THE END OF MONARCHY & MODERNIZATION IN IRAN
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was the Shah of Iran from 16th of September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11th of February 1979. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi of the Iranian monarchy. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several titles, including that of “Shahanshah” , Aryamehr and Bozorg Arteshdaran. The Shah had seen himself as heir to the kings of ancient Iran, and in 1971 he held an extravagant and magnificent celebration of 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. ( I have gold and silver Commemorative coins from the celebration, which I cherish ).
It has been stated that The Shah’s regime suppressed and marginalized its opponents with the help of Iran’s security and intelligence organization, the SAVAK, with the help of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA). At its peak, the organization had as many as 60,000 agents serving in its ranks. Relying on oil revenues, which sharply increased in late 1973, the Shah pursued his goal of developing Iran as a mighty regional power dedicated to social reform and economic development.
In 1976 The Shah replaced the Islamic calendar with an “Imperial” calendar, which began with the foundation of The Persian Empire more than 25 centuries earlier. Unfortunately, these actions were viewed as anti-Islamic and resulted in religious opposition.
It is truly unfortunate that the US did not prevent the demise of this Dynasty, which was on a strong road to vast improvements and much needed modernization in vital areas of Iranian Culture and Society. In my post titled, ‘ If Only… ‘ , I stated, ” ( Present day Iran ) struggles to own it’s rich history. Since the installation of the Islamic Republic, Iran has been forced backwards to the Dark Ages….all of the advancements that both of The Pahlavi Shahs implemented to elevate Iran to a state of modernization, are barely memories now. The Iranian youth of today, which make up the majority of the present population, do not even know about, nor are they educated about their own complete history. It is a manipulated and tainted education, indeed. Ask any of them who The Shah was, or mention the name Pahlavi…and you shall encounter blank stares. The country is rich in so many ways….it saddens me to think of where Iran would be today, had the Revolution never been allowed to take place and the US would have watched The Shah’s back…instead of stabbing it. Iran would have been a vibrant, modernized, glittering country with a highly educated population. “
(available at: https://stephiepahlavizan.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/stephie-pahlavi-zan-if-only/ )
It came as an enormous shock for me to witness how tragically and completely The Shah’s life had transformed during the end of his once spectacular life, ” ( The Shah’s) entire world was turned upside down by the angst and humiliation that he was subjected to by the withdrawal of the United States’ anticipated assistance. Not only did the US promise him that they were backing him up, but they were also long time allies who had a history of reciprocity. They each needed each other. The US naturally needed our rich oil and we were accustom to having their unwavering support.” ( For more on the US’ / Jimmy Carter’s perfidy, refer to : http://thebetrayaloftheshah.blogspot.com/ )
Islamic leaders, particularly the exiled cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, were able to focus this discontent with a populist ideology tied to Islamic principles and calls for the overthrow of The Shah. The Shah’s government collapsed following widespread uprisings in 1978 -1979 and consequently an Islamic Republic succeeded his regime.
Hypocrisy in the Islamic government: SAVAK was closed down shortly before the overthrow of the Monarchy and the coming to power of Ayatollah Khomeini in the February 1979 Iranian Revolution. Following the departure of the Shah in January 1979, SAVAK’s 3,000+ central staff and its agents were targeted for reprisals; almost all of them that were in Iran at the time of the Iranian Revolution were hunted down and executed, only a few, those who were outside of Iran are believed to have survived.
SAVAK was replaced by the “much larger” SAVAMA, Sazman-e Ettela’at va Amniat-e Melli-e Iran, also known as the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of Iran.
SAVAK was never dismantled but rather changed its name and leadership and continued on with the same codes of operation, and a relatively unchanged “staff.”
Hossein Fardoust, a former classmate of the Shah, was a deputy director of SAVAK until he was appointed head of the Imperial Inspectorate, also known as the Special Intelligence Bureau, to watch over high-level government officials, including SAVAK directors. Fardoust later is rumoured to have become director of SAVAMA, the post-revolution incarnation of the original SAVAK organization.
After the victory of the Islamic revolution, a museum was opened in the former Towhid Prison in central Tehran called “Ebrat”. The museum displays and exhibits the documented atrocities of SAVAK.
Beset by advanced cancer, the Shah left Iran in January 1979 to begin a life in exile. We lived in Egypt, Morocco, the Bahamas, and Mexico before going to the United States for treatment of lymphatic cancer. His arrival in New York City led to the Iranian takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran by “Students of Imam’s Line” and the taking hostage of more than 50 Americans for 444 days.
The Shah died in Cairo, Egypt, on July 27, 1980.
Khoda Beyamorz ( RIP )
I Love and Miss You!
Stephie Pahlavi Zan