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Iranian Historiography : Various Perspectives on Defining Moments in the Modern History of Iran
Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
Term Paper, AP World History Class, June 2010
Table of Contents
II. The Constitutional Revolution, 1906-1911
II.1 The Perspective of the Current Iranian Government
II.2 The Perspective of the Pahlavi
II.3 The Reception by the Public
III. The Nationalization of Petroleum Industry, 1951-1953
III.1 The Perspectives of the Leftist Parties: The National Front and the Tudeh Party
III.2 The Perspective of the Pahlavi
III.3 The Perspective of the Current Iranian Government
III.4 The Reception by the Public
IV. The Islamic Revolution, 1979
IV.1 The Perspective of the Current Iranian Government
IV.2 The Perspective of the Pahlavi
IV.3 The Perspectives of the Other Political Groups; Reception by the Public
This paper is to introduce and analyze various national perspectives on the modern history of Iran, especially focusing on the three defining moments of
Iranian history. The criteria of selecting the three are as follows: a) whether an event served in the course of history as the major transitional factor in terms
of politics, economy etc.; b) whether an event has a substantial influence in the global scale; c) whether an event still has any considerable impact until today.
Applying these criteria, I selected the following events as the three defining moments : The Constitutional Revolution during 1905-1911, the Oil Nationalization
during 1951-1953, and the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The Constitutional Revolution marks the transition of the political system of Iran from a traditional monarchy to a constitutional monarchy; in the place of the
Shahs who used to have the technically absolute power over their domain and subjects, the people, represented by a parliament (called "the Majlis" in Iran),
became the source of governance while the Shah remained the sovereign whose power was restricted by the constitution. Also, in the course of the civil war
accompanied with the revolution, Russia and Britain, which formed their respective "sphere of influence", had to reconsider their colonial policies. Still, the
constitutional revolution is celebrated by both the Iranian government and the other political sectors as well as the public.
Another definitive event, the oil nationalization attempt by the contemporary Prime Minister Mossadegh, indicated the popular idea for economic independence.
Though it failed, the result was politically significant, because it enabled Mohammad Reza Shah to recover his power and, in a degree, motivated him to
implement both repressive and appeasing policies, respectively represented by the SAVAK and "the White Revolution". Also, the oil nationalization was
an internationally sensitive issue in both political and economic reasons; especially for Britain and the United States, the nationalization of the petroleum industry
dominated by the western capital meant not only the loss of their prerogatives on stable supply of oil and profits but also the higher possibility of the affiliation
between Iran and the Soviet Union in the Cold War situation.
Finally, the Islamic Revolution is probably the most critical and distinctive event in the modern history of Iran, perfectly satisfying the
supposed criteria. The revolution displayed the general disapproval of the Shah regime which technically had existed from the ancient
Persia, while its result was one of the unique yet suppressive regimes, the Islamic republic based on Ayatollah Khomeini's idea.
(1) Not only that, after the scandalous captivity of the American hostages, the relation between Iran and the United States
remains hostile, and perhaps most people living in the westernized world relate Iran with terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism and "the axis of evil".
Focusing on these historical events, this paper is to show various perspectives of Iranian entities such as the current government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
the contemporary parties of these events, and the Iranian public. The arguments of this paper largely depend on the primary sources such as speeches, memoirs,
or other kinds of record, while the opinions of other authors are cited in case of the lack of primary sources. Also, I admit that the chapters, of which the titles are
"Reception by the Public", are largely based on conjecture, owing to the lack of available sources; therefore, the arguments in these chapters should be
understood merely as a matter of probability.
II. The Constitutional Revolution, 1905-1911
II.1 Perspective of the Current Iranian Government
The current Iranian government acknowledges the Constitutional revolution as "anti-despotic" in the constitution; the term "anti-despotic" is considered
affirmative, since the current Iranian government criticizes the former Pahlavi regime for being despotic. (2) This affirmative attitude of the current Iranian
government can be confirmed in the following historical writing in German, which is included in the booklet published by the Embassy of the Islamic Republic
of Iran in Bern. (Botschaft der islamichen Republik Iran, 1986)
"Nach ihm wurde sein Sohn Mohammad Ali (1324-1327) Schah von Persien. Mohammad Ali Schah, der die konstitutionelle Verfassung als Thronfolger mit
unterzeichnet hatte, wollte sich als Schah darüber hinwegsetzen. Er wies den Befehlshaber der russischen Kosakenbrigade, Liakov, an, das Parlamentsgebäude
zu zerstören. Damit behann die Verfolgung der Freiheitskämpfer." (3)
[The translation into English is: After him, his son Mohammad Ali (1324-1327) [became] the Shah of Persia. Mohammad Ali Shah, who signed the Constitution as the
constitutional successor to the throne, wanted to ignore them [the constitution or the constitutionalists] as the Shah. He instructed the commander of the Russian
Cossack Brigade Liakov to destroy the Parliament building. Thus, the persecution of freedom fighters began.]
In this excerpt, the Shah is depicted to be "ignoring (hinwegsetzen)" the constitution with his desire to recover his full power and authority as the
Shah, while the Constitutionalists who fought against the Shah is described as the "freedom fighters (Freiheitskämpfer)". Thus, it can be deduced
that the current Iranian government is fond of the achievement of the Constitutionalists, who acquired the freedom and eventually drove out despotism from Iran.
However, just as in case of the Mossadegh, the current Iranian government criticizes the revolution for being too much "secular" and not fundamentally
based on the principles of Islam, especially Shi'ism. The following excerpt is from the preamble of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in which
the Constitutional revolution is described in two ways:
"After experiencing the anti-despotic constitutional movement and the anti-colonialist movement centered on the nationalization of the oil industry, the Muslim people
of Iran learned from this costly experience that the obvious and fundamental reason for the failure of those movements was their lack of an ideological basis. Although the
Islamic line of thought and the direction provided by militant religious leaders played an essential role in the recent movements, nonetheless, the struggles waged in the
course of those movements quickly fell into stagnation due to departure from genuine Islamic positions." (4)
In this case, the Constitutional revolution is rather criticized of "lack of an ideological basis", although "the Islamic line of thought... played an essential role".
This means that the constitution of 1906 should have been more faithful to the Islamic principles, perhaps in a degree that Khomeini and his followers demand
to today's Iranians. Actually, the constitution of 1906 is known to be the compromise of the "modernist" intellectuals and the ulama, the Muslim jurists.
Some Western historians wrote as follows:
"The real significance of the contribution of the pro-Constitutionalist ulama was in the way they tried to elaborate a Constitutional theory in accordance with a new
approach to Islamic and, more specifically, Shi'i principles. The intellectual background for such a contribution had been laid down in earlier debates in Islamic political theory."
"The ideas of freedom, equality, justice and several other constitutional topics had already existed in Islam. In an abstract sense, they sounded similar... In spite of
their various motives for participation in the Constitutional Revolution, the constitutional ulama had become convinced that the existing tyrannical regime should be
overthrown even at the price of borrowing certain elements from the West." (6)
These excerpts definitely show that even the religious leaders of Islam agreed upon the necessity of the constitution in protecting values which Muslims
esteemed as much as the Constitutionalists did. The both sides recognized the "tyrannical" nature of the traditional Shah regime, but the constitution was
still thought by the ulama to be based on "Islamic political theory". Not only that, the constitutional values "sounded similar" to those which "already
existed in Islam". Actually, the constitution of 1906 had some elements which seem to be discriminative and irrational; for example, the constitution did
not allow suffrage for women, and later in 1907, the amendment of the constitution stipulated that "all" laws passed by the Majlis should be approved
by a committee of the Shi'ite clerics. That is, the influence of Islam was conspicuously dominant in drafting the constitution, and the ulama actively
participated in the establishment of the constitutional system.
Despite these conspicuous examples which prove the dominance of Islamic factors in the constitution, as can be seen from the
preamble of the constitution of 1980, the current Iranian government alleges that the constitutional revolution lacked "an ideological
basis" and "departed from the genuine Islamic positions". From this statement, it is deduced that the current Iranian government is
taking a strictly hard-lined perspective, in which the compromise with the Western elements are deemed hardly acceptable.
II.2 Perspective of the Pahlavi
The Pahlavi, as well as many other political parties in and outside Iran, also affirms the significance of the revolution in democratizing
and modernizing Iran. Reza Pahlavi, the former Crown Prince and current pretender to the Iranian throne, is well known for accusing
the current Iranian regime of human rights issue and claiming secular, westernized democracy to be adapted in place of the current
"theocratic" government. (7) Thus, it seems natural for the Pahlavi to exalt the stride toward more democracy and
less despotism of the Shah. The following excerpt clearly proves the positive attitude of the Pahlavi toward the Constitutional revolution:
"The great Iranian nation is endowed with a rich history and a pioneering civilization. The Constitutionalist Revolution [of 1906] was itself a first movement of its kind,
especially within the Islamic world, to establish modern representative government and a modern civic system. Our nation has today learned lessons from clerical rule.
It is now in a position to wholeheartedly commit itself to democracy and renew its efforts to embrace modernity." (8)
In this excerpt, the Constitutional revolution is described to be "pioneering" movement which established the "modern" form of political system. Also, by
adding that the Iranian nation has learned a lesson from the current "clerical rule", Reza Pahlavi indirectly suggests that the Constitutional revolution is the
exemplary event that the Iranian people should be aware of in order to oppose the current regime and to open a new age of democracy and modernity. However,
when it comes to his book , Reza Pahlavi seems to have a criticism on the revolution concealed between the lines:
"The Constitutional Revolution of 1906 brought us a democratic parliamentary system in place of an absolute monarchy. Later, my grandfather was instrumental in preserving
our territorial integrity and in setting Iran on the path to modernity." (9)
In this excerpt, the Pahlavi's attitude toward the Constitutional revolution seems to be conspicuously positive. Nonetheless, right after Reza Pahlavi's comment
on the revolution, he adds that Reza Shah (referred to as "my grandfather" in the excerpt) was "instrumental" in achieving modernity and integrity of the
country; this seems to be the Pahlavi's attempt to justify the ambitious act of overthrowing the regime established and legitimized by the Constitution of 1906.
Unlike the Qajar Shahs, who were defeated by the Constitutionalists in the course of the revolution (11) and thus inevitably admitted
the de facto supremacy of the Majlis, the Pahlavi Shahs must have overwhelmed the Majlis, as can be seen from that the Majlis was
"forced" to declare Reza Pahlavi the new Shah. Moreover, Reza Shah strived to eliminate every potential political rival throughout his
reign; for example, Dr. Mossadegh was barely saved by at-that-time the Crown Prince, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. (12)
Considering these aspects, the reign of Reza Shah had been, in many terms, unconstitutional in reality, and the authority of the constitution was nominal,
though it survived through Reza Pahlavi's rule. Therefore, because it is unreasonable to simultaneously praising the Constitutional revolution and the
unconstitutional government of his grandfather, Reza Pahlavi's attitude is deemed contradictory in itself.
II.3 Contemporary Reception by the Public
In the time of the Constitutional revolution, the concept of democracy, constitution or modernity were exotic and unfamiliar to the majority of the Iranian people.
Thus, even though Constitutionalism evoked a civil war among the high class and the intellectuals, the contemporary public had neither interest nor the
understanding about the Constitutional revolution. A British who traveled through Iran during the time of civil war wrote in his memoir:
"Certainly the people of Resht seemed to lack fire and energy. Persia was, according to the newspapers, awakening from her sleep of centuries, but the populace did not seem
aware of it... Western ideas spread, but the Shahs had not the will, nor the nation means, to adopt Western methods... At the same time Teheran was the city of Persia, in
which the Nationalist cause was best understood; all the citizens, except such as were directly in the service of the Shah, were Constitutionalists." (13)
According to this excerpt, except for the citizens of Tehran in which the middle classes were concentrated, the Constitutional revolution attracted only a
meager attention from the public, mainly because "the nation means to adopt Western methods" although "Western ideas spread". Thus, it is impossible
to judge how the contemporary Iranian people except for certain groups of people responded to the revolution, since they were barely aware of the cause
of the revolution.
About the today's public reception of the Constitutional revolution, there is not much sources which can help know the situation. However, as the contemporary
public scarcely responded to the Constitutional Revolution, the situation seems to be similar in today's Iran. In the book , written by an Iranian
living in Paris, the introduction abridges the entire history of Iran in one and a half pages; yet, the constitutional revolution is not even mentioned,
and Reza Shah is described to have pioneered the modernization of Iran. Nevertheless, since most of the political groups in and outside Iran, including the
current Iranian government, share the positive view on the Constitutional revolution, it is likely that the Iranian public also have positive view, if they have
any notion about the revolution.
III. The Nationalization of Petroleum Industry, 1951-1953
III.1 Perspectives of the Leftist Parties : The National Front and the Tudeh Party
The National Front, which was the leading party in the contemporary Majlis of Iran during the oil nationalization, has retained its strongly supportive
attitude toward the nationalization of petroleum industry by the Mossadegh administration (14). The National Front consists of not only nationalists
but also the secular Iranian opposition including liberals and social-democrats. Thus, the tone and the stance of this organization is not necessarily
nationalistic nor rightist. The Charter of the National Front explicitly declares the oil nationalization was the greatest success of the Iranian people:
"The era witnessed the struggles for the Constitution and reached heights of success in nationalizing our oil under the leadership of Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq
and after that the widespread, persistent and glorious struggles of the Iranian people to overthrow the monarchy [through Islamic revolution] with the hope
of establishing democracy was a long journey that took only 70 years [from the constitutional revolution of 1906]." (15)
According to the Charter, Mossadegh was the representative of the general will of the Iranian people, and the nationalization of petroleum industry was definitely the
best choice for the good of the people. Like this, the National Front views that the nationalization emulates the importance of the constitutional revolution and
the Islamic revolution.
Meanwhile, the present perspective of the Tudeh party is difficult to determine right now, but it seems that the Tudeh's viewpoint is mixed. The Tudeh
party primarily opposed to Mossadegh, denouncing him "an agent of American imperialism".(16) Actually, Mossadegh himself was
thought by the U.S. State Department to be "strongly anti-communist" (17), and his eventual aim of nationalizing oil industry was
to make Iranian masses less receptive to communism by eradicating "the economic exploitation" by the British (18). Despite the
initially hostile relation, the Tudeh Party supported nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), and later helped Mossadegh in preventing
several coup attempts. (19) Also, when the Mossadegh administration was at the stake at the coup of 1953, the Tudeh party
leader Nur ed-Din Kianuri wanted Mossadegh to take countermeasures by offering arms to the Tudeh to fight against the coup plotters. (20)
These facts enable it to conjecture that the Tudeh party is partly sympathetic with Mossadegh and strongly agrees with the oil nationalization itself,
although Mossadegh did not share Tudeh's Communist ideals.
III.2 Perspective of the Pahlavi
At the time of the premiership of Mossadegh, Mohammad Reza Shah, the second Shah of the Pahlavi Dynasty, was not satisfied with the plans and actions
of the contemporary cabinet. The Shah had been pursuing a pro-Western policy, and the nationalization of petroleum industry would certainly jeopardize
the success of this policy. Therefore, persuaded by the representatives of some British interest groups, the Shah personally asked some members of the Majlis to stay
away from the vote so that the quorum would not be met, but this effort turned out to be futile when the Majlis unanimously passed the nationalization bill.
(21) Not only that, the Senate, half the members of which were chosen by the Shah, also unanimously approved the bill. Later, the
Shah attempted to depose the Prime Minister Mossadegh by acquiescing the Operation Ajax and issuing the unconstitutional firman (royal edict), but he
had to abdicate when the operation failed. (22) It was the coup of 1953 that the Shah could recover his authority and power.
Judging from this history, during the reign of the Pahlavi Shah, Mossadegh's nationalization attempt would have been seen obscene and rebellious to the Shah regime.
Still in nowadays, the former Shah's adherents seem to remain fairly critical of Mossadegh's attempt. The former minister to the Shah, Anouchehr Ganji,
wrote in his memoir as follows:
" Mossadegh let his government's decisions regarding ... the start of flow of oil to be guided by national sentiments as expressed by the
slogans of the mobs in the streets of Tehran. The continuing blockade caused the country's economy to fall into disarray. The Toudeh party
seemed to be the main benefactor of the deadlock in negotiations between Britain and Iran ..."
Mossadegh's downfall was paved more by himself than by those opposed him ... If he had more moderately pursued his nationalization policy by offering
reasonable compensation, he could have reduced foreign opposition and preserved his government ...
Afterward, the opposition within Iran meticulously tried to portray the Shah as a "foreign agent" who had sided with foreign powers against Iran's interest,
which was, in fact not true ... 'It is often forgotten that the 1953 coup would have been impossible without widespread support for the Shah by the Iranian people.'"
In this way, the former minister focuses the arrow of condemnation on Mossadegh, while retaining a careful approach to the nationalization policy itself.
Ganji's argument can be interpreted to be that, while the nationalization could have succeeded if well implemented with a proper measure, what Mossadegh
did was of any help for Iran's interest. Moreover, Ganji advocates the Shah by asserting that there had been "a widespread support for the Shah by the Iranian
people", at the same time belittling the supporters of Mossadegh to be "the mobs" who evoked "national sentiment" which eventually "caused economy to
fall into disarray" and did good for the most hated of the Shah, the communist "Toudeh Party". This argument forms a sharp contrast with the opinions
of many Western historians who admit Mossadegh's predominant popularity at that time. (24) Moreover, it seems that the minister
deliberately omitted in his claim the fact that the CIA basically schemed and executed several coup attempts including the successful one in 1953.
More explicitly, in his memoir , Mohammad Reza Shah wrote a chapter the subtitle of which is "Mossadeq or Demagogy In Power". (25)
By using the expression "Demagogy", the former Shah clarified his antipathy against the policies of Mossadegh, denouncing him as a demagogical
figure who mislead the Iranian public and isolated the country from the western world. Also, the former Shah wrote in :
"Immediately, popular uprisings broke out in Teheran. They lasted three days, from July 20-23. I refused to give the troops the order to fire. The threat of civil war
obliged me to call back Mossadeq and to accept his conditions. No doubt he had finally realized that the country was heading towards total collapse. But it was too late..".
[Before, I] "had been no more than an hereditary sovereign, but now [after the coup of 1953] I had the right to claim that I had really been elected by the people.
In front of his judges, Mossadeq continued to play his part, he was at times pitiable, he fabricated stories and behaved extravagantly." (26)
From this excerpt, Mohammad Reza Shah accuses Mossadegh for leading the country "towards total collapse". Also, he justifies his admission of Mossadeq
as the prime minister by alleging that he had to prevent a possible civil war from breaking out. Finally, according to the former Shah, Mossadegh displayed his
talent as a "demagogue": looking "pitiable", "fabricating stories" and "behaving extravagantly". One interesting point is that the former Shah regards the
coup of 1953, which is often thought to be a regrettable moment in the Iranian history by many political groups, as the opportunity to attain the popular legitimacy
of his rule. Considering that most historians agree that the coup was manipulated by the Western powers such as CIA, the Shah's perspective on the coup of
1953 is highly disputable. All in all, it is not difficult to recognize that the Pahlavi has long been negative to admit Mossadegh's policy of nationalization,
since the time of the Pahlavi rule until today.
Then again, the Pahlavi is perhaps the only one political faction which emphasizes the failure of nationalization in terms of economy. In the process of
nationalization, the talk between the British and the Mossadegh administration was disrupted, and the British embargoed the international trade of Iranian oil.
As a result, Iranian national economy which largely depended on the oil export faltered, thus provoking high inflations and economic recessions. This aspect
of nationalization is mentioned in the first excerpt (footnote 23), which says "the continuing blockade caused the country's economy to fall into disarray, [but]
by offering reasonable compensation, he could have reduced foreign opposition." This criticism seems to be often dismissed in case of other political groups
such as the National Front and the current Iranian government as well as the public which tends to glorify Mossadegh's nationalization policy.
III.3 Perspective of the Current Iranian Government
The current government of the Islamic Republic of Iran severely criticizes the Shah, especially regarding how the Shah's government managed, after the coup
of 1953 and the fall of Mossadegh, to satisfy the greed of foreign powers by allowing foreign consortium to dominate Iranian petroleum industry. The Islamic
Propaganda Organization (IPO), established in 1981 as a public non-governmental organization according to the order of Ayatollah Khomeini, states as follows:
"Iran practically came under American domination with the signing of the oil consortium contract in 1954 and the commitments made thereafter.
No doubt such a policy did not conform with Iran's interests. Iran utilized its oil income to strengthen and support the colonial and monopolistic states.
Iran also resorted to the purchase of arms so that these countries' armament factories may continue to function and unemployment may not remain a problem for them"
According to this excerpt, the IPO view that the failure of nationalization led to the exploitation of the interested foreign powers. Perhaps, this means that the
IPO regrets the fall of the Mossadegh administration, thus justifying and indirectly advocating the National Front's initiative and causes for the nationalization
of petroleum industry.
The possibility of this affirmative recognition by the Islamic republic becomes more explicit when it comes to the fact that Khomeini supported Mossadegh
during the time of nationalization. An article of the Time magazine (July 1979) states as follows:
"When Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh came to power as Iran's Premier in 1951, Khomeini welcomed his anticolonialism and his opposition to the Shah, though he
considered Mossadegh too secular. Khomeini had much more sympathy for the Ayatullah Abolqasem Kashani, who was then Mossadegh's partner. Kashani later split
with him and may even have cooperated with the CIA-backed coup that toppled Mossadegh's government in August 1953 and enabled the Shah to return to his throne.
Khomeini still identifies himself with Kashani, whose memory is reviled by Iranian nationalists because of his alleged betrayal of Mossadegh." (28)
This article provides a firm proof that Khomeini primarily sympathized with the idea of nationalization as means of regaining rights of the Iranian people
and blocking the influences of the "heathen, decadent" countries in the West.
It is true that Khomeini was basically at the side of Islam fundamentalism to give a constant support to Kashani and to be concerned with Mossadegh's
secularism. However, the following two excerpts clearly shows that, at least with the matter of nationalization of petroleum industry, the Islamic republic
maintained the constant affirmation. The first excerpt is from a booklet published by the IPO, and it states as follows:
"They worked for the establishment of a national or people¢®?s government. Most of these were those who were either followers of Musaddiq [Mossadegh], his
friends or colleagues. For long the press, loyal to the government, made propaganda about and publicized the faces of these persons. Their views and opinion were
discussed and their severely critical articles were published." (29)
It is important that Mossadegh is credited to have worked for the establishment of a "national or people's" government. Considering that the Shah is
accused of being a "foreign agent", using the term "national" or "people" in order to describe the nature of Mossadegh's administration can be seen
an exaltation. In this excerpt, the term "propaganda" does not seem to be in a negative usage; the name of the author and publisher itself,
"Islamic Propaganda Organization", contains this word.
Finally, the second excerpt is from the preamble of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, an eminent evidence of the current Islamic government's
"After... the anti-colonialist movement centered on the nationalization of the oil industry, the Muslim people of Iran learned from this costly experience that the
obvious and fundamental reason for the failure of those movements was their lack of an ideological basis." (30)
Although it somewhat criticizes the "lack of an ideological basis", this phrase is a justification for the current government's fundamentalist policies rather
than a censure on the nationalization policy. Moreover, the Constitution describes the nationalization of petroleum industry to be "anti-colonialist".
This certainly means that the current Iranian government officially and indisputably recognized its sympathy with the nationalization of petroleum industry in 1951-1953.
III.4 Contemporary Reception by the Public
Many historical records indicate that, at the time of nationalizing petroleum industry, the Iranian people were the solid basis of the government led by
Mossadegh and the National Front. Even the proponents of the Pahlavi, perhaps the most critical of Mossadegh's policy (See III.2.), recognize the
existence of widespread public approval for his government, although they call Mossadegh's supporters a "mob" with "national sentiment".(See III.2.)
The high rate of public approval can be better explained by the results of the Majlis elections in 1948 and 1952; the National Front won 100 seats out of
170 in 1948, and then 97 out of 170 in 1952. (31)This was the reason why the State Department of the United States first feared the cooperation for the British
attempt to overthrow Mossadegh in 1951; Assistant Secretary of State George McGhee said that urging the Shah to dismiss Mossadegh would be
"to set himself against his Government, the Iranian Parliament, and the Iranian public opinion." (32)
Since then, the temporary achievement of the Mossadegh administration has been remembered to be one of the most significants event in which the
people's will to independence and economic self-reliance. Perhaps, the affirmative attitude of the current Iranian government has contributed to the
positive public recognition of Mossadegh. However, the affirmative recognition of Mossadegh's plan seems to have been widespread even among
the intellectuals, most of whom are less affected by the propaganda of the current regime. For example, Marjane Satrapi witnesses in her graphic
autobiography a conversation between two intellectuals, which took place probably in 1991 around the Gulf War.
"My new spheres of interest brought me into contact with new people, often much older than me. Among them, a certain Dr. M, at whose house all the
intellectuals gathered on the first Monday of every month.
"In a country like ours, with as many resources as we have, it's not right that 70 percent of the population should live below the poverty line!"
"If Mossadegh had been able to see out his project of reform, Iran wouldn't be finding itself in this situation today!"
"It's the English and the Americans' fault. They're the ones who deposed him by organizing the coup d'etat in 1953 !"
"Maybe, but what did we do to stop them ? Outsiders would never have been able to achieve their ends without certain Iranian traitors! If we want to reconstruct this
country, we have to begin by admitting our misdeeds !"" (33)
This record of conversation indicates that the Iranian intellectuals also profoundly regret the failure of the nationalization, and that they attribute
the failure not to the weaknesses of Mossadegh but to "certain Iranian traitors", which probably means those who contributed to the coup of 1953.
Therefore, both the current government and the intellectual society share the positive viewpoint toward Mossadegh's attempt to nationalize
petroleum industry, and this must have decisively influenced the opinion of the general public in Iran.
IV. The Islamic Revolution, 1979
IV.1 Perspective of the Current Iranian Government
Of course, the current government of the Islamic Republic of Iran would call itself the heir of the Islamic revolution, for the legitimacy of the republic
lies in the struggle against the Shah regime and the people's approval of Khomeini and of the constitution of 1979 in the course of revolution.
Since the revolution was primarily the protest against the Shah regime, the propaganda of the Islamic republic, which seeks its foundation in the
revolution, is in the first place directed to vindicating the illegitimacy of the reign of Pahlavi Shahs. The legitimacy of the Majlis, the legislative
parliament, is also questioned. Khomeini, in his speech, said as follows:
"Those who are of my age group have seen that the Constituent Assembly [of 1926] was formed under the threat of bayonets and the people had no hand in this
Majlis. The members of the Majlis were forced to vote for and accept Rida Shah as the King. Thus this monarchy was invalid from the very beginning ...
Thus the rule of Muhammad Rida was unlawful, firstly because his father's rule was illegal. So was the Majlis illegal, because it was
constituted by use of force ...
The Parliament, which is constituted without the knowledge and approval of the people is unlawful. Those ones who are sitting in the Lower House and the
Senate and drawing salaries from public exchequer, they did not have the right to do so and are answerable to it ... We declare that the government which today
introduces itself to be a lawful government, even does not consider itself as legal." (34)
Beside the problem regarding the legitimacy, the current Iranian government also attempts to denounce the Shah regime by calling the Pahlavi Shahs
to be "agents of the foreign interests". The current government even denies the validity of modern reforms adopted under Mohammad Reza Shah,
which is generally called "the White Revolution"; all of the Shah's policies are connected to the pursuit of "the imperial interests" which are thought
to be incompatible with "the interest of the Iranian nation." With these claims, the revolution gains the impeccable justifiability from the viewpoint of
the current government. The following excerpts are respectively quoted from the booklet published by the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in
Manila and another one published by the IPO.
"Iran, regined over thousand years by despotic monarchical systems, had been more so hindered in progress and development during the last hundred years
especially during the Pahlavi dynastic rule, where the permeation and domination of aliens in the most sensitive and administrative sectors of the government
and country had practically led it to lose its independent character." (35)
"However, a dictatorial regime is to be adorned from outside and the outer world as well as the people inside ... This was done by implementing
some superficial reforms and through misleading demagogical propagandas ... It [the United States] realized that it was the workers
and the farmers who posed the gravest danger to the imperialist interests ... It [the United States] thought this threat could be minimised
by land reforms and by granting shares to the workers ... The US managed [the White] revolution aimed against the interests of the nation."
Nevertheless, it is observed that one of the generally criticized aspects of the Pahlavi regime is pointed out neither by the booklet published by the
embassy nor the other one by the IPO; the human rights situation does not appear to be the major flaw of the Pahlavi rule. That is, while the
current Iranian government is concentrating its effort on criticizing the Pahlavi's "dependence on the foreign powers", it almost ignores how the
political prisoners were illegally imprisoned, tortured, or even slain by the regime, notably by the SAVAK. It is true that the Pahlavi regime is
defined to be a "despotic monarchy", but it does not necessarily mean that the current government actually wants to criticize human rights
situation under the Pahlavi rule; unlike the historical record of other perspectives, both booklets mentioned above hardly contain the word
"SAVAK", the infamous agency which carried out inhumanity which had been severely condemned by the Western world. The reason for this
seemingly "deliberate" omission might be the extremely poor reputation of the current government regarding human rights situation in Iran;
perhaps, the current Iranian government is aware of that it cannot justify itself in regard of human rights.
Another distinctive point is observed from that the current Iranian government defines the characteristic of the Islamic revolution as primarily
spiritual and religious rather than secular and popular, thus displaying disparity with other perspectives which regard the popular struggle
against inhumanity and oppression to be the most important cause of the revolution. In the booklet published by the embassy, it is states as
follows in the chapter "The Various Dimensions of an Islamic Revolution".
"In our view, this Revolution has been Islamic, but the intention of being Islamic must be clarified ... contrary to what westerners think of religion,
at least to us, it is clear that Islam is not mere spirituality.
The Revolution ..., while being Islamic and religious, was also a political one, and at the same time that it was spiritual and political, it was also an economic
and material Revolution. That is, freedom, justice, lack of social discrimination and class fissure are parts of Islamic teachings. The success of our movement
is that not only did it lean on spirituality, but with the Islamification of the contents of the other two factors, material and political, it absorbed them." (37)
By defining the revolution in this way, the revolution becomes "Islamic", in which the final aim for which the Iranian people struggles becomes
"Islamic" values. It is important to notice that, although this revolution is widely known as "the Islamic revolution", it could have not been
"Islamic" if Khomeini and his followers had not played a central role in the revolution and finally succeeded in consolidating their power; if the
leader of the revolution had not been Khomeini, this Iranian revolution could have been embellished by another adjectives such as "Democratic",
"Popular" or "National", because the participants of the revolution included political groups from the entire range of political spectrum, including
the leftist, liberalist and nationalist as well as Islamic fundamentalist. (38)
However, shortly after the Shah had been removed from Iran, Khomeini said, "do not use this term, "democratic. That is the Western style," (39)
initiating the schism among his supporters. Although it is not sure when exactly the revolution began to be called "Islamic", not everyone might
have agreed with the idea that all participants of revolution aimed nor for the government in the westernized form of democracy but for the Islamic
government. Actually, there is an evidence that the revolution had not always been Islamic since the beginning; Khomeini in 1978 said in Paris,
"I don't want to be the leader of the Islamic Republic; I don't want to have the government or the power in my hands. I only guide the people in
selecting the system." (40) This means that the name-calling of this revolution to be "Islamic" is not what was intended by the general public in the
beginning, but by Khomeini's government established after the revolution.
From this point of view, "the Revolution's Leadership" is defined to be the sole and supreme leader. It is the simple logic that, since the revolution turned out to be
"Islamic", the leadership should be someone who can best lead the nation into the "Islamic" way, which is Khomeini. The following excerpt best expresses this argument.
"Let us see how it can be proven that this Revolution has been an Islamic one and has not had a different nature¡¦ In this revolution, the literates, illiterates, students, workers,
farmers, merchants, all participated. But among all these different people, only one was automatically chosen as leader, a leader who was accepted by
all groups. But why ?
The answer to this question takes us to a basic question which is under consideration in the philosophy of history, and that is, does history make a personality or is it vice versa? ...
Briefly, we know that there is a mutual correlation between the two, that is, between the movement[the Islamic revolution] and the leader [Khomeini] ... Imam Khomeini was
the indisputable and unopposed leader of this movement, for besides possessing all these qualities [that the leader should have] ..." (41)
In this way, the current Iranian government desires to prove the legitimacy of its own by claiming that Khomeini elevated to power "indisputably" and
"automatically", according to "the philosophy of history" in which it is believed that "a mutual correlation between history and a personality" defines
the characteristics of a certain movement. From this stance of the current Iranian government, it is possible to detect a sophisticated attempt to rather
disappreciate the significance of the other participant groups and to prevent other political parties from questioning the legitimacy of the current Iranian government.
Finally, the current Iranian government, which strictly clings to the doctrines of Islam and thus oppressing other political opinions within Iran, justifies
its repressive policy by emphasizing the importance of the national unity based on the common devotion to the teachings of Islam. In the eyes of the
fundamentalists, all secular ideas encompassing from left to right are against Islam, since Islam already provides its own definition of freedom, justice and
other political values. (42) Based on this belief, Khomeini said in his speech as follows:
"Unity among religious minorities and Muslims, unity among the ulama and the politicians and unity among all sections of the people is the secret behind the victory
[of the revolution] ¢®¨£ all should realize this. This should not be given up. Allah forbids, does not permit the evil-doers to create differences among you." (43)
In this excerpt, it is observed that Khomeini never had intention to tolerate differences in every field of society, definitely including politics and religion.
He even prohibited differences in the name of god. Based on such thought, the current Iranian government has persisted on the absolute authority of
the leadership and has justified persecution on various minority groups: for example, the Tudeh Party and the National Front, Muslim ramifications other
than the Shi'ite, or homosexuals and feminists.
Regarding the aftermath of the war, the current Iranian government denies the contention of its opposition parties that the Iran-Iraq war and the economic
failure were the consequences of the establishment of the Islamic republic. Instead, it views that the Iran-Iraq war was "imposed" by the "oppressive powers";
this perspective contradicts with the opposition's argument that the new regime took advantage of the war by using it as the opportunity to consolidate its
power base. In the chapter "The War Imposed on Iran", it is written as follows:
"The imposition of the war against the Islamic Republic of Iran was the oppressive powers' practical response to this threat [to the interests of the big oppressors]....
And Iraq, in the honourable role of the executive agent of imperialism, was selected and assigned the job." (44)
In this way, the continuity of the perspective of the current Iranian government is persisted in the entire course of the Islamic revolution: from the question
of the Pahlavi's legitimacy to the characteristic of the Iran-Iraq war as the consequence of the Islamic revolution.
IV.2 Perspective of the Pahlavi
Now in exile in the United States, the central figures in the former Pahlavi regime appear to be highly critical of the revolution. They seem to take a careful
approach to the revolution itself while severely criticizing the current regime in Iran. It is notable that the former Crown Prince of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, is
leading human rights movement in opposition to the current regime in Iran; he calls for the recovery of a secular government and the adoption of the
western form of democracy. (45) Moreover, the official perspective of the former Shah's supporters mainly appears in the addresses
of the former Crown Prince and the former Empress of Iran (Shahbanou), along with the memoir of the former minister to the Shah.
The criticism against the Islamic revolution begins from justifying the Pahlavi rule. It seems that the question of legitimacy issued by the current Iranian
government is hardly dealt with by the supporters of the Pahlavi, while they attempt to praise the former Shah's policy of modernizing Iran and keeping a
good relationship with the West, especially referring to the White revolution. The following excerpts are respectively from Ganji, the former minister of
education, and the former Empress.
"An Iranian economist writes: "Iran's development during the two decades before the revolution 'if not exactly the 'economic miracle' that the Shah's supporters like to
call it 'was undoubtedly one of the world's clearest success stories in the second half of the twentieth century." (46)
"During the Pahlavi era, we were a country moving toward modernity, toward progress, and we lived in peace and had good relations with our neighbors. In those
days, we were closer to the West because our interest was to be allied with democratic countries." (47)
In regard of human rights situation, which is the most criticized aspect of the Pahlavi rule, the supporters of the Pahlavi make effort to vindicate that the
number of the cases of infringement on human rights of the political prisoners was far less than what is "propagated" by the opponents of the Pahlavi
regime. Moreover, they especially emphasize that women enjoyed equality under the Pahlavi rule, which shows a sharp contrast with the current situation
in Iran. The following excerpt is from the former minister Ganji:
" ... in 1977, the Shah invited the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit Iranian prisons on a regular basis and asked Amnesty International
and the International Commission of Jurists to suggest ways of improving the human rights situation in Iran... The Shah gave orders from the use of torture to be
stopped in prisons after the ICRC's first negative report was submitted to him. The second and third reports underlined the positive changes. A year before the
revolution, imprisoned students were either released or allowed to continue their studies..." (48)
In this excerpt, the former minister to the Shah advocates his sovereign, suggesting that Iran was under the surveillance of some international
organizations and, as a result, the Shah ceased to capture or torture political prisoners. This advocation might be true, but it is not enough for the
Shah to be redeemed of his responsibility on human right situation before 1977; the terrible human rights situation in the Pahlavi Iran had been
chronic after Mohammad Reza Shah recovered his power after the coup in 1953. In regard of this, the former Empress stated as follows:
"I don't say there weren't any problems in our country, but my husband[the Shah] always said that he wanted his son to reign differently than he did. There
was so much propaganda against the Shah... People might ask why the revolution happened. ...Before the revolution, we had problems. We were a developing
country. We needed time. We had our shortcomings; every country has some problems, but we didn't need such a horrible revolution." (49)
In this excerpt, the Empress claims that the breach on human rights was not the actual intention of the Shah himself, but perhaps rather the inevitable
choice for the country. Furthermore, she describes the revolution a "horrible" consequence of the regime's "shortcomings" which might have happened
in "every country". From this claim, it is deduced that the Pahlavi does not admit the human rights issue was the justifiable cause of the revolution.
In this way, the Pahlavi tries to attribute the revolution to the propagandas of the "radical Shi'ite clergy" such as Khomeini, rather than to the will of the
furious Iranian people.
Even more significantly, according to Ganji, the major factors of the success of the Islamic revolution are as follows:
"... While SAVAK was busy with the students and the intellectuals [against the regime], the revolutionary Arkonds were busy changing the schoolbooks'
contents, expanding Islamic schools, and infiltrating the ranks of dissatisfied teachers, officers, soldiers, workers, and those holding sensitive
positions in the government, in industry, and among the civil servants and the merchants." (50)
"... The daily BBC Persian-language program introduced him to the Iranian people as a sincere believer in freedom, justice, democracy, human rights, and a social
democrat... During this period, ...the BBC Persian program was more or less the sole source of information available throughout the country." (51)
"...before the revolution, Professor Richard Cottan claimed that the Ayatollah's statements "are strongly in favor of land reform, welfare reform and an improved
role for women in society... The thrust of religious opposition [to the Shah] is centrist and reformist." ...the poor have constantly become poorer, ...A woman was for
the first time in more than 100 years stoned to death... Tortures of all sorts are taking place routinely in the prisons... Khomeini had skillfully hidden his real intentions
[before he rose to power]." (52)
In this excerpt, Ganji asserts that the main cause of the revolution is the propagandas of the revolutionary group which had great influence on the
various fields of the society, not the rage or voluntary resistance of the Iranian people. He even claims that the revolutionary group basically monopolized
the mass media available in Iran, through which Khomeini lied to the Iranian people. Thus, the Pahlavi views the revolution as the "mistake" of those who
are "misinformed" by the "hysteric" supporters of the revolution; the former Empress stated as follows:
"...Today, some of those who were against the Shah have had the courage to come out and say, "We made a mistake." I have even heard some of the Communist
intellectuals say, "We were wrong to create this anti-Shah hysteria. We should have supported the positive things he did, and just criticized the negative." (53)
Not only that, Ganji argues that the "Black Friday", which is known to be a tragic incident in which the protesting civilians were massacred by the armed forces of the Shah,
was actually manipulated or "organized" by the clergy; he says that the Shah's administration had no intention to impose violence or trigger a terrible bloodshed on 7 September 1978.
" The prime minister told me that all present had decided on the immediate introduction of martial law in most cities, but the question they
were discussing was when to announce it to the people.. It was decided that it should be done the next morning at 6:00 A.M. A huge
demostration took place around Jaleh Square toward the east of Tehran at around 5:30 A.M. to protest the establishment of the martial law,
the martial law that still remained undeclared! Official figures admitted to 168 casualties; the organizers claimed 2,000 to 3,000.
...Numerous documents have revealed in the aftermath of that day that the clerics had arranged for sharpshooters with automatic machine guns to occupy strategic places
around the square. They needed open confrontation and more blood to be shed. ..Earlier in the upheavals, when no dead bodies were found, the blood of a freshly killed
sheep would be used to soak a white shirt and brandished as if it were a martyr's relic." (54)
If this excerpt were true, the Shah would be acquitted of the massacre in the Black Friday, and the responsibility of the massacre would be of the clergy
who now comprise the leadership of the current Iranian government. In this way, from the perspective of the Pahlavi, the revolution is nothing more
than a havoc caused by the wrongly inspired sentiment against the Shah. Regarding this, the former Crown prince vindicated the Shah's innocence as follows:
"The extent of victims was definitely much more limited than what you indicated... [the interviewer said that thousands of protesters had been killed in the streets] My father
voluntarily left the country to avoid bloodshed. He ordered the Army not to engage in skirmishes with the population. The transition happened rather peacefully." (55)
Finally, the Pahlavi also criticizes the revolution by asserting that, had the Pahlavi regime survived to improve secular democracy, the major tragic events
such as the Iran-Iraq war and the question of human rights in Today's Iran could have been prevented. The Pahlavi also asserts that the only way to save
Today's Iran from the current "un-Iranian theocratic" regime is not a reform but another revolution for secular democracy. Regarding this, the Former
Empress and the Former Crown Prince claim as follows:
"In my opinion, if Iran had stayed the way it was... There wouldn't be this problem [of war] in Afghanistan, nor would there have been in the Iran-Iraq War. Iraq would
never have dared to even send a plane over our country... This all happened after the Iranian revolution, which is very sad." (56)
"Iranians know full well that freedom has no meaning within the framework of a theocracy. Religious democracy is merely a mask meant to hide the dead-end faced by
the clerical regime." (57)
Moreover, Ganji contends that the Iran-Iraqi war was utilized by the Islamic government for persecuting its opposition parties such as the Tudeh party and
even some clerics who contributed to the revolution but somewhat disaccorded with the new leadership. Ganji says:
"The mullahs needed time to organize and consolidate their power and influence... Within two years following the revolution [which coincides with the first phase of the
Iran-Iraq war], the liberal nationalists were bereft of any positions of influence... The extremest leftist groups exerted the biggest exerted the biggest efforts for the success of
the Islamic revolution, and they ended up its biggest victims. Tens of thousands of leftist revolutionaries were liquidated by the ruling mullahs... the cream of the Islamic
revolutionaries, including many top clerics, met violent deaths." (58)
In this way, Ganji describes that the revolution "devoured its own children" (59), arguing that the current Iranian government
eventually betrayed its own initiative, and the revolution itself was a tragedy in the modern history of Iran. Anyway, the Pahlavi's perspective on the
Islamic revolution can be abridged into a single statement: "In fact, in my opinion, it was that misunderstanding of ingenious, clever and cunning
people of Iran that brought his[the Shah's] downfall." (60)
IV.3 Perspectives of the Other Political Groups; Contemporary Reception by the Public
The Iranian people and some political groups such as the National Front, the Tudeh party and the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) retain a perspective
in which the criticism on the Pahlavi regime and that on the current Iranian government are combined, while the popular struggle against the Pahlavi regime
is praised to be the call of freedom and justice. The following excerpts are respectively from the Charter of the National Front:
"The liberation struggles of the Iranian people to establish democracy in our country had begun since the constitutional movement (1905) and after 70 years of struggles
was able to overthrow the dictatorial monarchical system in 1979.... The glorious revolution in February 1979 instead of establishing and expanding of democracy
resulted in the establishment of dictatorship and reaction by the Islamic Republic regime, which imposed horrendous tyranny and economic backwardness on the Iranian people."
In this excerpt, the Islamic revolution is referred to "the glorious revolution", while the Pahlavi regime is depicted to be "the dictatorial monarchy" and the
current Iranian government the "horrendous tyranny". Through these expressions, it is eminently revealed that the National Front praises the revolution itself,
the Iranian people's struggle against the Pahlavi regime. The National Front also regrets that the consequence of the revolution, which should have been
"establishing and expanding of democracy", turned out to be "the Islamic Republic regime". From this perspective, the current Iranian government cannot be
the legitimate successor of the revolution; instead, the revolution was betrayed by Khomeini and some fundamentalist clerics.
Moreover, deducing from the history of the Tudeh party and PMOI. Being a communist party, it is likely that other leftist parties have a common historical
perspective on the revolution. The Tudeh party had been persecuted by the Pahlavi regime, and as a result, it actively participated in the revolution. (62)
However, along with other leftist parties, the Tudeh party turned out to be a scapegoat of the revolution, sacrificed by Khomeini's revolutionary leadership.
The history of PMOI resembles that of the Tudeh party; PMOI's ideology is the mixture of Marxism, nationalism and Islam, and thus it opposed the rule of
the Pahlavi and the intervention of the imperialist interests to be persecuted. (63) It is now carrying out an armed struggle against the
current Iranian regime, calling for full democracy including the strong principles for women's rights. (64)
Considering all these factors, which can also be discovered from the example of the National Front, it would not be a hasty presumption that these political parties,
suppressed by both the former and current regimes, share the similar viewpoint on the Islamic revolution.
Finally, the author of her graphic memoir , Marjane Satrapi, suggests a strong evidence that the majority of middle class citizens opposed both
the Pahlavi and the current Iranian regime and were sympathetic to the demonstrations and protests throughout the Islamic revolution. In the book, Satrapi's
parents are depicted to be wealthy, aware of the history of their own country, and to have some understanding about politics. Her parents, denying the
legitimacy of the Shah (65) and opposing the Pahlavi regime, participated in demonstrations. (66)
More specifically, Satrapi accuses the Pahlavi of having tortured and murdered many political prisoners, including Ahmadi who was tortured and then dismembered
to death. (67) Satrapi also witnesses that, when the Shah left the country, "the country had the biggest celebration of its entire history."
(68) However, Satrapi and her parents also oppose to the newly established Islamic republic; Satrapi's father
says, "It's incredible. The revolution was a leftist revolution and the republic wants to be called Islamic.", adding that "The elections were faked
and they believe the result: 99.99%! As for me, I don't know a single person who voted for the Islamic republic." (69)
It is true that it would be a hasty generalization to allege that Satrapi's memoir is a representative source which reflects the opinion of the entire
Iranian public. Nevertheless, at least, the perspective of Satrapi and her parents would not be very much different from other middle class Iranians, who are
accustomed to liberal thoughts imported from the West and regard Islamic fundamentalist to be fettering their freedom and rights.
There are two major perspectives on the modern history of Iran, which conflict with each other: the perspective of the current Iranian government, and that of
the Pahlavi. On the other hand, the perspectives of various political parties (usually leftist) also exist, which are very much similar to the opinion of the Iranian
public in many cases.
Firstly, there seems to be no remarkable dispute over the significance of the Constitutional revolution of 1906, because every political group shares an affirmative
viewpoint on the consequences of the Constitutional revolution, which include the advent of modern democracy followed by the abolishment of absolute
monarchy. However, unlike the nationalization of petroleum industry and the Islamic revolution, the Iranian public seems not to care less about the Constitutional
Revolution, mainly because, at the time of the revolution, the concepts newly introduced from the West were too alien to the majority of the Iranian people who
did not involve themselves in the establishment of the constitution and the civil war between the Shah and the Constitutionalists.
In case of the Prime Minister Mossadegh's attempt to nationalize petroleum industry, the current Iranian government, as well as many other political groups
and the Iranian public, retains a positive view, while the Pahlavi views it a demagogic act which led to the diplomatic and economic failure. Many political parties,
especially the National Front of which leader was Mossadegh, appreciate that the nationalization of petroleum industry had a cause for independence from the
interests of some Western countries such as Britain and the United States, although the current Iranian government criticizes Mossadegh for being too much
secular. The Pahlavi focuses on the failure caused by the diplomatic and economic isolation, and regards the coup of 1953 to be the sincere will of the Iranian
people to admit the Pahlavi Shah.
Finally, the Islamic revolution is the most disputed event of the Iranian history, in which the perspectives of the current Iranian government, the Pahlavi, and
the other political groups including the public all show a highly diffused spectrum. The current Iranian government, which reckons itself the legitimate successor
of the Islamic revolution, severely condemns the despotism of the Pahlavi regime as the main cause of the revolution and embraces both the popular struggle
against the Pahlavi regime and the predominance of the Islamic fundamentalism among the various parties which led the revolution. On the contrary, although
it admits shortcoming it made during the reign, the Pahlavi views that the revolution was the consequence of the malicious propaganda of the radical clergy
which resulted in the Iranian people's misunderstanding. In this way, the Pahlavi criticizes the Islamic revolution to be a disastrous mistake which brought the
theocratic regime which suppresses freedom and degenerates the country. On the other hand, many political entities and the Iranian public reproach both the
Pahlavi and the current Iranian government, while exalting the popular demonstrations and protests against the dictatorial Pahlavi regime in the course of the revolution.
(1) Ayatollah Khomeini's political ideology is best explained in his work, ,
of which title is translated into "Islamic Government" in English.
(2) For example, in the booklet of the IPO, it says: "However, a dictatorial regime
is to be adorned from outside and the outer world as well as the people inside¡¦" In this statement, the Pahlavi regime is described dictatorial.
Thus, the term "anti-despotic" is more likely to mean a better appreciation for the constitution of 1906.
(3) Botschaft der islamichen Republik Iran, Bern, p. 97,>
(5) Gheissari, p. 26
(6) Hari, p. 237
(7) In his column "Theocracy to Democracy" published by ,
Reza Pahlavi wrote: "Our collective salvation from this nightmare lies in democracy and an absolute non-negotiable
commitment to human
rights for every single Iranian... For the future of Iran, I have always advocated the extablishment of a secular democracy, where there is a
clear separation of mosque from state."
(8) R. Pahlavi, http://www.rezapahlavi.org/messages/?english&id=69
(9) R. Pahlavi, p. 11
(10) Technically, the Constitution of 1906 survived through the Pahlavi dynasty until the fall
of Mossadegh in 1953. However, in December 1926, Reza Pahlavi forced the Majlis to declare him a Shah and backed his initial ideal for a republic,
only to consolidate his autocracy. Therefore, the power of Majlis, obtained as a consequence of struggle against the Qajar, is conjectured to have
been lessened under the new Shah's reign, which is actually unconstitutional.
(11) Hone and Dickinson wrote:
"By January the power of the Shah had become merely nominal.
His [the Shah's] treasury was empty; his army and his administration were unpaid, and had to live by plunder."
(12) Article : Reza Shah, from Wikipedia
(13) Hone and Dickinson, pp. 27, 85, 87
(14) The motto of the National Front is "Our Path is the Mossadegh Path!", which shows their strong
inclination towards Mossadegh's achievement.
(15) About NF, from NF, US Branch
(16) Article : Tudeh Party of Iran, from Wikipedia
(17) Elm, p.340
(18) ibid, p.338
(19) Article : Tudeh Party of Iran, from Wikipedia
(20) Elm, p.306
(21) ibid., p.82
(22) Article : Mohammad Mossadegh, from Wikipedia
(23) Ganji, xvi, xvii
(24) "A referendum to dissolve parliament and give the prime minister power to make law
was submitted to voters, and it passed with 99 percent approval, 2,043,300 votes to 1300 votes against" -
quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat#cite_note-49
(25) Pahlavi, p.48
(26) ibid., pp.55, 57
(27) Islamic Propaganda Organization, Tehran
(28) Time Magazine
(29) Islamic Propaganda Organization, Tehran
(31) Wikipedia, Article "Iranian Legislative Election, 1948";
"Iranian Legislative Election, 1952"
(32) Elm, p. 224
(33) Satrapi, p. 327
(34) Islamic Propaganda Organization, Tehran
(35) Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, p.125
(36) Islamic Propaganda Organization, Tehran
(37) Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, p. 10
(38) For example, the National Democratic Front and the Muslim People's Republican Party
was non-Khomeini groups, while the Islamic Republican Party was pro-Khomeini.
Article : Islamic Revolution, from Wikipedia
(40) Interview with an Austrian TV reporter, Paris, November 16, 1978
(41) Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, pp. 15-16
(42) In , for example, M. Satrapi witnesses that Iranian schools teach students that
the veil is the symbol of women's freedom, since it prevents women from unintentionally seducing men.
(43) Islamic Propaganda Organization, Tehran,
Khomeini's speech on the arrival to Iran
(44) Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, p. 40
(45) Article : Reza Pahlavi, from Wikipedia
(46) Ganji, xix
(47) The Former Empress Farah Pahlavi
(48) Ganji, pp. 1-2
(49) The Former Empress Farah Pahlavi
(50) Ganji, p. 5
(51) ibid. p. 36
(52) ibid. pp. 75, 79, 93
(53) The Former Empress Farah Pahlavi
(54) Ganji, p. 14
(56) The Former Empress Farah Pahlavi
(57) R. Pahlavi, Second Satellite Broadcast Into Iran, 16/03/2001
(58) Ganji, pp. 108-109
(59) ibid. p. 108, the title of a lesser chapter
(60) ibid. xxvii
(61) About NF, from NF, US Branch
(62) In (p. 62), Anoosh, a communist uncle of Marjane, argued that the revolution
would eventually be the proletarian revolution to establish a worker's state; such expectation could have been shared by the Tudeh party in the
course of the revolution. At least, the Tudeh party could have expected its liberation from the suppression of the Pahlavi by overthrowing the regime.
(63) Article " People's Mujahedeen of Iran, from Wikipedia
(65) Satrapi, pp.19-21
(66) ibid., p.18
(67) ibid. pp.51-52
(68) ibid, p.42
(69) ibid. p.62
Note: websites quoted below were visited in May and June, 2010.
1. WHKMLA :
History of Iran, http://www.zum.de/whkmla/region/centrasia/xiran.html
2. Botschaft der islamischen Republik Iran (Bern), , 1986
(Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran (in Bern), , 1986)
3. Islamic Propaganda Organization in Tehran, , Shemshad, 1991
4. Press and Information Office (Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Manila, Philippines),
5. M. Ganji, ,
NY : Praeger 2002
6. R. Pahlavi, , Regnery., 2002
7. M. R. Pahlavi, , 1980
8. M. Satrapi, (English), Pantheon Books (in the United States), 2004
9. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (
unofficial English translation), http://www.servat.unibe.ch/law/icl/ir00000_.html
10. RP Secretariat,
"Covenant with the Iranian People", January 21, 2003 http://www.rezapahlavi.org/messages/?english&id=69
11. RP Secretariat,
"Reza Pahlavi's Second Satellite Message to Iran", March 16, 2001 http://www.rezapahlavi.org/messages/?english&id=62
12. J. Guo (Newsweek),
"Iran's Royal Opposition" (the interview with the former Crown Prince of Iran), 2010, www.newsweek.com/id/233418
13. B. Colacello, L. Heller (Avenue Magazine),
"Cry Her Beloved Country" (the interview with the former Empress of Iran), September 2009
14. R. Pahlavi, , The Huffington Post, April 26, 2010
15. J. M. Hone and P. L. Dickinson, , London: T. Fisher Unwin, Dublin: Maunsel & Co., Limited, 1910
16. The Official Website of the National Front, US Branch
17. M. Elm, ,
Syracuse University Press, 1992
18. A. Gheissari, , the University of Texas Press, 1998
19. A. Hari, , 1977
20. J. Matini,
(including Khomeini's interview with an Austrian
TV reporter, Paris, November 16, 1978), August 5, 2003 http://www.iranian.com/Opinion/2003/August/Khomeini/
Time Magazine (reporter unknown),
"IRAN: The Unknown Ayatullah", July 16, 1979
22. Wikipedia English Edition
: Article "Reza Shah" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rez%C4%81_Sh%C4%81h
23. Wikipedia English Edition
: Article "Tudeh Party of Iran" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudeh_Party_of_Iran
24. Wikipedia English Edition
: Article "Mohammad Mossadegh" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Mossadegh
25. Wikipedia English Edition
: Article "Iranian Legislative Election, 1948" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_legislative_election,_1948
26. Wikipedia English Edition
: Article "Iranian Legislative Election, 1952" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_legislative_election,_1952
27. Wikipedia English Edition
: Article "People's Mujahedin of Iran" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Mujahedin_of_Iran
28. Wikipedia English Edition
: Article "Islamic Revolution" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Revolution
29. Wikipedia English Edition
: Article "1953 Iranian coup d'etat" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat
30. Wikipedia English Edition
: Article "Reza Pahlavi" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reza_Pahlavi
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