Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Review Of Islamic Revolution In Iran- Part 11 (one of many documents)

There are many different cases that US Embassy and American intelligence agencies have worked to gather intelligence about the mood in different sectors of society. This is apart from regular reports under so called "national intelligence estimate" which were reported to CIA headquarters at least once a year but sometimes 3 or 4 times, and possibly more, during the same year regarding a subject of interest. The following report in fact is part of "State Department" documents (one of many) but it would eventually end up in the hands of NSC (National Security Council) of United States for review and making related decisions on policy. The date on this report indicate the year 1971 but it is obvious that the related study has been conducted since much earlier. It is eerie to know while Iranian government considered itself an ally of the west and counted on their helpfulness to implement projects for advancement of the nation and while western government pretended to be friends of Iranians, secret agendas for "change" in Iran were being prepared through projects to manipulate Iranian people in steering them to a desired direction which would serve the interests of certain elements within western power structure. I will publish more documents from different intelligence agencies and government departments of USA later.


Sohrab Ferdows
April, 3rd/2014

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Review Of Islamic Revolution - Part 10

At this point, I have to refresh the minds of my readers of an event which also, has been mentioned in one of earlier parts of this writing.

During the days and weeks of revolutionary excitement and madness, one of the events which ignited the final quarrel between Islamic revolutionaries and government forces resulting in crumbling of Dr. Bakhtiar's government was audience of a group of Iranian Air force technicians with Khomeini in his residence to show solidarity with new leader. Many people believe that this event had been planned by Islamic revolutionaries and with some of their own supporters dressed in uniforms in order to break the spirit of army which was the sole component in keeping the country together in those days.

That event resulted in a clash between Royal Guards and air force technicians as Royal Guards were apparently looking to find those who participated in audience with Khomeini. Islamic revolutionaries and anarchists took advantage of the situation and rushed to the location of confrontation. Royal Guards found themselves face to face with armed civilians from one side and armed air force technicians from another side. This became the final battle between revolutionaries and government loyal forces resulting in many casualties from both sides before ending with fall of government. Many images are available from those days that clearly show the chaotic conditions that existed at that time.

Mr. Shafizadeh has spoken about how that event came to be and the story behind that which had started years earlier when two of Iranian air force technicians went missing in New York during their training period and never to be found again. Apparently, US government had searched for missing technicians without any result and their final report indicated that those two were probably fallen in Hudson River and their bodies were carried to the ocean but, months later, Mr. Shafizadeh met them in Libya during his training as interrogator and assassin. I will get back to this story later on.

My personal impression of seeing the picture of that event in which Iranian Air force technicians (or Homafar as they were called) were saluting Khomeini in a group fashion, was one of disbelief and amazement because Khomeini was no official figure and had no position in Iranian governing system structure. It was unbelievable as it was confusing to see air force personnel saluting a mullah who had "nothing" for the nation as he had expressed clearly in his own words while in the plane moving towards Iran.

A couple of months before that event, one day I was having a conversation with my next door neighbor who held a secret sensitive position in government security agency while being head of labor and employment office. In that conversation, he told me that Khomeini's intention was to replace Shah and all the talk about moral issues and corruption was just a cover. Considering the views that we Iranians had about people related to Iranian security agency in those days, I took that news with a grain of salt and considered that an exaggeration by my neighbor.

As a general view for my generation in those days, thinking that Shah would leave his position for any reason was unthinkable let alone replacing him with a mullah like Khomeini! In fact, I expressed exactly the same view to him and in return, he smiled and said: "just remember what I said to you"! The last time I saw him, was in the night before the day of revolution that he was packing his car's trunk to leave. He told me that he was going back to his hometown for a vacation to spend time with his wife and new born child who had left sometime earlier. We bid farewell and I never heard of him again.

As any Iranian ordinary person who had no part in the politics and other than reading some books and magazines, had no real significant information about politics, one should realize that, the scope and speed of events and background works in that regard, were much beyond comprehension of public which was mostly watching the unfolding events in confusion while awestruck! Except for selected few who were in negotiation with foreign agents to transfer the power, no one really knew what was going on and what was the outcome of those events. The sad part is that our political leaders were no different than general public in that sense and did not seem to be interested in anything other than seeing Shah leave!

Late Shah in his book "answer to history" (Persian version) quoting from Senator Masoudi who had referred to his conversation with one of high ranking American Embassy staffs, mentions that, three months prior to the revolution, Mr. Masoudi relayed to the late Shah that his American friend told him that a new "regime" would be governing Iran soon. Late Shah did not believe that such thing was possible. It is obvious that even though late Shah had justified suspicions about links between the events in those days and his western allies, he was not fully aware of the dept of the intrigues which were played against him from much earlier times.

The build up of dissatisfaction of western allies from the beginning of Shah's rule in Iran after second world war had intensified in greater rate after establishment of OPEC and entered an open confrontational stage in 1970's. The document that was presented in previous segment from board of NIE has clear indications of unhappiness regarding policies of Iranian government and the late Shah in particular. Such tone in reports from CIA and US state department about Iranian government and the Shah during 1960's and afterwards is not rare.

In Page 1 we read:

"During the past decade the Shah emerged as a self confident potentate, determined to assert his and Iran's prerogatives against all comers. In the economic field he will continue to press the consortium of Western oil companies vigorously for vast amounts of revenue to fund Iran's economic advance, but eventually mutual interest in maintaining oil production will probably lead both parties to an acceptable compromise. Abroad, his determination to extend his influence in the Persian Gulf as British depart is likely to maintain continuing tension in his relation with Saudi Arabia. As in the past, the Shah will seek arms support from the US, and his increasing feeling of independence will make for occasional frictions between two countries, though the Shah will continue to value his association with US."

Clearly indicating the reason for "frictions" between US and Iran which is nothing but "feeling of independence" by Iranian leadership in their policies. This mention of "Shah's feelings" on different issues has been brought up in this document a few times which indicates how close the "source" of some of the information has been to the late Shah to know about such feelings before any signs of actions could be observed. This matter is repeated in some other documents too.

In page 2 we read:

"1- During the past decade the Shah has dramatically strengthened the position of monarchy in Iran, Top government who had or who aspired to, an independent power base have been cut down. Parliament, too, has been transformed from a body representing the interests of landlords to one whose members are nonentities owing their position exclusively to his favor. At the same time, the Shah has undercut the already fragmented opposition by carrying out economic and social reforms it has favored. Moreover, his economic and military deals with the USSR have won his recognition at home as foremost defender of Iran's national interest and as personification of Iranian independence in the international sphere.
2- In scoring these achievements, the Shah has often acted against US advice. As a result, he attributes his considerable success largely to correctness of his policies and his own skill in political maneuver. The belief has transformed the Shah from a timorous titular monarch into a self confident potentate, determined to assert his and Iran's prerogatives against all comers. This was symbolized by the elaborate correction which the Shah staged in October 1967."

The bitterness of the authors of the report is so obvious in the lines quoted from page 2 and other pages as we will see. All of these proves that the expectations of US government during President Kennedy from Iranian government regarding reforms was not out of concerns for betterment of living conditions for Iranian society but to create opportunities for themselves to have a good foothold through corrupt and privileged Iranians to further their own agendas.

In page 3 we read:

"3- The Shah's design for Iran is based on economic rather than political development. The original emphasis placed on rural uplift by the so-called "White Revolution" in 1962 has lately been supplanted by a focus on industry as well as infrastructure projects -- especially dams and transportation facilities. The distribution of land called for in the Shah's reform program has been essentially completed, he is now content to leave the more difficult task of increasing agricultural productivity to the technicians who have come increasingly to staff the important positions in the bureaucracy. The Shah sees rapid industrialization as essential not only to increase prosperity and national well being, but also to provide an outlet for the energies of educated Iranians who might otherwise prove troublesome for the regime. Over long term this will probably not provide a satisfactory substitute for greater political participation, but for some time to come the unrest of earlier days seems under control."

It is amazing how the authors of this document speak of "political development" in Iranian society while majority of Iranians are just beginning to feel that they have a share from the national wealth which was being delivered to them through creation of jobs and investment in different sectors. From what we saw in page 2 earlier, the unhappiness of success of "white revolution" is so obvious while most of clueless Iranian opposition members among leftist and from the so called National Front still looking for (or claiming) the hands of US government behind such reforms!

As a personal experience regarding "political participation" I must mention here that, during the years after creation of Rastakhiz party, I could clearly see the mood in society was changing towards more participation. This was not just for the wealthy class but many from working class showed the interest in getting involved in political affairs either through local councils or national parliament membership. This of course required more time to reach a level that would satisfy a majority but from what we see in this and other documents, US government was in hurry to see "political development" in Iran and was not very happy with the pace which they saw then!

In page 4 we read:

"4- To carry out these economic projects the Shah has sought, and is receiving, some help from foreign quarters for these projects. But as many of these endeavors will not yield early returns, Iranian industry will require continuing large inputs of foreign capital for some time to come. Iran's rapidly rising oil revenue is most promising source for this capital, and the Shah is determined that Iran get as much as possible. Indeed, the doubling of oil revenues in the past five years has been largely responsible for reinvigorating the non-petroleum sectors of Iran's economy. The Iranian government has pledged to devote about 80 percent of its oil income to economic development. The Shah is now demanding that the consortium of Western oil companies increase their lifting to guarantee Iran a total income of $5.9 billion over the next five years-- a sum which would mean an average increase in revenue of 15-20 percent a year. The companies have resisted his demands, refusing to promise a total income of more than about $4.5 billion over the five year period. After pressing the companies vigorously to meet his terms, the Shah recently accepted production levels for the year 1968 which would produce revenues of about $440 million less than $865 million he originally sought."

Times after times, it has happened that US government acted as protector of the interests of oil companies and the Consortium. They have been following the details of dealings between the Consortium and Iranian government to the letter. In a document which I will bring later in this segment, we can see how American Embassy reports to Washington about a "sardonic smile" of Shah when he speaks about some of harmful policies of US government which worked against their own interest. This was at the time when late Shah had offered US with direct government to government selling of oil with special discount to make up for the shortcoming of the revenue for development projects. The offer of course was refused by US government.

After mentioning different issues regarding oil and relations between Iran and Soviet Union in next few pages, the report discusses the affairs regarding Iranian claims over the islands in Persian Gulf. In page 6 and afterwards we read about the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and seizing of one of Aramco oil rigs (Aramco is a major American oil company which mainly operates in Saudi Arabia and owns all the concessions there since the beginning of oil discovery in Saudi Arabia) by Iranian government in disputed region.

Also, we read about "complications" in US-Iran relations because of Iran's military policies and military purchases from USSR:

"economic deals with Soviets, principally and exchange of over $1 billions of natural gas for a steel mill and other items. He has even purchased military equipment, including some weapons though not advanced types, from the USSR under a $110 million agreement and might buy more if he cannot get what he wants from the West on favorable terms. Nevertheless, it will be difficult for the USSR to translate this into political influence, and the Shah is likely to react strongly if the Soviets appear to be interfering in Iran's domestic affairs or otherwise threatening his interests.

7- As this fear of USSR has receded, the Shah has come increasingly to focus his concern on regional affairs. Since the UK's announcement of its intention to leave Persian Gulf by 1971, he has been particularly interested in that area. In keeping with his nationalist pretensions, the Shah is determined not to permit any outside power to play an influential role in the Gulf after the British leave. UAR withdrawal from Yemen and resounding Egyptian defeat in the June war with Israel has made the Shah somewhat less fearful of Nasser's ability to foment troubles in the Gulf. Nonetheless, he still regards Arab nationalism as a threat to his position. He therefore feels impelled

Page 7:
his influence over emerging states on the Arabian Peninsula, and his aspirations may have been stimulated by his confidence that no country in the Persian Gulf can match Iran's power.

8- The Shah's ambitions in the Gulf are disturbing his relations with Saudi Arabia and smaller states of the area. While the Shah has no serious design on the western littoral of the Gulf, he is insisting on pressing maximum claims to undersea oil deposits. He had initialed an agreement with Saudi Arabia defining a median line in the Gulf, but it thereafter developed that the area on the Saudi side has large oil reserves. Hence he has recently repudiated the agreement, and some of his lieutenants -- though perhaps without his knowledge or consent -- went so far as to seize an Aramco rig which was attempting to drill in disputed area. The Shah, however, has stated that he will not resort to such forceful tactic in the future.

9- Nonetheless, he has created new controversy by raising heretofore largely dormant claims to Bahrain; he is also pressing the British to cede the tiny islands of Tunb and Abu Musa at the mouth of the Persian Gulf -- held by Trucial Shaikhdoms of Ras al-Khaima and Sharja. His demands for Bahrain are probably advanced as a bargaining counter in his campaign to increase his share of the Persian Gulf seabed, but may be more serious about the other islands. Yet even though the parties recognize the desirability of an early settlement of the issue between them, they are not likely even to begin serious negotiations for some time. Both King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and the Shah are reluctant to appear to be backing down by taking the first step toward talks. In this situation, the Shah and Faisal will remain at loggerheads and tension in the area is likely to continue.

10- The Shah's military policy has also complicated his relations with the US. Iran has for the past several years been pressing to purchase substantial quantities of modern weapons, originally on the grounds that they were needed to protect against Nasser; the Iranians now claim that these arms are required to insure stability in the Gulf area. Indeed, it was US refusal to extend credit for this equipment in 1966 that provoked the Shah to conclude a $110 million arms purchase agreement with USSR. The Shah is now demanding for the US a commitment for $600 million in military credit sales to Iran over the next five years to buy naval craft as well as advanced aircraft and ground force equipment. He has threatened to turn to other foreign suppliers -- including

Page 10:
the USSR-- is the US is unwilling to accommodate his demands; Iran has ample resources of foreign exchange to make good this threat without any serious effect on its economic development pace."

In the following page which is part of a larger document we can read about possible "showdown" between Iranian government and the Consortium reported by Thomas Hughes who used to be Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research during the Kennedy and was later appointed as President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Carnegie Endowment has been a powerful influence behind many of the political events in USA and around the world along with a few other huge corporations which I will talk about under other topics sometime later.

To be continued...

Sohrab Ferdows
Dec 25th/2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Review Of Islamic Revolution- Part 9

It has been a while since I added anything new to my blog about "Islamic Revolution" in Iran. One of the reasons was the suspicion that the integrity of the information presented in the blog which was also published in some forums, has been compromised by some sources and I had no way of undoing. Shortly after the last segment of my blog about "Islamic Revolution" was published, an article in LA Times appeared which claimed that new findings by "Institute of Middle East Studies" indicate that American Republican Party had a role in rise of Khomeini in Iran. This article was published during the election days in which Mr. Obama had become a candidate for presidency for the first time.

In my search for such findings as claimed by the author of that article (who was an Iranian-American) I could not find anything and the sources related to "Institute of Middle East Studies" had no information about such discoveries. I raised my objection in an article which was published in one of the forums that published my writings stating that the meddling in the Iranian affairs during Islamic Revolution and in years and decades prior to that was in fact an American or even a Western issue rather than a political party issue. Because this matter was not organized in a party but through-out many years of strategic intelligence work and covert activities by American and British secret service agencies with a major role played by NATO which has greatest interest in Persian Gulf's oil.

These activities were in fact to destabilize Iranian government and bringing it down as part of the agenda to destabilize the region and prepare the grounds for western domination of region's energy sources.

Later events in the region and through-out the world points to a calculated plan for taking over the world's resources in a "New World Order" which thanks to awakening of some people and some nations, has not materialized yet. We can talk more about that under other topics but lets go back to the story of "Islamic Revolution" for now.


Today, it has come to light that Islamic Revolution in Iran was not really a spontaneous event which would take place as a result of uncontrollable sociological or economical issues. The purpose of bringing this matter into spotlight of debate and discussion is not to lay blame on a particular group or person or even government but to try to have an objective view of what really happened through out the years and even decades prior to this extremely important event in the history of our nation and one of the major events in modern history of the world. As a nation, it is our responsibility to try to analyze and understand this matter in an impartial way and make serious effort to rectify our methods and behaviors towards the issues, which resulted in such upheaval with destructive tendencies of such magnitude. It goes without saying that a single view can never be sufficient to find all the truth about such enormous event.

A thorough and broad research in the events and available documents and information, away from biases, should help us in reaching a solution to avoid such issues in future. It is not wise to forget about our own ignorance and responsibilities in this regard as much as it is important not to ignore influence of external factors with pseudo intellectualistic labels like "conspiracy theory" and so on. My findings tell me that Islamic Revolution was not "inevitable" and could be stopped at different stages easily but certain elements were missing at certain points from which "wisdom" and "patriotism" at higher levels in the system and among major key-position holders, are a couple to mention. Also, miscalculation of leadership, including late Mohammad Reza Shah himself, about the Iranians capabilities in a confrontation with western powerful elements and the capabilities of western powers to influence Iranian society, can't be disregarded.

A while back, I saw an article by Ms. Fariba Amini which had been published originally in in the year 2006 under title of: “Perseverance and honor” . The article includes an interview with Mr. Abbas Amirentezam who used to hold different positions in provisional revolutionary government headed by Mr. Bazargan in year 1979. Mr. Amirentezam was later removed from his position as ambassador of Islamic Republic and imprisoned after take over of American Embassy by Islamic revolutionaries. He was kept in prison for many years with the charges of espionage but was never trialled in a court and although he had never been cleared of those charges, he was permitted to leave prison in recent years. Mr. Amrientezam in his interview has spoken about his extensive research on Islamic Revolution and indicated that he was preparing to publish a book in that regard (I believe that book is published by now). In a part of interview, Mr. Amirentezam responds to a question about if Islamic Revolution was "pre-planned":

*"There comes a time when conditions are ripe for change. In prison, you have all the time to read and reflect. I tried to examine all the events in world history as compared to our own. Up until 1979, the Shah had consolidated all of the power within himself. But if the time had not been right, and all the events had not been properly aligned, Mr. Khomeini would not have been brought from Najaf, taken to Neauphle-le-Chateau in France, given full access to international media, and then brought to Iran. So, in more ways than one, this was the exact right moment for the subsequent events to occur. Savak burned buildings and created the chaos and internal strife necessary to take the Shah down. Consequently, our people became innocent victims of this well planned out charade. There were three Texas Commerce Instrument employees in Ghassr prison. They invited a bunch of hooligans to create chaos and incited people to come to the streets, open the prisons, thus letting criminals out. What began with a few hundred people quickly turned into massive and wide scale demonstrations."*

And in another part he responds to "how he came to conclusion about involvement of foreign elements in downfall of Bazargan government":

*"With ample time in prison, I had the opportunity to review many history books. Thus, I came to the conclusion that many decisions were made more than fifty years ago. The Truman administration had concluded that in order to destroy the Soviet Union without going into war, seeing that both nations had the bomb, and avoiding a global nuclear catastrophe, they would use other plans. They had a 50 year plan to get rid of the Soviet Union without actually engaging in war. I am convinced, just like Zbigniew Brzezinski and Noam Chomsky, that what took place in 1979 in Iran, the rest of the events in the Middle East- the Iran-Iraq war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Iraq's invasion of Kuwait were part of this plan which eventually led to the destruction of the Soviet Union. The result was the re-distribution of the world and the Middle East. The rest of my thoughts and analyses, which are elaborated on, are in my book. "*

Although I personally would not agree with everything that Mr. Amirentezam says in his interview but I believe he is right in many parts of his views even if they are not result of 100% accurate information. Many of U.S. Government's secret documents have been declassified in 2006 and afterwards and it is obvious that Mr. Amirentezam could not have access to information in those documents at that time and this matter definitely would have some effect on accuracy of his conclusions. In recent years, a fashionable misconception has appeared among Iranian educated people as a symbol of "intellectualism" and political maturity in which all blames for revolution are squarely put on the shoulders of the previous system and Iranian people themselves while dismissing any possibility of influence and meddling from outside elements. This can only be interpreted as political naivety displayed through intellectualistic cliché if not an intentional attempt to disregard indisputable facts and distort the truth about strong presence of external influence and well planned strategy from outside forces.

Thousands of pages of documents declassified by American government in recent years, on the side of information which has been disclosed by some of old revolutionary elements who had access to the core of Islamic Revolution and defected later, have provided an opportunity to take a realistic look into this event in order to find the truth. What really happened in 1979 in Iran? This is the question that I will try to address in as much details as possible in my writings, which have come in different segments so far, and with the help of available sources, without taking rumors and speculations into account. These sources include, but not limited to: memoirs and interviews of individuals who were involved in political and revolutionary affairs related to Iran at different levels, books written by people who were present in Iran and had an official role during the decades and years leading to Islamic Revolution, books written by others that contain some well documented information, declassified documents of United States and British governments where available, and other sources.

One of the growing trends in the politics of Iranian opposition in recent years has been total disregard for presence and effects of external elements in forming and directing the events, which led to rumbling of the system in Iran in the year 1979. While this is true that the more important question at hand is “what to do with current situation” but there should be absolutely no doubt that we have to dig what really happened in our country so we can avoid falling in the same traps when trying to find a solution.

The gestures expressed by western nations especially Americans through different means, may indicate that they are really interested in resolving the current impasse facing Iranian people while distinguishing between Iranian people and the government through their acknowledgments that how Iranians deserve better than Islamic regime. But the truth is far from that. Through out the years, we have witnessed all kinds of secret and open dealings between westerners and Islamic government, which despite all their claims about their love for human rights and democracy, all they did was to empower the evil government in Iran against Iranian people in order to ease their own grip and dominance on the resources of the region as part of a bigger plan for world's dominance.

The essence of behavior of western nations towards Iran and Iranians can be seen through the views, which have been expressed by American and British government towards Iranians and are available in their official documents. In these documents, we see Americans and British indicate that they believe democracy is incompatible with Iranian society and is an alien concept to them. I have published some of these official documents in previous parts and also some other documents, which could provide us with information on how westerners tried to influence politics in our nation for their own universal interests through a long term plan to manipulate Iranian opposition forces.

Another issue, which can be only interpreted as an “intellectualistic” gesture by some Iranians is to dismiss anything related to the role of external elements in the historical events of last 40-50 years and calling them “conspiracy theory”. This kind of behaviors towards such important issue is a by-product of Iranian opposition’s incompetence, which has not been able to provide a valid explanation for being manipulated by a mullah and about their own failures while blaming everything on Iranian people and previous system.

When we see that Khomeini who was just an unknown figure to big majority of Iranians in 1978, was considered the best candidate for the position of “pishva” or Shiite leader by American state department about 10 years earlier, then we need to look more carefully at everything related to Khomeini before and after that time. Series of the events, which moved Khomeini to the position to become the most effective and influential force in Shiite sect was beyond his own imagination let alone ordinary Iranian people and clueless Iranian opposition. Many obscure and mysterious figures were at work throughout the years for different reasons to make the events of 1979 possible and from those, a few can be detected and analyzed through careful examination of available sources to show us how our society was misled to the current mess and for what reasons.

To be continued...

Sohrab Ferdows
Dec 24th/2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Note To Visitors And Readers Of My Blogs

Dear Friends,

Please share the blogs in all your social networks and blogs in any way possible and spread the words as much as you can. New materials will be added soon. All I expect from those who want to use the information that is presented in these blogs, is to respect the integrity of materials and do not make any changes through unjustifiable interpretations as some people have done in the past. I understand that people's view about different things may vary but what is presented here is based on extensive research which I have conducted through out many years and if anyone likes to draw different conclusions then please don't do it on the account of my work.

Sometime in the past, integrity of the materials and documents which are presented here have been abused by some people of more popular medias in United States which referenced the work of "Middle East Research Institute" while there was absolutely no information available from that organization to confirm such claims. Because of that issue, I had to stop publishing further materials until I find a clarification and a solution to prevent such issues from repeating. This matter created a painful gap in my line of thoughts and a break in my research work and I finally decided to discuss it in my blogs and make some changes in the way that the documents are presented.

It is very sad to see that people even in some reputable institutions and medias resort to such low attitude in order to make undeserved gains in their political agendas.

I encourage all my readers to share their thoughts and comments on what they see and read in the blogs. This will definitely help me with continuing my work and I appreciate that very much.

Sohrab Ferdows
December 7th, 2013

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Death of a Persian Prince

A Persian Prince died yesterday. A son of the last king before Islamic Revolution in Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi the Great, Prince Alireza Pahlavi died at his Boston apartment by gun shot. Prince Alireza Pahlavi was a patriotic and highly educated Iranian who had obtained a BA from Princeton University in 1984, a Masters Degree from Columbia University in 1992 and attended Harvard University in pursuit of a PhD in Ancient Iranian Studies. It is with deepest sorrow that many Iranians receive this news about another extremely sad event to happen for a family whose services to our nation can never be forgotten and ignored. I offer my deepest sympathy to this great family especially Her Majesty, The Queen Farah Pahlavi and The Prince Reza Pahlavi for this truly and shockingly unfortunate incident. My thoughts and prayers will be with the family of Pahlavi in these moments of grief and sadness.

Sohrab Ferdows
January 5th, 2011

Friday, October 3, 2008

A review of Islamic revolution- Part 8

** Please scroll down or check the links on the right side of the page for previous parts **

After completing his trainings, which included taking part in execution of a number of Syrian officers who were accused of activities against Asad’s government, Story of Mr. Shafizadeh continues in new direction with his return to Paris in the year 1977. In Paris, he meets Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, Abolhassan Banisadr and Hassan Habibi who had come to airport with Gholambabbas Tavassoli to welcome him. This is when he becomes involved with Ghotbzadeh who, develops very close relationship with Jafar Shafizadeh and becomes his new mentor outside Iran. A new phase in the life of Jafar starts after that in which, he moves to Libya along with Mr. Ghotbzadeh to learn some new skills but before I get to that, let’s take a look at Sadegh Ghotbzadeh to see how he got there and what was his relation with Islamic revolution.

In order to understand how Sadegh Ghotbzadeh became a major role player in preparation for Islamic revolution and what was the nature of his relations with Shafizadeh, Khomeini and others, we need to take a look at Ghotbzadeh’s life and his family background. There are not many sources available to provide detailed information about family and life of Mr. Ghotbzadeh because he was not well known in Iranian politics and not many people have spoken about him. The best available source about this unusual figure, which I could get my hands on, is a book written by his last girl friend, Carole Jerome, a Canadian journalist who used to work for CBC. Carole Jerome has done some research on Ghotbzadeh’s life after he was executed by Khomeini and published that as part of a book that she wrote about Islamic revolution in 1987, named “The Man In The Mirror”. When I received this book from a friend the next year and read it, my first impression was that the author probably had exaggerated about the importance of Ghotbzadeh’s role in the revolution under influence of her feelings for him but when further information came out from other sources later on, proved this to be wrong.

Sadegh Ghotbzadeh was born to a bazaari family whose father Hussein Ghotbzadeh had friendship with Dr. Mohammad Mosadegh through common business interests in farming sector. According to Sadegh himself, he spent about two weeks with Dr. Mosadegh after he was released from prison to help him with some issues related to the trees in his Ahmadabad properties. Sadegh was about 10 years old at that time. Ghotbzadeh’s family, like most others of the same class in Iran, were religious but according to him, they were not too fanatic about their religious belief. As a result of his familiarity with late Dr. Mosadegh he developed a lot of sympathy towards Dr. Mosadegh and felt angry towards Shah. “Sadegh explained that he had grown up hating the Shah, yet his was not red-faced anger.” Carole Jerome says in her book.

Sadegh runs into trouble with Iranian police for anti-regime activities when in his early 20’s and is released after spending a night in detention. After that, his father decides to send him out for his studies. Ghotbzadeh moves to United States and after a couple of years, he is ordered by immigration office to leave. According to his girl friend Carole, the reason was his anti-Shah activities and his low grade average in the school. Ghotbzadeh had entered in “Confederation of Iranian Students” (CIS in short) right after he entered United States. This was a couple of years earlier than the time that an Iranian student had claimed that CIA had tried to recruit him for CIS. This matter became a big issue and caused some unpleasant reactions by Iranian government and the Shah, which was settled with Mr. Alam's and Mr. Ardeshir Zahedi’s intervention without getting to the Iranian national media. American embassy blamed it all on “Communists” who were trying to sabotage the relations between the two nations by accusing that student being in contact with East Germany’s government. From the strong reaction by late Shah himself, one may think that there had been enough justification for Iranian government to believe in credibility of the student’s claim. Mr. Zahedi had an interesting conversation with U.S. ambassador over this issue, which is partly reflected in embassy’s letter to State Department.

Ghotbzadeh left U.S. for France and shortly after, he came back with a Syrian passport with a name, which was slightly different. Not much longer his real identity was discovered by U.S. authorities and he was ordered to leave again. He contacted Robert Kennedy whom he had met before but he could not help Ghotbzadeh that time. After some struggles, he received an admission to enter a Canadian university in British Columbia to finish his studies in history and receive a BA degree. Ghotbzadeh then moved to France again and with the help of Banisadr, Nobari, Hassan Habibi and Ebrahim Yazdi (who worked with them from U.S.), created “Muslim Students Organization” in early 1970’s because they believed that CIS had been infiltrated by communists. This was right after the tension between U.S. government and Iran over the involvement of CIA in CIS.

*** Part 1 of the documents which show how Iranian security agency or SAVAK could successfully identify the main source which was behind CIS that was established in United States. US embassy denied any connection between American CIA and CIS and expressed their unhappiness over such development ***

Other than Iranian friends, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh had a large number of powerful and influential friends among middle eastern nations and in Europe. He had a team of French lawyers as friends who helped him through out his revolutionary activities and he also had strong friendship with known figures like Hafez Al-Asad of Syria, Qadhafi of Libya, and Yaser Arafat of PLO. He was so close to PLO that when PLO representative, Mahmoud Hamshahri was killed in Paris in 1972, Ghotbzadeh took care of PLO office until a new rep was dispatched by Arafat, the leader of PLO. Ghotbzadeh’s address for his passport was in Demascas (Syria), Avenue Jole Jamal while he was in constant communication and meetings with PLO leader Arafat in Lebanon and Qadhafi in Libya. Carole Jerome says in her book: “The Newsweek article by Arnaud de Borchgrave said that French Intelligence sources reported that Ghotbzadeh had "direct connection with the heads of the Communist party in France and Italy, and that he worked closely with Libyan Secret Service.". And of course Ghotbzadeh always denied that.

Carole Jerome also mentions that French DST (one of French security services) had reported Ghotbzadeh as an agent of Qadhafi as he had been followed to Tripoli by another French Secret Service (SDECE) and met Qadhafi and Libyan agents there. MOSSAD had also confirmed this information and reported that Ghotbzadeh had gone to Geneva after he left Tripoli and opened an account into which five million dollar was deposited.

In another part of the same book we read: “During the 1970’s Sadegh traveled widely on behalf of the revolutionary movement from Kuala Lampur to United States, always under watchful eyes of SAVAK, the DST, the CIA and the FBI. Oddly, he was now able to visit the United States on tourist visas, but on occasion he went with false identification from his collection of passports. When his luggage mysteriously vanished for long periods at American airports, he was unconcerned, knowing full well who was inspecting it.”

When Ghotbzadeh had entered US with Syrian passport in 1967, Immigration service rejected his application for student status and State Department cancelled his visa, which was issued in Paris. When Ghotbzadeh went to State Dept with his lawyer, Geoff Keating on his side, one of the officials just showed them a five-inch thick file while screaming at them that how they expected to deal with that file. Carole Jerome says when she managed to take that file under Freedom of Information Act 4 years after Ghotbzadeh's death, all the information except the name and description of Ghotbzadeh was still blacked out and nothing could be found. Carole Jerome says when Keating had asked Ghotbzadeh what was in the file he had replied: "The usual".

Ghotbzadeh was so close to Qadhafi that he could see him anytime he wished. Cheron, Ghtobzadeh’s lawyer told Carole Jerome that after Musa Sadr went missing, Ghotbzadeh went to see Qadhafi to ask about that. He did not disclose anything to his friend and lawyer, Cheron, but told him that he believed that Qadhafi had killed Sadr.

Ghotbzadeh had met Musa Sadr in Paris for the first time through Sadegh Tabatabai, Sadr’s nephew and later had meetings with him in Beirut where he also met Mustafa Chamran. They discussed the issues related to PLO and Lebanon in their meetings where Arafat also attended sometimes. Ms Jerome mentions that Qadhafi who considered himself champion of pan-Arabism and muslims unity provided financial support to Musa Sadr and other groups who worked in that direction but states that Ghotbzadeh did not trust Qadhafi and did not agree with his views. Musa Sadr was also in contact with Iranian government and SAVAK and when Qadhafi discovered this matter, killed Sadr without ever admitting it. The mystery around Sadr’s disappearance after he apparently left Libya for Italy was never resolved.

*** Part 2 of documents related to CIS and US government attempt to blame it on communists. ***

Ghotbzadeh also met Dr. Shariati in 1970 in a group meeting with Banisadr, Nobari, and Habibi. Shariati advised the group to send Ghotbzadeh to meet Khomeini in Najaf because he believed that Khomeini was different than other mullahs. Ghotbzadeh met Khomeini and his son Mustafa in Najaf and did not like Mustafa who was trying to control his father’s activities. Ghotbzadeh suspected Mustafa of having negative influence on Khomeini but Khomeini told him not to worry about him. According to Carole Jerome, Mustafa favored armed rebellion and this troubled Ghotbzadeh. Mustafa told Ghotbzadeh: “My father will kill more than the Shah could he imagine to realize his dreams.”. Ghotbzadeh learned about Khomeini’s “Islamic Republic” directly from him in Najaf.

When Shah vetoed the idea of Khomeini being expelled from France French government informed Ghotbzadeh that he had to leave. Ghotbzadeh’s lawyer, Vallette contacted Claude Chayet of French Quai who met Ghotbzadeh and then contacted ministry of interior and withdrew that order because he believed that Khomeini would take over the government in Iran and did not want to have bad relations with future officials of Iranian government.

In regards to delay in Khomeini's departure from Paris after Bakhtiar declared that he would not allow Khomeini's plane to enter Iran, Carole Jerome writes:
"Sadegh contacted a friend who, in turn, sounded out his old acquaintance, The American ambassador to UNESCO. In this way, he avoided contacting the American administration directly. Sadegh was then put in touch with Irving Brown, officially the representative of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations), but less officially the representative of Central Intelligence Agency, according to a friend."

“To show how Ghtobzadeh was close to Khomeini, speaking of Ghotbzadeh lawyer friends (Bertrand Vallette and Francois Cheron) Carole Jerome writes: "One day they discovered a slight squirt in the man from Qom. Sadegh announced that he had to pick up some cologne for Khomeini. 'He likes Christian Dior stuff, Eau Sauvage,' Sadegh told Cheron who hooted in laughter.
'Khomeini? Christian Dior?' Cheron managed to sputter.
Sadegh was defensive. 'Well, why not? There's no law against smelling nice. You know Khomeini's wife, Batool?'
'Not personally' Cheron answered.
'She spends most of her time in Paris shopping for Dior dresses,' Sadegh revealed.
'I didn't think the budget ran to things like that. She must be very elegant under her chador. It seems a waste.'
'She is' Sadegh replied. Then for Cheron's edification, he launched into defense of chador". Carole Jerome writes.

This behavior of Islamic revolutionary elements and their families in Paris is inline with the behavior that Mr. Shafizadeh has given detailed information about that in his book. Same kind of behavior is reported by Mr. Hussein Broujerdi after revolutionaries entered Iran and this matter became the main reason for defecting of these two and many other individuals who were too close to center of revolution and witnessed all those disgusting and nauseating behaviors from leaders of a Islamic revolution who had come to rescue them from moral corruption.

The same French Lawyers worked in association with Christian Bourget to help Ghotbzadeh in arresting and returning Shah to Iran through negotiation with Panamanian government in 1980.

to be continued...

Next part click here

A review of Islamic revolution- Part 7

One of the saddest realities about Iranian political establishment and leadership, since the time that presence of westerners was increasing in Iran during Ghajar/Kadjar dynasty, has been the tendency for corruption among the people of highest ranks while many Iranians at the lower social classes were more loyal and committed to their country. Since more than two hundred years ago, Iranian territory became an attractive and easy target for super powers which had come with little or nothing but expected a lot and, there have always been those who were willing to sell the nation out by collaborating with them for personal gains. Another issue which has been source of many problems for our nation has been failure due to ignorance and immaturity of educated Iranians and Iranian intellectual community which should have had shouldered some of the responsibilities in leading the nation towards better judgment of its national and political interests. Despite a lot of work which, had been done in a relatively short period of time during Pahlavi era to train a new generation of statesmen by sending groups of students to be educated and become familiar with modern societies, many of same educated people became tools to destroy all the hopes of our nation for better future.

From those, there were some who held high positions within the system and also some who were outside the system but did their best to destroy it with help of external foes. It is obvious that the destructive effects of first group was a lot greater than second while the second group would never be able to accomplish much without existence of the first group. So many years have passed from those chaotic days and many things have come to light. Today almost everyone knows about the extent of effect of obscure figures like General Fardoust as an internal element who worked against the system while holding a very sensitive position in it. It is important to know that he was not the only person in highest positions in previous regime who covertly worked against the system in collaboration with the foreign governments who had interest in destroying that system while pretending to be friends and trying to be helpful.

Ofira Seliktar, an Israeli scholar and political scientist in her book about Iranian revolution, “The Failing of Crystal Ball Test” quotes a statement from William Sullivan, the last ambassador of United States to Iran saying: “there were ‘those’ in State Department ‘who were so strongly opposed to the Shah because of human right abuses of his regime that they wished to see him collapse no matter what the consequences for United States and its allies.’”

Knowing a little about history of relations between United States and other nations and remembering the stories of American meddling and invasions in different parts of the world, from Vietnam to Cuba, from Korea to Chili, from Grenada to Panama and many other places, this passive statement by Mr. Sullivan about Iran with such huge strategic values as a country to the north of Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf where more than two third of non-communist world energy and more than 90% of NATO’s energy needs pass through, can only be interpreted as a joke. This argument about importance of Iran in the politics of the west becomes more clear when we look at the geographic location of the country to the south of the Soviet Union where United States had setup major surveillance stations for constant monitoring of Soviet activities. All of this can tell us that United States and its allies were absolutely certain that Shah’s departure from Iran, not only would not weaken their position in Iran but also will provide them with a more devoted and less annoying allied regime which its leaders would be happy to have their hands on enormous wealth which they did not even dream of earlier.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Sullivan in his cable communication to Washington regarding coming of Khomeini to power suggests: “.. if the Shah fell and Khomeini took over, all was not lost.” . Carole Jerome, a journalist who accompanied Khomeini in the plane to Iran and the author of The Man in The Mirror continues: “His assessment was that the new government would be staunchly anti-Soviet and that Khomeini would remain a Gandhi-like figure. The main drawback was that Iran would become anti-Israeli. 'Thinking unthinkable' he called it."

Was it really “thinking unthinkable”? Was it possible that American policy makers did not know about teachings of Khomeini even though they had kept interest in him since 1963? Mr. Sulivan in his book, “Mission to Iran” states that he spent a few weeks on studying a variety of issues about Iran before leaving for Tehran. According to Mr. Sullivan, he conducted a comprehensive study on possibility of a “change” in Iran’s behavior towards Americans. He checked and contacted all American companies, which were in some sort of business with Iranian government. Mr. Sullivan asked all of them to be prepared to reduce the number of their employees and even leave Iran all together. This matter was very strange to some of the companies, which were involved in projects like manufacturing of military equipments and their maintenance in Iran but the advisory was very clear and they had no choice but to abide. As part of his studies, Mr. Sullivan had made assessment of loss of investments by American companies and designed solutions to reduce those damages. Mr. Sullivan also contacted some of the opposition elements in United States without mentioning any name. All of these and much more are documented in black and white and can only give us this impression that, despite some of later statements by Mr. Sullivan, U.S. government was not venturing in unfamiliar territories by supporting Khomeini.

There is one more point that I would like to mention here before moving on to other stories from inside the revolution. Carole Jerome who had spoken to William Sullivan quotes him in her book (The Man in The Mirror) that in a meeting with Shah: “….the Shah angrily launched into a ten-minute harangue. He listed each of the marches, demonstrations and strikes that had taken place, concluding, '...This cannot be the amateur work of spontaneous opposition. All the evidence indicate sophisticated planning.' The Shah turned to face Sullivan. 'And I have decided that it must all be result of foreign intrigue. What bothers me is that this intrigue is far beyond capabilities of KGB. It must therefore involve the British and American CIA'”. After that, Shah expressed his confusion over sudden turning of CIA against him while Sullivan provided some incomplete information about demonstrations and how they were funded and blamed it all on bazaaris. Mr. Sullivan then concluded that Shah was paranoid but overwhelming evidences are available today, which can confirm the Shah's suspicions at that time.

Carole Jerome who worked for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) was appointed to her position in Paris during mid 1970’s when she was 26 years old. She met Sadegh Ghotbzadeh a few years later for the first time and her love story with Ghotbzadeh coincided with the time when Islamic revolution was close to its final stages. Around the same time that Carole moved to Paris, a young Iranian butcher lived in a village around Najaf-abad of Isfahan called Ghahderijan. His name was Jafar Shafizadeh and he ran his father’s butcher shop for living. According to his memories, which have been organized and published by late Siavash Bashiri (1), his life turned upside down one day, when he was asked by Mehdi Hashemi, a loyal, respectful and generous customer for a favor in exchange for a considerable pay in summer of the year 1975. That favor was, to help Mehdi Hashemi with reception for a party of some friends from ranking clerics in an obscure location while keeping this matter from everyone including his own family.

The offer was too tempting for Mr. Shafizadeh to pass as he was a young uneducated villager whose dream was just to have a nice butcher shop with enough revenue to support him and his parents. The money that Jafar received from Mehdi Hashemi for two weeks work was beyond his imaginations. He did not even make that money in the whole year. During the two weeks, he saw all the guests, which included eleven mullahs and four non-mullah people. He did not know anyone of them at that time but later he found out who they were as they all took important positions in the Islamic revolution which had entered a new stage in that summer day of the year 1975. The most important figure in that crowd was none other than ayatollah Beheshti. Others included: Mohammad Montazeri, Javad Bahonar, Sadegh Khalkhali, Fazlollah Mahallati, Ayatollah Taheri, ayatollah Khademi, ayatollah Saneii, Sadooghi Yazdi, Dastgheyb Shirazi, Meshkini and four non-mullah: Dr. Salavati, Dr. Minachi, Gholamabbas Tavassoli, and Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani. Ali Akbar Parvaresh, a close associate of Mehdi Hashemi, was also present. This meeting took place a year after late Shah was diagnosed with mild Lymphoma and a year before massacre of ayatollah Shamsabadi and his family in the same village.

From that point on Jafar Shafizadeh, a simple young and talented villager with very limited education, entered a circle, which took him through events that he could never imagine before. In this new phase in his life, Jafar met many people who would hold highest positions in revolutionary government later, and visited many places that he never thought of previously. After the meeting ended, Mehdi Hashemi paid Jafar handsomely, and told him to get ready to go and get his passport next morning, without waiting for his agreement. Next day, Hashemi told him that he will be sent to an important mission and all his financial concerns will be taken care of and there should not be any problem. Jafar who, according to himself, would even kill anyone if Mehdi Hashemi asked him, became special servant for Mr. Hashemi after that and drove him around town while Mr. Hashemi, a devoted Muslim who even performed sermon in some religious sessions, took care of his own business and continued to pay Jafar generously.

Sometime after Jafar’s passport was ready, him and Gholamabbas Tavassoli departed for Paris and after a few days in Paris, Jafar was given a closed envelope and directed to airport to go to Syria where he was received by some Syrian military personnel and taken to a camp. Along with a few dozens of other people from different Islamic nations, Jafar received special training for guerrilla combat activities. Many of the people in that group were Iranians and all of them had higher education than Jafar. Some of them were university students or have completed their university. It was one of those days in training camp when Jafar was given the news by one of Syrian officers about arrest of Mehdi Hashemi and some of Shafizadeh family members for killings of ayatollah Shamsabadi and his family.

to be continued..