negatives.
(4) This is a separate discussion by itself and I have said enough for now.

Let’s hope that some day very soon I can stand in one corner of “Shahyaad” square and talk about achievements of the shah loudly at the same time that you are standing at the corner of “Azaadi” square and preaching on the achievements of the revolution and both of us feel safe and secure with none to care about our speech let alone jail and torture us.



by Mammad (not verified) on


We going around the same circles again and again. I'll respond to what you wrote briefly.

1. When you keep telling someone, "you do not know,"
a lot of people take that as insult. Has it ever occured to you that people may know as much as you do, but they just have different interpretations, look at things from different angles, or in different light? Let's stick to the main points, and not declare who knows what.

I said, you want to call me baised, so be it. I have no objection. I do not think I am, but it is up to you.

(a) You also took what I said about what has been done during the IRI out of context, because I conditioned it to a lot of things that you ignored: Given that the country experienced a fundamental revolution (right or wrong); given that the country was in revolutionary chaos; given that there was an eight year war with Iraq (right or wrong); given that the US has imposed sanctions on Iran during the entire past 28 years; given that the population has increased by a factor of 2.5, given that ........

For every achievement of the Shah there were several crimes and misachievement. That is true about his regime, that is true about the IRI, and that is true about even the most democratic countries, including the US. Pointing people to this or that does not solve anything.

(b) Although you say you are open to revising your views, in practice, at least so far, you have not shown any indication.

(c) You are forgetting one important point: You are equipped with hindsight, after 29 years of IRI. The intellectuals and other people that you refer to were not equipped with that AT THAT TIME. Why not? Because they had lived under a most repressive government, the elimination of which was the top priority.

(2) The question regarding the Shah is not whether he was perfect. Nobody is. The issue is his repressive regime, the incredibly deep corruption of he himself, his family and his supporters, and the nature of his regime - the result of an illegitimate, anti-Iran coup, engineered by foreign powers.

Your statement about the Revolution being an internal coup is amazing and novel. I believe that this is the first time that somebody calls a revolution a coup, especially one as popular and broad as the Iranian revolution.

(3) It seems that you are willing to blame anybody, but the Shah. Yeah, he was a little bad, or he was not perfect, BUT, see how bad we were. Come one. Common and ordinary people should be led, and they were being led by the dismal, corrupt Shah and his regime.

(4) I mentioned Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, etc., because you had mentioned them in your comment. But, you want to talk about Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, then let's.

Iraq was ruled by a monarchy from 1932, when it was formed, until July 1958. In July 1958 there was a coup led by General Abdolkarim Ghassem that overthrew the monarchy and established the Republic of Iraq. Ghassem was a leftist, but above all he was an Arab nationalist, a Pan Arabist, so to speak. He worried the US. So, with CIA's help, the Baath Party was formed in Iraq and Syria in the early 1960s which came to power through coups later on (the Syrian and Iraqi branches later split due to differences between the leaders of the two nations). The Baath Party in its manifesto is very much like the National Socialists of the Nazis. They are not leftists. They are fascist.

As for Eqypt, its monarchy was overthrown in 1952 by the Free Officers Movement led by General Najib, and Jamal Abdol Nasser. Nasser then took over and nationalized the Suez Canal rightfully, which forced France, Britain, and Israel to simultaneously attack Egypt in 1956. Nasser, like Ghassem, was a Pan Arabist. But, in the West and Iran under the Shah, he was a leftist. Yes, he was a leftist, but not communist or Maxist, but an Arab nationalist. And, what did his pro-West successor Anvar Sadat do? He transformed Egypt into a US sattelite state, burdened by a president-for-life, Hosni Mubarak.

hank you.



by Parham on

Hi again.
Your questions apply to the realities of today, not the realities of those days.
Again, Iran was under sanctions that were by all means considered heavy by those days' standards. Also, Khuzestan was all pro-nationalization due to bad experience with the Brits in terms of how they were exploited and the (then) recent geo-political struggles against the west. True, there was always a chance for meddling, but a lot smaller than you're hypothesizing.
I'm really not dodging your questions if you look at my answers -- I'm just not interested in discussing "imagine" this and that.
What if a meteor came crashing today on my car while I was driving on the highway -- well, hell...


Re: Parham

by jamshidd (not verified) on

Ok, he was doing all of those. Let's say the shah was out of the picture, what do YOU think (note: I am using the word "think") would happen next?
You be Mossadegh and I'll be the forces against him minus the shah who we are assuming was dead, eg, I am the US, UK, mullahs, etc. I'll make the first move. If you think this sounds funny and is irrational, then what do you think the US think tanks do every day? They analyze "possiblities" by simulating different scenarios. It doesn't mean it will find the answers, but it certainly can help. Here are two possiblities for my first move:
1- I, the USA/UK, transfer 10 million dollars to my elements in khuzestan while arming them and supporting their "rise" to independence.
You are mossadegh. You find out about this plot. What do you think he should have done next?
2- Another possiblity: I, the USA/UK, impose a sanction against Iran, as severe as the one against Saddam in the 90s.
You are Mossadegh. What do you think you/he would have done next?
Now it's your move. I hope you will answer, instead of finding excucses for not to!



by Parham on

I understand and appreciate your point. The reality is, he did do all those things and only failed in the face of a (forced) coup.

What he should have done, as history showed, was to keep the Shah and the Americans in check after 25 Mordad! :-)


Re: Mammad

by jamshid on

1. The tudeh was indeed in a postion to take over Iran. A much diminshed and beaten Tudeh party nevertheless almost broke up Azarbayejan from Iran. Remember that? 2. You are absolutely correct. People WERE out of their minds to support someone like khomeini, instead of someone like Bakhtiar, or even the shah. I know it Mr. Mammad because I WAS one of those who was out of his mind. Same goes with most of those who supported the revolution. The only ones who were not out of their minds were the Islamists which had their own agendas and knew perfectly well what they were doing, and to date, they still prefer a khomeini figure. 3. Regarding the number of political prisoners, I WAS indeed referring to the number at any given time which is the year of the revolution. So was I with the number 300,000 (three hundred thousands) which was the number claimed by shah's opposition "at any given time" which is the year of revolution. That number, 300,000, was false. Insead of acknowledging this great lie and focusing on that, you jump to the "at any given time" issue to divert attention. Regarding your 20 "friends" who were killed by Savak, you first tell us that they were your "classmates", then when it is shown how unlikely this number may be, you immediately expand your definition of "classmate" to almost all of the students of Tehran University. You must have been a very popular student since you were "friend" with all of the students in Tehran university. Anyhow, I can claim that 2000 of my "friends" were killed during the revolution. When it is shown that it could not be possible, I can then freely say: "By friend, I meant, all residence of Tehran..." The funny thing is that you claim that it is Setiz who is twisting the words. I ask you who twisted the words, you or Setiz? In defense of IRI, you did the same in the 1943 Conference blog. You said that when adjusted for inflation, Iran today is making the same revenue from oil than in the late 60s. Then when I mathematically proved to you that you were wrong, you jumped to 1975 and said "But compared to 1975, IRI today is making the same revenue..." Mammad, this is not 1978. This is not the same time that Iranians would fall for these falsehoods. I detest that you, knowingly or unknowingly, are resorting to the same tactics that were used in 1978 to decieve the people. It is you who is twisting the words, not vice versa. Lastly, who do you think you are to tell that the shah should have been tried for his "crimes"? What crimes? The crime of bringing prosperity to his people? The crime of bringing safety and order in Iran? The crime of keeping the peace in the region? The crime of having good relations with the entire world, including the Soviets and both Arabs and Israel? The crime of increasing literacy at a rate that was unheard of? The crime of having "taghzieye raayegaan" on a daily basis for students even in the remotest areas of Iran? The crime of building the infrastructure of Iran? The crime of having a secular government? The crime of making the world respect Iran and Iranians? No, you may be referring to his crimes of not respecting hejab in his court, the crime of drinking alcohol, the crime of cutting off the moft khor mullah and baazaris from a bigger share of Iran's wealth, the crime of throwing in prison the same bastards that are raping my country today, the crime of having good relations with Israel, the crime of buying military "toys" from the US, and so on. I think he should have been rewarded for these crimes, not punished. I have my own list of grieviances and faults agaisnt the shah. But I am sure our list would be quite different.


Re: Parham

by jamshid on

When studying our recent history, we do have to hypothesize! You can't analyze anything if you don't do a number of "what if" scenarios in your head. Specially with someone like Dr. Mossadegh who never had a chance to be in charge for a long period of time. He and what he could do is an unknown.

Also, you didn't answer my question from the previous post. I'll ask it here again. Do you think that Mossadegh could:

1. Nationalize oil while holding the US and UK in check, and,

2. While keeping the tudeh party and the Soviets in check, and,

3. While keeping the betraying mullahs and their influence on the uneducated masses in check, and,

4. While avoiding the break up of Iran, and,

5, While somehow defeating sanctions against Iran, and,

6. Do all of the above while not resorting to dictatorial methods.

Could Mossadegh realistically succeed in all of the above, specially #6? If yes, then how? If no, then what would he do instead?

You can't even form an opinion about Mossadegh unless you have answered these questions to yourself. I had, and my answer is no, he could not accomplish all of the above. The odds were stacked up against him. Additionally, I believe NOBODY could have accomplished the same, nobody.

Then what would he end up doing? I have answered what my opinion is in my previous post. I encourage you to do the same "what if" analysis, as there is nothing wrong with doing that. it only makes one to think in more details and consider all the factors in a none biased way.


Mammad Agha

by Setiz (not verified) on

The issues that you raised in your previous posts are just too many to respond to in any comprehensive way. But let's look at a couple of them from you last comment.

(1) I did not insult you. Disagreeing with your conjectures is not insult. Here is what I said, with some expansion, none of them I consider insult:

(a) Your hatred of the shah makes your analysis biased and non-objective. You start with shah was bad and build your case, emphasizing points that support you position and ignoring any counter-points. You said in one of your previous posts that shah did not do much (or something like that) BUT called what IRI did "fantastic". If this is not an utterly biased position, then what is? Please click here to see one of those fantastic achievements.


(b) I told you that I was open to revising my position in view of any new information and asked you if you would do the same. You did not respond. That means that you have closed your mind on even considering any possibly new information and the possibility that you may be wrong. You have just frozen in the mindset that you had in 70's. Lots of things have changed since then.

(c) I did not dispute your credentials. But social and political science is not mathematics where 2 + 2 = 4 no matter what. It needs good judgment, and the more confident one is, the bigger the possibility of a bigger mistake in judgment. E.g., just look around you to see in iran during revolution, those intellectuals who had been screaming about how bad shah was, mostly lined up behind khomeini without asking what a man made in Qom and Najaf can do for iran which was about to enter 21st century. They voted for islamic republic system of government without asking what it really meant. They voted for the new constitution without asking about velayate-faghih, role of sharia law, position of women, etc. That is not limited to Iranians either. Look at the western democracies to see how very intelligent people make very bad mistakes (need I bring up example?).

(d) I said you were not familiar with (i) iran of pre-pahlavi, (ii) iran of pahlavis, (iii) iranian psyche and political culture, (iv) ins and outs of democracies that we know of (i.e., western). What I meant was NOT that you did not know about names and what and where, rather you did not know (or did not want to consider) the spirit and nature of the people involved in those categories, the human dimension that is. That made your analysis shallow, superficial, and idealistic. Each one of these requires expansion that is beyond the limited space here.

(2) As for revolution. I do acknowledge that shah was not perfect, that there was corruption, etc; but revolution of 1979 was a fraud perpetrated upon the people of iran "dominantly" by the tools of deceit and exaggerations. It used naivety of people remarkably well to achieve misrepresented objectives.

You say it was legitimate. Let's say that you have a car worth $1000 that you can get by with and I encourage you to sell your car and buy a new Mercedes Benz from me for $50,000. You get rid of your car and pay me $50,000 for your new car that is to be delivered to your house. What happens if I deliver a Mercedes-looking car to your door which has no engine and needs to be towed away at an additional cost to you. Would you say that our transaction was legitimate? Well it was as legitimate as the revolution of 1979 was.

Revolution of 1979 was in fact a modern day coup, not by using the armies (that khomeini did not have), but by using sophisticated tools of deceit. That is what I call illegitimate. Had it been based on truth AND with an outcome better than what shah’s regime offered for iran, I would have called it legitimate and had supported it.

(3) As for roots of revolution. It was "dominantly" based on lies. But here is a list of other factors that caused the revolution, in decreasing order of importance.

(i) Utter deceit and exaggerations that we talked about.

(ii) Blind religiosity of majority people that never liked any of pahlavis who cut mullas’ hands from government for the first time since safavids.

(iii) Lack of familiarity of people with western democracies, their corruption, incompetence, and impotence. If you have access to CBN, I encourage you to see a few of programs by pat robertson to see how he so easily manipulates people and how people are so easily deceived by him in a progressive western democracy with close to 100% literacy rate. A worse situation existed in iran that people did not see.

(iv) Lack of familiarity of people with their own psyche. Each group (intellectuals, leftists, islamists) thought that it could get the upper hand once shah was gone. But only islamists had the widespread support among masses. A typical iranian knew nothing about Voltaire or Russell, or Marx and Lenin, but was familiar with shah and shahbanu, and VERY familiar with prophet Mohammad and emam Ali. So the contest was really between shah and islam and it was very obvious that islam would come out as winner in that contest. The other groups (intellectuals and leftists) had to either give up or rule as dictators worse than the shah in any remotely democratic system.

(v) Lack of pragmatism, specially seen in universities by idealistic and emotional students who did not consider if an ideal person can rise in iran and if he can rule democratically. People were simply not ready for democracy and any opportunity would have been seized by the thugs of one of the groups, as we saw. Iranians are just too proud, confident, and often arrogant. That is a recipe for ignorance.

I do acknowledge the wrong-doings of the shah, but no saint can rule iran or any other country for that matter. Thug-est of the thugs, that any country has, would immediately rise and ruin a nice person's rule, if not by force, then by deceit. I encourage you to look closely at the rules of the revered Bani-Omayyeh Caliphs in particular, including Emam Ali (as in Estakhr's uprising), to see how brutal they have been when challenged. But their brutality is called "shojaa'at" or "edaalat" or "implementing words of god", and that of non-religious rulers is referred to as murder and torture. Even today, there are people who worship khomeini ignoring his utter brutality and plain murders.

(vi) Corruptions of various sorts in shah's regime that was used as excuse. People simply did not know that corruption is with the people not the shah per se. Shah had to rule, either with strong fist (like saddam), or by essentially bribing the people around him to get something done (like saudis). He took the middle ground. I have examples that he would place the best people that he could find (that would not challenge him politically), highly educated and qualified, and they turn out to be self-serving. Example: doctor etemad. That was to a large extent unavoidable unless he ruled democratically in which case mullas would have taken the upper hand and would get rid of him on their first opportunity and we would be exactly where we are today, albeit sooner.

(4) As for '53 coup and tudeh party. You focused on examples that least resembled iran, and did not mention the examples like iraq and syria, where leftists captured power by force, or afghanistan where soviets boldly entered a weak country in support of their poppet regime. But, that is a long discussion by itself...

Well, I guess I said enough. I do not disagree with you on what government we "should" have. I disagree with you on "if" we can have it in foreseeable future before the people of iran go through fundamental renaissance and become wiser and less religious than they are.



by Mammad (not verified) on


You can call me anything you wish. Even if insulting me, I won't respond. I am not into this for insulting or hurting people.

If you want to continue this discussion, it is fine with me. But, (1) stay on the subject of our discussion (see below) and do not change it; (2) if you want to attribute something to me, you need to give my exact statement, rather than presenting your own impression of what I say, based on your own belief, and (3) do not answer a question of mine with another question. Otherwise, we will not get anywhere, and must stop.

I am for a secular republican form of government in which all the top officials and the parliament deputies are directly elected by people for a fixed period of time. My family and I have been against monarchy and Velaayat-e Faghih, which is nothing other than a religious saltanat or soltan. So, naturally, all of my political positions are in this direction. You want to call me biased, so be it.

I do not CLAIM to be a scientist; I AM a scientist.

I completely recognize that there are many many people who disagree with me. That is fine. I have no problem with it. I am not trying to force anybody to accept my views. I could not anyway, even if I wanted to.

Most everything that you said about Reza Shah were true. I do not even know why you brought them up because I hardly said anything about him. My own opinion about Reza Shah is that he did a lot of good things for Iran in terms of setting up modern Ministries, state organizations, and reconstruction, but, again, because his regime was bloody, dark and, absolute dictatorial, he ultimately failed to make lasting changes in the Iranian SOCIETY. As soon as he was sacked and exiled, a lot of people had a sigh of relief. This is not why I say, but what many historians say.

Your comparison of the Tudeh Party with the Viet Cong in Vietnam is, to put it extremely politely, absurd. Viet Cong and North Vietnam had fought a long bloody war with France during the war of independence, and defeated France in Dien Bien Fu in 1954. Thus, they were battled-hardened with hundreds of thousands of fighters that eventually defeated the US. Plus, the wars that they fought with the US and earlier with France were totally legitimate. With France, it wasc a matter of independence. With the US, it was a matter of intervention by a foreign power.

Now, given this, where does your analogy between them and the Tudeh Party take you? How many fighters did Tudeh Party have? How many wars had they fought in? None.

As for Laos, Cambodia, etc., they all got involved as a result of the US intervention in Vietnam. In particular, as is famously known, Cambodia was a peaceful country under Prince Nordom Sihanouk, but Nixon and Kissinger ordered secret bombing of the country in 1970, overthrew Sihanouk and brought to power the corrupt General Lon Nol who was later on overthrown by the murderous Pol Pot. He killed over two million people, but because anti-Vietnam, he was supported by the Us for a long time. The rest is history. Read Daniel Elsberg's Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam war.

Therefore, it appears to me that you should perhaps go back and re-read the history.

I never said, and you should quote my exact words instead of talking about your own impression and biases, that the Revolution and the IRI were heaven-sent presents for the Iranian people. To the contrary, I have always said that the IRI has committed too many crimes (including execution of my own brother and three first cousins). What I have said and believe in is that the Revolution was legitimate. The fact that it did not achieve its goals does not take away its legitimacy. A revolution, especially one as broad-based as Iran's, does not come out of thin air. It has to have social, political, and economical background. Unlike you, I do not believe that such a revolution can be built on and succeed based only on lies and exaggerations. If Iranian people were living in prosperity and the middle class and intellectuals were satisfied with the state of social and political freedom, they must have been totally out of their minds to be so easily fooled by lies and exaggerations.

Finally, you read more into what I say that I actually say, and then twist it your way. By classmate I meant my own classmates (Mohammad Ali Bagheri, Hamid Aryan, ....), i.e., those who entered my school the same year, and my contemporaries in the same school at Tehran University with whom I had taken class, but we had not entered the school the same year (Mahmoud Namazi, Mansoor Farshidi, Ali Mihandoust, Nastaran Al-e Aghaa,...) You can easily check the names of those who were executed by the Shah, or had been killed by the security forces during gun battles, and see how many of them from 1349 to 1356 belong to one school (Daaneshkadeh) of Tehran University. That way you may figure out whether I am lieing or not.

Plus, most of those executed or killed by the Shah were during the 1349-1356 period, i.e., right before and during my years at Tehran University. So, even if Emad Baghi (whom I respect tremendously) is right, what he said about the number of killed by the Shah has absolutely no conradiction with what I said.



by Parham on

Thanks for the kind words.
Actually, the answers there are simple.
Have you heard of the respected scientist who cut a cube out of a piece of cheese and wrote an entire essay on "The Cubic Properties Of Cheese"?

The reality is that Iran actually was under sanctions when the coup happened. That's what I meant when I mentioned the Italians and the Japanese. As for the rest of your hypotheses, that's what they are -- hypotheses. I'll add that a lot of them are based on incorrect premises as well, such as Mossadegh having to deal through the Tudeh, etc. I think history has already shown us what his relation with the Tudeh (or the Russians) was. We don't really need to go further than that, unless we want to create a perception. And we don't want to create perceptions, do we? We want to discuss facts.

Regarding the Khuzistan theory, I'd really like to know what you're basing it on. Could you point me to a solid source that talks about US's plan B, as you put it? Also, keep in mind that the coup actually failed at first on the 25 Mordad. I think you're giving much too much credit to the American might of those days (and perhaps even these days!) in terms of planning and executing covert actions.

In all, these theories might be valid to you, but to me, they are way too far-fetched. I'm really interested in discussing what was and what wasn't under a rather realistic frame. I think the reality is (and was) much simpler than that. The cheese is not cubic by itself.



Re: Parham

by jamshid on

Thank you for your response. My comments on the 1953 coup was a response to you, the rest was my response to Mammad.

As always, you brought up some interesting and valid points. I enjoyed reading your response.

I want to say again, that I have no doubt about Mossadegh's nationalism, patriotism, and having the balls to stand up against powerful influences.

However, when I analyze the possible outcomes of Mossadegh remaining in power in a scenario where the shah was out of the picture, eg, the shah had died, and in the absence of my idealist day dreamings, I see only he following realistic possiblities. When you read them, remember that you are not reading the opinion of a "monarchist", since I am not that. You are reading the opinion of a person who have decided not to be a Pro-AnyPerson, and who happens to respect both Dr. Mossadegh and the Shah, but each in different areas:

Possiblity #1: Mossadegh would continue with his relentless "all or nothing" policy against foreign influences and meddling in Iran. In this case, I have no doubt that, according to the CIA released documents, the US/UK would implement their secondary plan which was arming and funding the very much willing arabs of khuzestan to rise against Iran and declare independence. Iran did not have the military nor the money to stop this. It WOULD have happened. Today Mosadegh would be known among us as "the man who lost oil rich Khuzestan."

Possiblity #2: The third plan of US/UK for Dr. Mossadegh was to place sanctions against Iran's oil and other exports and imports. Sanctions very similar to those against Saddam in the 90s. In those days, Iran had neither the engineers nor the equipment nor the facilities to extract oil, or to refine it, nor the tanker ships to export it. The oil would sit in Iran's fields without producing any revenue at all. Due to sanctions, we would not be able to train our engineers nor build the needed facilities in order to generate revenue from oil. The oil would be "nationalized" but would just sit there generating nothing!

Iran's economy badly needed income in those days. With no oil revenue of any kind and with the sanctions, the frustrated, angry and hungry people backed by the powerful mullahs would overthrow Dr. Mossadegh's government shortly after. OR, Mossadegh would have to resort to dictatorial ways in order to remain in power. Either way, I don't see any lights at the end of the tunnel in this scenario.

Possiblity #3: Mossadegh would recruit the help of the Soviets through the Tudeh party to counter the West. The Soviets would help his government economically against sanctions and perhaps militarily against the break up of Khuzestan, but not without any concessions. Addtionally, history has shown that once the Soviets are in, they won't be out, at least they wouldn't be out until the Soviet Union itself broke up. Iran would soon become a Soviet satellite.

If one looks at all other possiblities with Dr. Mossadegh in power, he/she would realize that either Iran would break up, or become a Soviet controlled state, or remain in a poor economical state, or Dr. Mossadegh would have had to resort to dictatorial methods.

I'd like to mention one possibility which would be impossible. It is the one that we romanticize most. It is the scenario in which Dr. Mossadegh would push the West back without causing Iran to break up, while holding the Soviets and the Tudeh party in check, while miraclously defeating the sanctions allowing the growth of Iran to continue, and while at the same time controlling the domestic influence of the backwarded mullahs on the uneducated masses, and most importantly, at the same time, not resorting to dictatorship in any way. My friend, Parham, that would be impossible. Think about it rationally and you would agree with me.

Now I'd like to suggest the most realistic option that would benefit Iran the most: 

Possiblity #4: Dr. Mossadegh would realize that his "all or nothing" policy is leading Iran to disaster. He would abandon that policy and begin bargaining with the West regarding oil, making some strategic concessions to them, while playing the West and the Soviets against each other. On the domestic front, he would temporarily pass a few national emergency decrees allowing him to place the Tudeh and the mullahs in check (as he actually did with the majles when he ordered it shut downed). This would undermine his "democratic" beliefs and views, but it would be temporary and for the greater good of Iran.

Iran would then generate some revenue from its oil, expand its economy, train its oil related engineers, and build some of the much needed social and industrial infrastructure. And most importantly, every year or so, Mossadegh would go back to the nogociation tables and retract some of its initial concessions, increasing its percentage of the share of the oil revenue steadily with the passage of time. In perhaps 15 years of so, Iran would incrementally nationalize its oil without any of the dangers of the other dicussed possibilities.

The problem with the above option, is that it was exactly what the shah wanted to do, and which he exaclty did after 1953. The "democratically elected" majles opposed Mossadegh's policy since it  knew it would lead Iran to disaster. In response, Mossadegh ousted the shah and shut down the majles.

Bottom line: Had Mossadegh remained in power, Iran would be in much worst shape than the shah at the power, UNLESS, Mossadegh would adopt the same "kajdar o mariz" foreign policy of the shah and resort to at least a moderate degree of dictatorial methods. I doubt that he would. And that's what I mean with Mossadegh being a patriot, but poorly skilled in diplomacy and politics.

I would like to hear your side to see if there were any REALISTIC options for Dr. Mossadegh, such that:

1. he would not allow the break up of Iran,

2. he would not allow Iran to become a soviet influenced state,

3. he would find a way to defeat sanctions.

4. he would keep the mullahs in check

5. he would not resort to dictatorial ways while doing the above.

I am interested to read your or others' suggestions, as there is always something new to learn on this topic.


Mammad Agha

by Setiz (not verified) on

No offense, but I sincerely believe that you are badly biased, either due to a trauma in the shah's regime or for religious or cultural reasons. I grew up in the same environment and some of your claims are utterly unbelievable. Saying that some "20" of your classmates had been killed by savak is simply impossible. Baghi, the ex-revolutionary human rights activist, who went through all savak documents, puts the total killed by savak in prisons and on street confrontations as well as executions to under 400 from 1963 to 1979 (excluding those killed during revolution), out of a population of 35 million or so. That means that 5% of those killed from 63 to 79, were your classmates!

You claim to be a scientist but act like an amateur, allowing your hatred of shah to twist your judgment. Misrepresenting the dead past does not solve our problems.

You are really unfamiliar with lots of issues about iran and iranians, or conveniently ignore them. You apparently do not know much about atmosphere of 60's and 70's; that makes it very difficult to make a useful discussion.

Did you know that iran during reza shah was so poor that in major cities in iran one of the precious things that thieves and robbers would come in the house to steal was human excrement out of inside-the-house toilet, so they can sell it as fertilizer and make some money. I am serious. Did you know that? And this was very common in cities before a sewer system was developed many years later during M.R. shah period.

Did you know that "jengir's" would go around town during reza shah's period to cure diseases from impotency to tuberculosis. Each carrying a "jengir box". They would extract the "jen" and imprison him in the box so that the patient can recover. Did you know that? Did you know that this was just a single generation before us when lots of people hated reza shah for his hejab policies.

Did you know that when radio started broadcasting music during reza shah period, mullas were quoting Emam Jafar Sadegh that when someone plays music, a "jen" enters the room and attacks the person for as long as the music is played, and if the music is played for too long the person turns into a useless being as a result of the attack by the "jen". Did you know that?

Did you know that when french language was introduced in high-school curriculum as foreign language during reza shah's period, mullas started screaming that it was "haraam" to learn french and as a result some people pulled their sons out of school so they would not learn french? Did you know that? Did you know that girls were not allowed to attend school at all by a very large portion of the population at that time?

And on and on and on ...

Let's face it, our people, thanks partly to islam/mullas and partly to ghajar were living in the dark ages and WANTED to stay there. They had to be pulled out of the dark ages by force or otherwise stay there forever.

You are also wrong about tudeh party. Again, you don't seem to know about what happened to vietnam, laos, cambodia, nations of south america, syria, iraq, and afghanistan. You ignore all of that in order to build your case that shah was the worst and IRI and revolution were two blessings from heavens.

I don't think that we get anywhere on these complex issues. But you should at least know that there are other people that would totally disagree with you and do not buy into your analysis or conclusions. There are people like me, who have had no personal relation with the pahlavi regime and have not benefited from the regime, who believe that Iran was "very lucky" to have had a leader like reza shah when it desperately needed it most. And Iran was "lucky" to have had M.R. shah despite his short-comings and despite the fact that iranians have shown to be good at biting the hand that feeds them, so to speak, as soon as their stomachs are filled. As you see, in 30 years of IRI that 98% of people voted for, no-one even remotely as progressive as either of pahlavis has been even allowed to participate in the elections, let alone be elected.

In this past elections, some 30 years after pahlavis, some 17 million people (more than half of eligible voters?) voted for ahmadinejad who does not even belong to this day and age let alone to cure people's problems and issues of 21st century. I would bet that you will continue to blame shah for election of ahmadinejad types in the next 30 years as well.



by Parham on

What I'm saying about the Tudeh party is that it wouldn't have mattered if we had a communist party, even if they ever managed to obtain a few seats in the parliament. That's democracy. A lot of countries have had communist parties throughout the cold war years, even nowadays we have communist parties in many democratic countries. They eventually all died down or were reduced to nothing. As for the argument that the Tudeh would have organized a coup to take over, I say yes, there was a possibility, however minute, but that doesn't justify organizing a coup on the other side and taking over. The key was (and always is) to reach and keep the democracy. In other words, to manage WITH a pluralistic political front. You know, "together we stand, divided we fall"! The more, the better.

It takes a lot of maturity for a nation to attain even the notion of democracy and be able to implement and safeguard it. This hasn't been the case for us. Our arguments still hover around exclusion rather than inclusion. That's what I'm saying.



by Mammad (not verified) on


Thank you. I could not have said it any better.

In summary (and to end this discussion), the way I understand things:

1. The statement that the Tudeh Party would have taken over Iran is an old cliche. The Tudeh Party would never have been able to do this. I have studied the publicly available CIA documents (that can be obtained from the National Security Archives) about the 1950s. I have also tried to find as much document and analysis from the KGB side about that era (some of which are at the Hoover Institute). There is nothing that indicates that these guys thought that the Tudeh Party was in such a position.

2. As you said, things do not come out of the thin air. Saying lies and exaggerations were the main culprit for the Revolution is not only wrong, but also indicates lack of understanding the social conditions, and the political and economical factors that were influencing Iran at that time. People must have been totally out of their mind to be fooled so easily, if, in fact, they were happy, the economy was good, and the middle class and the intellectuals were satisfied with the state of civil and political freedom.

Finally: The TOTAL number of political prisoners during the Shah's reign was much larger than 3500. The number, 3500, refers to the number of political prisoners AT ANY GIVEN TIME, not the total. My own school at Tehran University alone produced hundreds of political prinoners during my era. Over 20 of my own classmates were killed by SAVAK, and tens of them were jailed.



by Parham on

I'll reply to your message as far as it concerns me and since you've left my name on top of your posting; although I'm not sure what part concerns me.

What you're saying is not really a new argument, and I understand your point of view. However, there are other points of view on the same subject as far as the 1953 coup is concerned.

One major point that isn't often mentioned is the fact that the Italians and the Japanese were ready to enter the Iranian oil market at the time. That would have avoided the American and British hegemony that ensued and would have given, not only the Iranian political scene but also the global economy, a more balanced ground for development for later. Unfortunately, things didn't go that way. The simple fact that the Americans and the Brits had to resort to trickery to get the oil shows how much they knew their interests were in danger and how much Mossadegh was right. Keep in mind this was the first time the Americans did this, so Mossadegh had ample reason to think they might not risk as much. I do agree that he miscalculated in the face of CIA money, the Shah's penchant for selling out, and people such as Shaban Beemokh and those who helped him force the coup. But that's what he miscalculated!

But then there is also that question of principles, which only applies to one's personal values. Would you rather go under unjust treatment (in this case, being exploited for your oil), or endure some suffering and not submit to injustice? Also, would you say someone appointed by the Shah would have gone through the trouble of taking Iran's case to the Hague and win it, or would he have given up the oil rights already in the beginning? I think history has shown us that this would have been the case. That's where Mossadegh's importance lies: The nationalization of oil and beating the Brits to it.

As for the Tudeh's chances of taking power, I think this is an argument that was more than used up during the cold war years for every country the US chose to meddle in. In a democratic country, it shouldn't matter if the communists took hold of power or not, which by all signs in Iran the Tudeh wasn't as popular to take hold of anyway. That's unless you don't believe in democracy, which then will be another question...

As for your arguments regarding the revolution: Maybe a lot of the things that were said weren't correct, but keep in mind, Golesorkhi and Daneshian were real, the Rastakhiz party was real, the murders and tortures were real, the lack of political freedom was real; but then most of all, the lack of a substantial political education and development of the masses was also real -- proof is what happened later on and what we've been dealing with for the past 29 years. This is what I think Mammad's argument is. There had to be cause for there to be consequence. Things don't happen out of plain thin air.

I hope that has clarified my position to you.


Roots of Revolution.

by Anonymous. (not verified) on

For an accurate account of the roots of the revolution, see:



Mammad and Parham

by jamshid on

Continuation of my response: 

4. Regarding the 53 coup, Mammad you stated that once a govenment comes to power with the aid of foreign elements, then that government will not have any legitimacy.

This statement can be true and it can be false as well. It depends on the reasons and the outcome. For example, the new governments of Germany and Japan, after the world war, were created by foreign elements. But those "puppet" governments were the only choice, and they did lead their countries into an new era of democracy and prosperity. Therefore, they were legitimate despite of being installed by foreigners. Ask any German or Japanese citizen, they will testimony to this.

In Iran of 1953, what were our choices? We had the shah supported by the US, Mosadegh supported by Tudeh and therefore indirectly by the Soviets, we had the mullahs, and one could say we had the Tudeh by themselve too. Did we have any other choices? Were there any other relevant organized party or group that could have a significant impact?

If in those days, the majority of Iranians were educated, and democracy was already ingrained in their culture and beliefs, then we would have had one other choice: The people! This alone would have rendered all other options as "illegitimate". But that was not the case in those days, therefore, we have no choice but to consider any of the above governments (shah, mosadegh, mullah, tudeh) to be "legitimate" out of not having any other options ont the table.

The question then becomes which one of them would have been the most legitimate in serving Iran and Iranians the most? Tudeh and mullah is out of the question. With the shah, we do know what he would do. It is part of history now. With Mosadegh, we never had the chance to see what he would accomplish. However, I strongly believe that Mosadegh with his "all or nothing" foreign and oil policy would have caused Iran to either break up or become another Soviet republic.

The released CIA documents indicate that the USA/UK had a plan B, had the Shah option not be possible. Their plan was to fund and arm the Arabs of khuzesatan who were the absolute majority in those days, to rise agaisnt Iran and declare independence. Iran had no military, no money and no influence to do anything to stop this. The US had even thought of the Soviets possible discontent: They would just give them Azarbayejan. Today Azarbayejan would be probably be a unified country, and Khuzestan would be an oil rich arab country very much like Kuwait, and Iran would be... Well, you can imagine what Iran would be.

This does not mean that Mosadegh was not a patriot. I still firmly believe that he was a genuine nationalist and patriot. But it does mean that he was not a good politician. As a matter of fact, he was the worst politican for the needs of Iran during those times, because his "all or nothing" policy was leading Iran to disaster.

An anology is leading a business corporation. A "good and honest" man would not necessarily lead the corporation and its thousands of employees into prosperity. Perhaps a "dealer and wheeler" type of guy, a good business politician, could do that much better. In 1953, Iran needed a patriot who was a skilled diplomat and politician, to deal the best hand for Iran, considering how weak a country it was, and how powerful the foreign inflence were and how terrible some of our domestic influences were (tudeh, mullah).

Considering all of the above, I think the Shah was the best option for its time. He was a nationalist and a skilled politician. Today that I am not a youth anymore, I much prefer shah's "kajdaar o mariz" foreing policy than Mosadegh's "all or nothing" policy. It would better serve Iran and Iranians.

If you or anyone, could show me a better option in those times, I am open to it, and if it is valid, then I would change my opinion.

And lastly, I disagree with both you Mammad and with Setiz as well, regarding whehter politics is science or art. I think politics is about the ability to be unbiased, having a good knowledge of recent history, having a good sense of business, and finally being smart! Being selfless helps too.


Re: Mammad

by jamshid on

Mammad, in your last post, you defended the revolution and those who participated in it. So Here is the voice of one of those whom you were defending, who participated in and supported the revolution in 1978. It is a long post, but I encourage you to read it.

1. I don't think the revolution could simply be blamed on the shah and events of 1953 alone. Don't you think the root of the revolution goes back to centuries in the past? Are you saying that the mullahs and the leftists did not have any role in causing the revolution? What about Jebeheye melli? What about our culture? Our being religious? What about 130 years of devastating ghajar rule? They had nothing to do with the revolution? You say you are a scientist, so how can you not see this?

2 and 3. I have to agree with Setiz. The revolution was illegitimate because it was based on lies. You will hear this statement from many who participated in the revolution, including yours truely. In those days, I was a student activist fevereshly protesting against the shah and helped with the organizing of the demonstrations. Today when I ask myself why did I turn against the shah, and what was the process that caused that, the answer is my gradual believing of the following propoganda during the revolution, which incrementally aided in the process:

a. There were 300,000 political prisoners under torture in Iran. (the truth: 3500)

b. Up to and including the fall of 1357 (1978), the regime had killed more than 600,000 people. One of the "facts", among others, in khomeini's cassette tapes. (The truth: less than 5000 during the entire reign of both pahlavis, according to ex-president of Iran, Bani Sadr and based on IRI archiver Emad Baghi)

c. Savak burnt the Rex Movie Theater and 400 people to make a statement against the revolutionaries in order to terrorize us. (The truth: Islamits did it to entice the people against the regime.)

d. The shah's military opened fired and killed more than 10,000 demonstrators in the Jaleh square, meydoone jaleh. (The truth: 97 people were killed, according to IRI archiver, emad baghi)

e. The nightly sound of machine guns, followed by people (mostly women) crying "koshtan... koshtan....", they killed us, they killed us... (The truth: It was just a show. Blanks were fired by revolutionaries into the air, followed by around 15 minutes of pause, followed by strategically placed people who were waiting, mostly women for obvious psychological reasons, who then poured in the street while chanting koshtan koshtan... This alone, repeated on a nightly basis in the month of Azar, and heard by the terrorized residences of Tehran, had a devastating impact against the regime. Don't ask how I know, I am too ashamed to say it, or even remember it.)

f. Rampant corruption, homosexuality, drug use, etc in the pahlavi court. (The truth: The only corruption was complete absence of hejab and free consumption of alcohol.)

g. Shah's complete and total obedience to the USA. (The truth: He had no choice in the beginning of his reign because Iran was a weak and poor country facing super powers, one of them bordeing Iran. It would take time to strengthen Iran and challenge the foreign powers. Towards the middle of his reign in the mid sixties, with the start of the steel industries dispute with the USA, where the USA did not want to allow Iran to have steel industry capability and the Shah going ahead with it anyway by recruting the Soviets to build it, the Shah increasingly reneged and rejected US demands and even outright challenged them.)

h. Uncontrolled corruption and plundering of Iran's wealth. (The truth: Corruption in Iran was more of a, unfortunately, cultural issue. Despite of this, Iran was one of the lesser corrupt governemts in the world, that includes the US and its senators. If there were thieves in Iran, they were more of "aftabeh dozd" compared to their counterparts in the US or other countries. However, the shah's life style, exesses and "jaah o jalaal" opened the door for the believeability of the exagerated claims of corruption against his regime.)

The list can go on. With the passage of time, and with the un-tiring propoganda against the shah, the items listed above became ingrained in my and other's beliefs, and therefore for obvious reasons we turned against the shah and his regime. With the exception of the Islamists and the leftists who had their own list of reasons and agendas, and who were a minority, the rest of us, the ordinary citizens of Iran who were the majority, turned against the shah for no reasons but the the above reasons or similar reasons alone. The only legitimate reason that was true is that he was a dictator, but that alone was not enough  to make "revolutionaries" out of me and others.

It turned out that all of them, "a" through "h" were false fabrications and fantastic exagerations made by the Islamists and the leftists. Jebehey melli, did not have any role in fabricating these lies, but they played along. I would like to briefly mention that Bakhtiar, Sadighi, Amini and a few other veteran members of pro-Mosadegh jebheye melli were the exceptions and they actually defended the regime against these lies, and in vain, tried to expose them.

These intentional lies took away from us the freedom and the ability to think clearly and choose the right option". Please read the last sentence again and think about what it means.

These lies caused us to make the wrong choices in a very important juncture of our history, making them even more illegitimate. These brainwashings were illegitimate. The false propogandas fed to our young minds were illegitimate. The spread of baseless rumors which took advantage of our high emotions were illegitimate. Those who intentionally fanned the fire and spread of these lies and false rumors were illegitimate. Those who knew these were lies but kept quite were illegitimate. Those who used these lies to further their religious/political goals were illegitimate. The leader of the revolution, khomeini, was the biggest lier of all, and hence the most illegitimate.

Therefore, our turning against the shah was based on illegitimate lies and propogandas by those illegitimate individuals/leaders who either cared nothing for Iran and its ordinary citizens (eg, the likes of khomeini), or by iresponsible and illegitimate individuals who kept quite (eg, the likes of Sanjabi).

With "us" and "our", I mean the majority who were ordinary citizens such as myself. I am not including the leftists and Islamists.

I and many others who at one time were active participants to the revolution, today consider the revolution illegitimate because it was based on lies, and deceiving, misleading and misinforming us, and disguising and distorting the truths, and most importantly, taking advantage of our innocence and trust.

In the absence of these illegitimate lies and false propoganda, the grieviances that we Iranians had against the shah would never turned into a revolution. NEVER. I was there and went through the process, and observed many others go through the same process as well, so I know what I am talking about.

And in the absence of these lies, the majority of the Iranians (again, the ordinary citizens) would have probably instead turned to and supported Bakthiar, even if the shah remained. The illegitimate revolution then would have become a legitimate evolution. Again, I am excluding the Islamists and the leftists, the minority, who would have never supported Bakthtiar.

Please, Mammad, do not speak on Iranians behalf, such as me, when you can be so off the mark. Feel free to speak on Islamists behalf if you want, because then that won't include me and the majority of Iranians. Do not glorify a revolution that has brought the majority of Iranians only pain and misery.

I will answer to #4, the 53 coup in the next post.



by Mammad (not verified) on


Thank you very much for your detailed and intelligent comments on what I had written on. I do not mean to take your time, so, let me say a few words about some of the things that you said.

1. I am fully aware of the structure of the Iranian society, especially since the establishment of Shiism as an important power center in Iran since the Safavid, and the people's deep religious beliefs. In fact, that is exactly my point: In the absence of an ORGANIZED secular nationalist opposition, or even moderate religious-nationalist groups, such as the Freedom Movement, and given the people's deep religious beliefs, they had no place to turn but the clergy. I believe that the communist, even if completely free to be active, could not come to power, despite all the things that are said about the Tudeh Party, precisely due to people's religious beliefs.

2. I respectfully disagree with you regarding the illegitimacy of the Revolution. We had a whole generation of leftists - be of the Fadaaeen type or Mojahedin - who fought with the Shah. We can disagree with their tactics (I do disagree), but the fact that so many educated intellectuals found the Shah's regime so bad is telling. Besides, Ayatollh Khomeini was a master at reading people's mood. At least at the beginning of the Revolution, he was led by the people, rather than being the leader. It was only after it became clear how shaky the Shah's regime was that toppling of the Shah's regime became the central demand of the revolutionaries.

The Shah himself knew that his regime was in deep crisis; recall his sacking of some of his closest advisors way before the Revolution was sparked. Even he himself acknowledged this when he said, "I heard your revolutionary voice," and here was a man totally isolated from his subjects - the people that he ruled.

3. No revolution, especially as widely popular as our Revolution, can be built on lies and exaggerations alone. I am surprised that someone like you who writes so well, and seems to know much, makes statements like this. Yes, there were indeed lies and exaggerations, but without the necessarty social, political, and economical background, no amount of lies and exaggerations could get the people to rise up at that level. We have no instance of this in the entire contemporary history of the world.

Besides, saying that the Revolution was based on lies and exaggerations that fooled people is, with all due respect, unfair and might even be interpreted as an insult to the intelligence of the Iranian people.

Moreover, such a thinking is, in my opinion, also contradictory with the claim that the Shah modernized Iran, and did a lot of good things (he did some, but not a lot). If this is true, then how come people were fooled so easily?

4. I also disagree with you here. This is a Leninist way of thinking that end justifies the means. It never does. Once a country like Iran gets a government that has come to power by a coup engineered by a foreign power, that regime has, in my view, no legitimacy. That regime owes its existence to the foreign power (as the Shah had admitted to Kermit Roosevelt) and, in my view, a lot of things that it does are in the direction of protecting the interests of the foreign power, rather than those of its own nation.

I also believe that the 1979 Revolution was a direct result of the 1953 coup. As Stephen Kinzer says in his excellent book, All the Shah's Men, one can even argue that the 9/11, 2001 events and their aftermath can argueably be linked to the 1953 coup. So, even if we accept your premise, the end as we know it today has been a disaster, hence not justifying the means. One cannot separate things and, in an arbitrary manner, say the Shah did a lot of good, and that the Revolution and its consequences have nothing to do with him. The end is the present state, not 1977 or even 1978.

5. As a scientist I am fully aware of the concept of scale. That is why I did not say which one - the Shah's regime or the IRI - commited more crimes (the latter, in my opinion). All I said was, just because the IRI has been so horrible does not wash out what the Shah did.

Finally, I do not agree with you that politics is more of an art than science. May be what a politician does is that way, but analyzing political events, especially in their historical contexts and the effect they have on the direction of history, is indeed a science, and a difficult one at that.

I also observe that a very big majority of Iranian political leaders and activitists of the last 70-80 years have been engineers and scientists. This is true even today; just take a look the who is who of the opposition (and even many leaders of the IRI). There are few who had, for example, studied, political science at their universities. To me, that is very telling.

Thank you again.


Mammad Agha

by Setiz (not verified) on

I admire your achievements and do not doubt them. However, social and political science is more of an art than science; one can easily make mistakes, and the smarter one is, the bigger the mistakes can be. Do you think that likes of doctor ebrahim yazdi was unintelligent or uneducated? Indeed he was very smart and very educated, "maybe" even somewhat of a nationalist, but his hatred of the shah and his islamic fanaticism overshadowed his judgment as can be seen from his behavior from day one of the revolution to this date. There are lots and lots of examples, even in open western societies, of bad mistakes being made by highly educated and smart people. Again, no personal offense towards you is intended, really.

You often start with your conclusion that pahlavis were the worst and then you build up your case around it to prove the conclusion that you made up front. You also place your total attention on the "means" for pahlavis but on the "ends" for IRI. I personally seek truth and am open to revising my views on anything. Let's look at the points that you raised, for examples:

1. You are simply wrong on this topic. No offense, really. But you seem not to really know the structure of iranian courts from safavids to ghajars. You also seem not to know the people of iran and their deep-rooted islamic culture, excluding those of the elite class of tehran. If you ignore these two factors, then it is easy to come to the conclusion that you made.

2. The revolution was illegitimate since it was based on lies and exaggerations, made by a highly-trusted and respected personality (khomeini), leading to fundamental manipulation of public opinion. This is common even in western societies with similar devastating effects. There were other factors involved too which are beyond this brief discussion.

3. Yes, revolution was supported by the majority of people but again based on the lies that they were told as well as a lot of other factors that had minimally anything to do with the shah.

4. Well, here you see the opposite side of the rationale that you often use. Those people who claim coup was internal only use a logic similar to yours to prove their version of events. For me, with all the information that I have "today", I believe that it was a collusion between iranian elites of the iranian court and the western intelligence services. But the main question that needs to be asked is not about the mechanism of the coup, but if it was advantageous to the totality of iranians. My answer here is a yes, as I am not convinced that mosaddegh and the tudeh party around him could rule iran with honesty and integrity and without losing part of iran or becoming a soviet satellite.

5. I agree with you here, but it is a question of scale. As the persian proverb says, "... gar mast girand, har aankeh hast girand." In other words, all rulers of post-islamic iran (that we sufficiently know about), from Omar to ahmadinejad have committed crimes, amongst them shah was more on the side of the benign ones.

I totally disagree with you on your conclusion. Again, that shows your bias as well as unfamiliarly with iran and iranians of pre-pahlavi and during pahlavis.

I do not expect you to change your mind at all. Just that you know that there are others, who were simple citizens and were never associated with the regime, who think differently and use a different line of reasoning. The disaster that we have on our hands, named IRI, is the proof that as bad as shah allegedly was, we were better off with him than without him. Maybe we should ask this question of all iranians today to see what they think now that they have had 30 years of experience without shah's rule.

You need to wash yourself of the hatred of the shah. Only then you can make an impartial analysis of the past and present events related to iran. Only then your conclusion, irrespective of if it ends up being pro- or anti-pahlavis becomes justifiable. That is why we should read books, articles, and views by iranians with suspicion, as they are often emotionally involved and culturally biased in their analysis, no matter if they are pro- or anti-regime.



by Parham on

You are making it sound like someone's only pointing the finger to the US concerning the coup. Please point me to one posting on this thread where someone only blamed the US.


Parham aziz, again we’re

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Parham aziz, again we’re disagreeing on the coup, but please look at the big picture. We Iranians really tend not to do that.The fact of the matter is that the U.S government had close ties to the Shah. No one denies that. However, that does not in any way , shape or form, strip us from taking responsibility of our own actions. No matter how close those ties were (and I strongly believe that it has definitely being exaggerated), we were an independent country who were ruled by an independent Iranian king. And we the people as showed in 1953 and 1979, had the ultimate decision making power. So whatever happened on those 2 years, whether which government gave its input on it, or which government benefited from it, or which government advised Iranian leaders on what to do, we are , like most people around the world, responsible for our own action. It’s hypocritical to only talk about U.S role, I mean, are we gonna blame France for letting Khomeini stay and fly back to Iran from it in 1979? Is France a “co-inspirator” of the 1979 revolution? No , its not! The fact is U.S has and will get blamed for many things that happens eventhough not involved in, for 2 main reasons: 1- It is the ultimate superpower, and no one likes a superpower, doesn’t matter if it is a capitalist, communist, Islamist,,what have you..So in countries where decisions are made without publics discretion and suffer from tyrannical socio-political status, conspiracy theories are very popular, and its usually against the mightiest of them all, because they feel it has power to make those decisions. 2- Because for a long time, dictators around the world, such as Shah and more Khomeini, blame someone else for the misery and mishaps of the country while they continue their oppression of the people. This is an old trick. Who else to blame offcourse? The one who would be mostly to believe to be able to have that kind of an influence to be the cause of mishaps and misery, usually meaning powerful and important countries. Like I said before, logistics can be manipulated, who planned what, who gave the orders, all those stuff can be manipulated, but the big picture cannot. And the big picture is Shah was an important ally of the U.S, but he was also a king of a system that has been deeply rooted in our existence for close to 2500 years. We have not only suffered democratic principles because of that, but our national psyche and national identity and belief system has been greatly bruised because of it. Add to that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism since the final days of Safavid empire and you can see a steady decline in our civilization that continues on today and took fast pace after 1979. Lets stop blaming others.


Re: Face it

by jamshid on

Nice video.

The video mentioned $116 billion of oil revenue during the pahlavis. This number is very accurate. However the $550 billion of oil revenue from 1979 to 2001 (1380) is inaccurate.

The correct number is $100 billion more, $650 billion.

If you add the oil revenue from 2002 to 2007, the grand total from 1979 to today 2007, IRI's life time, is a staggering $900+ billion, almost a trilion dollars.

One trillion dollars that went down the drain.

P.S. The numbers are not adusted for inflation, but the ratios won't be much different even if you adjust for inflation.



by Mammad (not verified) on

Thank you for your polite and to-the-point comment.

Unlike what you think, I am not frozen in time. In my scientific work I am known as someone who opens up new research problems or approaches that no one had thought of before. The same thing is true about my political views. If you knew me, you would probably agree.

But, a few things bother me about all the people who use the most vicious profanities on to attack others, and most, if not all, seem to be supporters of the monarchy. What are the things that bother me?

1. We must acknowledge that it was due to repression of secular opposition by the Shah that we got the religious regime in Iran. It was what the Shah did wthat gave us Velaayat-e Faghih.

2. The fact that the Iranian revolution did not achieve almost any of its goals does not delegitimize it. One must separate the Revolution and its root causes from what happened after its victory.

3. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many many experts, and evidenced by the fact that it was supported by a vast majority of the people, the Revolution was completely legitimate, home-grown, and popular.

4. It is utter dishonesty and a total fabrication of the history to say that the 1953 CIA-MI6 coup was not a coup, but an uprising by the people. There is universal agreement on this, except by the monarchists and some former leftist-turned rightists.

5. The crimes of the IRI do not wash out those of the Shah's regime. Both must be condemned.

Finally, unlike you, I do not believe that the Shah gave us propsperity, or freedom. Yes, there was peace, but that was due to the Cold War, and the US-Soviets rivalry, and Iran's geopolitical location.



by Mammad (not verified) on

Jamshid khaan:

I explained to you why I responded, even though I had decided not to. You had gotten really angry, and that bothered me. My comment was NOT aimed at you (or Farhad); I am not lieing. But, the fact that it had made you so angry bothered me.

I write political articles all the time, and have published in very important places. My next one will be posted soon, and another one will be part of an important report by an international group on Iran to be released at the end of February. I am not saying these to brag, rather to say that I get all the "juice" that I need from such activities. I only entered such discussions because I find a lot of misinformation about Iran, both past and present.

I did not lie when I said you did no calculations. You misunderstood me, and I believe it is because you want to respond quickly. I know how much time there is between the time I post my comment and when your response appears. What I meant was that you did not do any calculations that CONVINCED ME, aside from your good point regarding the oil price in 1969. But, as I said, I found no point in continuing to argue.

I'll be happy to discuss things with you or anybody else. That is why I am in it, despite my wife's protests! But, you have alreay decided that what I believe in are lies, rumors, etc. So, what is the point?


Iranian Revenue from Oil - one data point

by Face it (not verified) on

There is a documentary on YouTube that claims that:

From 1913 to 1978: $116 Billion,
From 1979 to 2006: $550 Billion.

I do not know how reliable it is, and if it is adjusted for inflation, but see time 3:30 to 3:45 in:


It also shows other fantastic achievements of IRI.


Re: Mammad

by jamshid on

Mammad, if you, quote, "had decided not to respond to you (jamshid) anymore", then why did you respond?

Suddenly in your last post you were "not talking about any person in particular..." You know it Mammad, I know it, everyone who reads the comments in this thread knows it, you WERE talking about me and Farhad.

And what is so wrong in proving somebody is wrong in his opinion? You call it boasting. I call it an argument that ended with me making a point. Someone else may call it something else.

Mammad, so far we were in disagreement. That is fine. But don't start making lies, because that will change everything. You say that "No, you (jamshid) did not do any calculation to show me anything..." That is a lie. The proof is in the 1943 Conference thread. You claimed that after adjusting for inflation, Iran is making less income from oil that the previous regime did in the late sixties. Exactly your words. I used the CPI index to make the calculations that proved to you that you are false. You even agreed that you were wrong. But now you are telling me I did not do any calculations to show you anything, you are refuting the whole thing. The good thing is that the thread and all our comments are still there:


Finally, if you don't like to be insulted, then refrain from insulting others including me. I will open my mouth liberally and say what I want once I am insulted. Do you have any objections to that?

P.S. I challenge you to put all these aside and return to a courteous debate, if you are up to it. Tell me what you find wrong in the pahlavis regime, starting from 1921. I know what the wrong things were with that regime. Unfortunately, my list and yours on this topic would be quite different. Your criticisms of that regime so far has been based on baseless rumors or outright lies in which you believe in, or false propoganda, while mine are based on solid facts that not even one monarchist has ever been able to refute them.