As of 1977, I noticed certain disquieting signs and had a premonition that deep in the shadows, ungodly events were hatching. At the beginning, there was a campaign against my brother, suddenly amplified in the media and the press of the western world. It had no common measure with sporadic attacks of previous years. It presented the feature of a well orchestrated and vast operation. Critics against our regime increased daily. Articles and commentaries purposely neglected a great part of the reality in order to knowingly enhance unjustified slanders spread by our enemies. This relentless crusade had me worried to such point, that one night of March 1977, when he was dining at my home, I spoke about it to my brother.
Raising his shoulders he answered : "Do not worry, it is not the first time that the West is falling upon me. Remember in 1957, what trash was being written against my policies when we signed an agreement with Italian oil magnate Enrico Mattei. He offered to exploit new oil fields, leaving more than sixty percent of the benefits to Iran. It was the end of the monopoly of the major great companies which couldn't allow such upheavals. A vast campaign was launched against me.
But said I : "Mattei has been dead for a long time."
"Of course" he said "and in mysterious conditions in a plane crash which does not exclude the assumption of sabotage. The major oil companies always desired the overthrow of my regime."
I went on: "Don't you believe that Carter's insistence on human rights encourages these new crusaders?"
"Probably," said my brother, "that is why we must accelerate both modernization and reforms. If I have enough time, left, then following economic democracy which is proceeding quite well, I will embark upon political democracy. I am looking forward to a first attempt of completely free elections in Summer 1979, with the participation of all parties, except maybe, the Tudeh (communist party).
The Rise of Dangers
Unfortunately, I was never able to convince to my brother of the necessity of a counter-campaign. He didn't consider it useful. "The money of the state should not be wasted on propaganda, we need every dollar for our development program" he used to say. Nevertheless, our enemies our enemies never wasted a single occasion to slander the achievements of the Pahlavis. Long ago, they allied themselves with western leftists and used their organizations. They even used the services of terrorist bands in Germany, Italy and elsewhere.
In 1967, upon a visit of my brother to West-Berlin, violent encounters took place between the German police and a group of demonstrators composed of Iranian and German students. A young Berliner, Bruno Ohnesorg, died. A few days later, students paraded in the streets of Germany's old capital, asking for the resignation of the town's mayor. Their slogans had been inspired by Gudron Esslin, the very same person, who the following year, with the help of Andreas Baader, set fire to two malls in Frankfort to protest against the "society of consumption."
German students were scooping their information on Iran in the weekly "Der Spiegel" which every week devoted lengthy columns on attacks against our regime. However, the lying and deceitful character of the disseminated information left no doubts. to readers.
In 1977, Amnesty International, dispatched emissaries to Iran. they wrote the following report in 1978: "some allegations of torture were received last year, but Amnesty International did not discover any proof." In the period covered by the report (June 1977 - June 1978), two prisoners had been executed, one for murdering a translator of the American embassy and the other, an Iranian general spying for the Soviet Union. The same report signaled that in Iraq, two hundred Kurds, seven communists and twenty-one military officers had been executed. And it added: " The bodies of all the condemned men returned to their relatives, had traces of torture." The press and the media neglected Iraq in order to condemn Iran!
In 1977, the British journalist, Alan Hart, wrote: "As I perceive it, reality in Iran indicates that the Shah is trying, not without risks for his throne and life, to create sound institutions for a democratic style of government which, he hopes, will give the country a better chances for political stability once he is gone... Should he fails, or is or is not allowed to succeed, his country will collapse. While trying to verify torture allegations held out against the regime of the Shah, Allan Hart asked to see and film a number of political prisoners given for dead under torture by the international press. One of the individuals, who thus returned from the dead was Doctor Simin Salehi. She was eight-months pregnant when arrested for terrorist activities. According to Iranian students organizations in Europe and the United States, Marxist propaganda and the media, she had died under torture with her baby in Evin's prison. In fact, both the mother and the baby were doing well.
See Russ Braley in "Symposium on Iran," St. Mary's College, Notre-Dame, Indiana, March 14, 1980.
"Another case is the one of Sadegh Zibaghalam Mofrad. A former student at Bradford University, he is often given for dead... He had been arrested by the Savak when delivering funds to a terrorist group in Iran. In three hours of interview, he described in details his participation in international terrorist organizations. For example, he told me of a reunion in West Germany, where he represented an Iranian students organization in London. Most of the participants at this meeting were not Iranians. Many, he told me, had links with Libya and various Palestinian organizations. During this meeting, according to Mofrad, decisions were taken on the method of conducting a terrorist campaign in Iran.
Considering the amount of detailed proofs which were given to me by Mofrad and other political prisoners, I am convinced that the Shah is sincere when he attributes the onslaught of the extreme left against him to a plan guided and financed from abroad."
Anyhow, the police had for long determined these foreign connections. For example, we knew, that Iranian students in foreign universities (whose number in 1976, exceeded 50.000) constituted a choice element for rightist and leftist subversive activities. In fact, exposed to the teaching of so-called "liberal" professors and living in democracies where the enemy freely operates, they rapidly became prey to all breeds of instigators. The two larger anti-Iranian movements operating abroad, while in appearance opposed in their objectives, began to harmonize their action. Communist Tudeh leaders who were exiled in East Germany had tried for a long time to recuperate students through the means of cultural organizations and other entertaining activities.
Very rapidly, they created associations in several countries and later the Iranian Students Confederation was also penetrated. The funds for these activities originated from several sources including a variety of communist countries. On the other hand, under the impulse of Khaddafi, following the Six Days' war in the Near-East, Islamic associations of students began to flourish in American and European universities. Palestinians and a variety of extremists infiltrated these movements. Iranian students converted to the extreme right or left were dispatched to follow terrorist training in special camps of North Korea, Cuba as well as P.L.O. camps or its affiliated organisms in Libya and Lebanon.
"Iran in Search of Democracy," The Times, London, June 9, 1977.
Communists and fundamentalists did not limit their action on Iranian students in Europe and the United States. They also labored in Arab countries and specially along our borders. In Irak, following the murder of Teymour Bakhtiar, a dissident Iranian general and former head of the Savak, the Tudeh sent Mahmoud Panahian, its strongman. The Tudeh Communists dispatched also their propaganda apparatus together with powerful radio transmitters - in order to prop up so-called Marxist Islamists ( a denomination given to themselves by the Mujahedeens). They had closed ranks with the P.L.O. but did not join the Tudeh.
New groups were also coming on the scene. They claimed to belong to the National Front or diverse communist currents (pro-Russian, pro-Chinese and even Trotskyist). Many terrorists arrested in Iran after 1970, admitted their stay in Cuban, Korean or Palestinian camps. I can cite many names which leave no doubts as to the true activities of these organizations. Under the facade of student or Islamic organizations, they belonged in reality to an international terrorist network. I will just name Mustafa Chamran who later became chief of the revolutionary guards, war minister of Khomeyni and then died at the front in a mysterious accident. He was one of the founders of the Confederation. In 1964, he shed his communist ideas and secretly went to an Arab country where he received military training. In 1971, he turned a new leaf in his life and became a staunch Islamic fundamentalist. He then went to a region controlled by the P.L.O. In addition, Chamran had an American green card and we can clearly ascertain his multiple connections. Anyhow, as revealed in 1976 in a series of Tudeh-inspired articles, C.I.A. had for long infiltrated the ranks of the Confederation of Iranian Students. I do not know what sort of credit I must give to this information. We entitled to ask ourselves questions ever since the media discovered that a certain Mr. Wilson, member or ex-member of the C.I.A., helped Libya train terrorists.
The information which were in the above paragraphs were already published and I believe that any interested reader can turn them out.
The Plot Against the Pahlavis - Part 2
A Tactical Shift
Shortly after the discussion on the press campaign against Iran I had with my brother, a surprising event took place: The terrorist onslaught against Iran subsided while the media crusade continued. From the shadows emerged politicians who up to now had kept silent. These men who had prospered financially during our time and who qualified themselves as "defenders of human rights" circulated pamphlets condemning our regime. As we learned later, they were in close touch with certain liberal elements of the West. This tactical turn, while we were beginning the process of liberalization, worried my brother.
At the beginning of the summer, as I paid him a visit and he confided:
" Something is brewing... this turmoil seems orchestrated. It is fishy for it seems to be an outbidding of our democratic reforms... I know these individuals, and frankly they do not care in the least about human rights. What they want is to overthrow the regime."
"And students?" I asked. "I learned that now they have new claims... including easier exams at school and universities..."
My brother raised his eyebrows : "To think that I have created so many universities and sent thousands of students to complete their studies abroad with princely scholarships. Those who went to the U.S.S.R., returned with good inclinations. But the others! In the United States and Europe! they are submitted there to intense propaganda against me. Filthy lies are spread among them concerning our social and economic development. Small wonder the Russian ambassador jokingly me : "Send your students to us if you want to raise capitalists... Ship them to the United States and you will have good communists!"
"And why not satisfy the students demands?" I asked.
"This is a farcel! our level of education will drop at a time when we most need to raise experts. The students restiveness does not pose any danger inside the country... What may become a danger is the alliance of the Black and Red. Religious fanatics were co-partners of the Tudeh during the forties. At the beginning of the fifties, the Tudeh was quietly waiting for Mossadegh to chase me out. The reports I have received confirm that within the Confederation of Iranian Students abroad, communists and religious fanatics have closed ranks... And now these politicians and intellectuals enter the scene, encouraged by American declarations on human rights. They are manipulated by others...
"Who?" I asked.
My brother remained silent and glanced at his wristwatch: "I must receive the Prime minister now." He ended our conversation without defining his suspicions. Meanwhile, cautiously in their leaflets the opposition had chosen me for target. They accused me of all sorts of evils, and the government did not allow me to answer. When I recall the years 1977 and 1978, I cannot help remember that they were attacking my brother through me and many Iranian officials at the time willingly allowed it.
The chronology of 1978-1979 events is too well known to recall. But no doubt, the public ignores what went on behind the scene. By recalling my memories, personal notes and conversations with my brother as well as numerous testimonies from important actors, I intend however, to lift the veil on certain mysterious aspects of what is termed "The Iranian Revolution".
Not too long ago, facing the surge of international terrorism, a French minister defended his thesis on the "clandestine band leader". It is this assumption that comes to mind when we cast a retrospective eye at Iranian events. I have already indicated the connections of so-called Iranian students movements and the press campaign against us. No less instructive was the attitude of the B.B.C. which, in its Persian language broadcasts, was violently attacking our regime. And what to say of the gleeful enthusiasm which the foreign press used to glean and spread Khomeyni's utterances and appeals to mayhem while at Neauphle-le Château near Paris?
A great majority of American "liberals" and European leftists promote that the Iranian people rebelled against the Shah's tyranny and the absence political freedom under his regime. Then why did the Iranian people submitted itself to one of history's most bloody and medieval dictature? How do we explain the stance of a Ramsey Clark in the United States, who still today finds excuses for the reject of the most elementary rules of international law and the atrocities committed in Iran? How can we understand, university professors, Â priests and politicians, who still today persist in their world-wide support for such a regime?
The Stealthy Bandmaster
In fact, behind the tragic events in Iran, it was easy to discern some of the objectives pursued by certain foreign interests. The very success of our "White Revolution" provoked disquiet in interest circles distraught by the thought of a new Japan looming in our region. For them, Khomeyni represented a priceless opportunity : Does he not want to make out of Iran an essentially agricultural society alike those of ancient Islam? And won't the export of his revolution end development in other Islamic countries?
In the United States, university professors like Cottam and Falk, politicians like Ramsey Clark and Andrew Young and even clerics like the reverend Coffin, provided limitless backing to the enemies of Iran. Many leftists in Europe joined them. In the Orient, Khadaffi and the P.L.O. provided their millions and their expertise. The media joined the bandwagon. How to call all of this but unquestionable foreign intervention?
But there is even more. As of the beginning of 1970, Khomeyni and his "counselors" labored in order to create an international championing network. In April of 1979, Ibrahim Yazdi, (an American citizen who became Khomeyni's foreign minister) acknowledged that his bonds with Moslem fundamentalists dated from the early seventies. In 1973, Khomeyni had named him as his representative to the United States where he founded the association of Islamic students and the organization of Iranian lecturers.. He set up a support network for Khomeyni whom he visited in Najaf and finally joined definitively in mid-1978. In 1970, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh (later executed by Khomeyni) obtained with the help of Musa Sadr (Iranian Imam of Shi'ites in Lebanon who vanished in Libya in 1978) a Syrian passport and received revolutionary training. His secret missions consisted of conveying funds provided by Libya to the partisans of Khomeyni in Iran. He actively helped the P.L.O. during the civil war in Lebanon and had intimate ties with Marie-Claude Hamshari, widow of the assassinated Palestinian "Fatah" representative in Paris.
Marie-Claude introduced him to French leftists and activists. By the middle of 1977, he joined Khomeyni in Najaf. It is Ghotbzadeh who, while secretly meeting Hamilton Jordan in Paris, cynically advised him to solve the American hostage crisis by having the Shah assassinated. Mostafa Chamran, whom I mentioned previously, following his studies in the United States, dwelled in Lebanon and initiated close relationships with the P.L.O. and Musa Sadr with whom he helped created Al Amal militia. ( Later on he would help Khomeyni institute the dread Revolutionary Guards). He assured close liaison with the P.L.O. and trained Iranian students as guerrillas. Jalal-e-Din Farsi, of Afghan origin, acquired a high rank in the P.L.O. and in 1978 went to Iran to organize a militia and foster turmoil. Khomeyni found and invaluable ally in Hafez Assad and his and his Alaouite community, close the Shi'ites. The Lebanese Shi'ites as well, gave him their outright support. As of 1968, Abu Jihad of sinister reputation, one of the P.L.O. leaders, gave his support to Khomeyni. From 1970, thousands of Iranians received intensive military training in Palestinian camps of Syria and Lebanon. They also got tutelage on Khomeyni's teachings.
Following the revolution, and during a visit to Khomeyni on February 17, 1979, Yasser Arafat recalled with pride the help provided by the P.L.O. to the partisans of the Ayatollah in their fight against the Shah. Radio Tehran announced that the Palestinian leader had previously met several times the "leader" of the Iranian revolution. The Palestinians opened did not waist time and opened several offices in Tehran and other cities. Under the guise of " security counselors" they took over the repressive apparatus installed by Abu Jihad in our country. The Tehran Journal, revealed on February 27, 1979 : " The organization of the Revolutionary guards will comprise regular officers, guards and militiamen specialized in guerilla warfare and counter-insurgency. They will get their inspiration from the Palestinian resistance. According to a personality close to the "Counsel of revolution", Yasser Arafat told the leaders of the Iranian Counsel of revolution that he was ready to provide further help in this domain. The presence in Iran of colonel Abu Zaim, Yasser Arafat's military counselor, could be connected to theses projects. For the leadership of the Revolutionary, the name of Jalal-e-din Farsi is widely circulated. He is an Iranian which has militated for a number of years within Palestinian organizations where he commands a battalion. The latter includes many Iranians fighters, some of them have been killed in combats with Israel and others have forged in Iran, the core of the armed resistance. Upon leaving Iran, Yasser Arafat affirmed: " This revolution which has upset all strategical blueprints, all the plans of imperialism in the region and will have repercussions in all the Near-East."
In 1978, when the Iranian clerics first organized riots in the streets of Qom and the Tabriz, I met my brother in the palace of Niavaran. During our conversation, I did not hide my worries.
"This is the price we must pay for democracy", he told me. I do not have the right to authorize harsh measures which would result in hundreds of victims".
He kept silent for a moment and added:
"I am a king, not a despot. It is for the people to comprehend the reality of things. I have devoted my existence to provide them a better life. I have given land to the peasants. I have imposed our industrialists to share their profit with workers. I have developed an excellent health program and established social security. I did everything to better the standard of leaving of my people. I cannot order soldiers and policemen to shoot people."
He looked at me and added:
"I would like you to accomplish for me a goodwill mission in China and Brazil - you should accept the invitations you have received from these countries."
I was astonished by theses words.
"Don't you think that in the present circumstances it would be preferable to cancel these trips?"
"On the contrary" my brother continued, "I must go myself to East Germany next September and I intend to do so. This is important for our relations with other nations."
My Brother was personally opposed to any strong action against the rioters and confirmed it again after the revolution:
"I am told today that I should have applied martial law more forcefully. This would have cost my country less dear than the bloody anarchy now established there. But a sovereign cannot save his throne by spilling blood of his fellow--countrymen. A dictator can do it because he acts in the name of an ideology which he believes he must make triumphant, no matter what the price. A sovereign is not a dictator. There is between him and his people an alliance which he cannot break. A dictator has nothing to pass on and power belongs to him alone. A sovereign receives his crown from the people...
It is not without apprehension that I left Iran. I could not help think that they wanted me out and away from country. Towards the end of September 1978 and alike each year, I proceeded to New York in order to preside our delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations. When Iranian events began to snowball, I phoned my brother for his permission to return to my homeland. He dissuaded me, insisting on the importance of my mission. This time, I was convinced that they did not want me to be in Tehran. Later on, I would learn that the government estimated my presence in Iran to be unwelcome in such circumstances. The idea of the Shah's departure was already considered in certain quarters as being the best way to quell growing unrest. They feared that my presence would make my brother hesitate on taking such a course. The presence of the "Black Panther," they feared would dissuade my brother and throw a monkey wrench in the plans they were hatching. I resigned myself to this abominable exile. It was not the first time that such calamity happened to me. In 1951 already, Mossadegh had requested and obtained my departure from Tehran to distant Europe. This time, I was given to pessimism. I sensed a great catastrophe and, in New York, I was unable to do anything. I followed news with high anxiety while accomplishing my functions at the United Nations.