When I first wrote on this subject seven years ago, the title was in the form of a question, “Did We Pull the Plug on the Shah?” With the help of a fairly recent but very obscure book by the American expatriate living in England, Arlene Lois Johnson, The Shah of Iran: Mohammad Reza Pahlavi: Victim of His Times I have accumulated enough additional information to write the title of this brief essay as a declarative statement. The book was published in the United Kingdom by News Source, Incorporated. No date is provided, but Johnson tells me that it came out in 2018. The book is apparently not available on Amazon, and I couldn’t get it to come up with an online search.
The book’s obscurity is consonant with its topic. It’s common knowledge that the United States and Britain conspired to overthrow the elected government of Iran’s prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 and elevate the Shah to the position of absolute monarch. That action has long been considered one of the black marks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Consistent with #1 in the Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression, it is not known that a quarter of a century later the same two governments were responsible for doing the same thing with the man they had chosen to replace Mosaddegh, because it has not been reported by the news media.
A good summary of what took place can be found at http://www.aryamehr.org/eng/carter/sold/cart.htm. Here’s a sample of that article by Boston radio talk show host, Chuck Morse:
As if a light were switched off, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, portrayed for 20 years as a progressive modern ruler by Islamic standards, was suddenly, in 1977-1978, turned into this foaming at the mouth monster by the international left media. Soon after becoming President in 1977, Jimmy Carter launched a deliberate campaign to undermine the Shah. The Soviets and their left-wing apparatchiks would coordinate with Carter by smearing the Shah in a campaign of lies meant to topple his throne. The result would be the establishment of a Marxist/Islamic state in Iran headed by the tyrannical Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The Iranian revolution, besides enthroning one of the world’s most oppressive regimes, would greatly contribute to the creation of the Marxist/Islamic terror network challenging the free world today.
And if that weren’t bad enough, the rise of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was hardly a natural, organic thing.
American leaders were also supporting Khomeini. After the Pravda endorsement, Ramsey Clark, who served as Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson, held a press conference where he reported on a trip to Iran and a Paris visit with Khomeini. He urged the US government to take no action to help the Shah so that Iran could determine its own fate. Clark played a behind the scenes role influencing members of Congress to not get involved in the crisis. Perhaps UN Ambassador Andrew Young best expressed the thinking of the left at the time when he stated that, if successful, Khomeini would eventually be hailed as a saint.
Khomeini was allowed to seize power in Iran and, as a result, we are now reaping the harvest of anti-American fanaticism and extremism. Khomeini unleashed the hybrid of Islam and Marxism that has spawned suicide bombers and hijackers. President Jimmy Carter, and the extremists in his administration are to blame and should be held accountable.
It’s not clear when that article was written, but it might have been included in Morse’s book published in 2001, Why I’m a Right Wing Extremist: Collected Columns of Chuck Morse, Vol. II. That book is listed on Amazon, but consistent with the obscurity of the subject matter, it is reported to be out of print and with only “limited availability.”
Why should we believe it? First, it is consistent with what we discovered back in 2015. Second, the book author Johnson has a second readily available reference in the form of a much more comprehensive May 2009 article by James Perloff entitled “Iran and the Shah: What Really Happened?” Here’s a sample of that article:
On the home front, the Shah protected minorities and permitted non-Muslims to practice their faiths. “All faith,” [Hilaire du Berrier] wrote, “imposes respect upon the beholder.” The Shah also brought Iran into the 20th century by granting women equal rights. This was not to accommodate feminism, but to end archaic brutalization.
Yet, at the height of Iran’s prosperity, the Shah suddenly became the target of an ignoble campaign led by U.S. and British foreign policy makers. Bolstered by slander in the Western press, these forces, along with Soviet-inspired communist insurgents, and mullahs opposing the Shah’s progressiveness, combined to face him with overwhelming opposition. In three years he went from vibrant monarch to exile (on January 16, 1979), and ultimately death, while Iran fell to Ayatollah Khomeini’s terror.
He sounds quite a bit like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, doesn’t he? But we turned on Assad, too, didn’t we? But in this instance the Russians under Vladimir Putin weren’t with us, and Assad is still in power.
Joining the smear was U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, whose role [Houshang] Nahavandi recalled in a 1981 interview:
“But we must not forget the venom with which Teddy Kennedy ranted against the Shah, nor that on December 7, 1977, the Kennedy family financed a so-called committee for the defense of liberties and rights of man in Teheran, which was nothing but a headquarters for revolution.”
Suddenly, the Shah noted, the U.S. media found him “a despot, an oppressor, a tyrant.” Kennedy denounced him for running “one of the most violent regimes in the history of mankind.”
At the center of the “human rights” complaints was the Shah’s security force, SAVAK. Comparable in its mission to America’s FBI, SAVAK was engaged in a deadly struggle against terrorism, most of which was fueled by the bordering USSR, which linked to Iran’s internal communist party, the Tudeh. SAVAK, which had only 4,000 employees in 1978, saved many lives by averting several bombing attempts. Its prisons were open for Red Cross inspections, and though unsuccessful attempts were made on the Shah’s life, he always pardoned the would-be assassins. Nevertheless, a massive campaign was deployed against him. Within Iran, Islamic fundamentalists, who resented the Shah’s progressive pro-Western views, combined with Soviet-sponsored communists to overthrow the Shah. This tandem was “odd” because communism is committed to destroying all religion, which Marx called “the opiate of the masses.” The Shah understood that “Islamic Marxism” was an oxymoron, commenting: “Of course the two concepts are irreconcilable — unless those who profess Islam do not understand their own religion or pervert it for their own political ends.”
For Western TV cameras, protestors in Teheran carried empty coffins, or coffins seized from genuine funerals, proclaiming these were “victims of SAVAK.” This deception — later admitted by the revolutionaries — was necessary because they had no actual martyrs to parade. Another tactic: demonstrators splashed themselves with mercurochrome, claiming SAVAK had bloodied them.
The Western media cooperated. When Carter visited Iran at the end of 1977, the press reported that his departure to Teheran International Airport had been through empty streets, because the city was “all locked up and emptied of people, by order of the SAVAK.” What the media didn’t mention: Carter chose to depart at 6 a.m., when the streets were naturally empty.
Does that not sound like the rotten U.S. news media as we have come to know them?
Two major events propelled the revolution in Iran. On the afternoon of August 19, 1978, a deliberate fire gutted the Rex Cinema in Abadan, killing 477 people, including many children with their mothers. Blocked exits prevented escape. The police learned that the fire was caused by Ruhollah Khomeini supporters, who fled to Iraq, where the ayatollah was in exile. But the international press blamed the fire on the Shah and his “dreaded SAVAK.” Furthermore, the mass murder had been timed to coincide with the Shah’s planned celebration of his mother’s birthday; it could thus be reported that the royal family danced while Iran wept. Communist-inspired rioting swept Iran.
Foreigners, including Palestinians, appeared in the crowds. Although the media depicted demonstrations as “spontaneous uprisings,” professional revolutionaries organized them. Some Iranian students were caught up in it. Here the Shah’s generosity backfired. As du Berrier pointed out:
“In his desperate need of men capable of handling the sophisticated equipment he was bringing in, the Shah had sent over a hundred thousand students abroad…. Those educated in France and America return indoctrinated by leftist professors and eager to serve as links between comrades abroad and the Communist Party at home.”
And doesn’t that sound like American academia as we have seen them at work in recent years?
When the demonstrations turned violent, the government reluctantly invoked martial law. The second dark day was September 8. Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Teheran were ordered to disperse by an army unit. Gunmen — many on rooftops — fired on the soldiers. The Shah’s army fired back. The rooftop snipers then sprayed the crowd. When the tragedy was over, 121 demonstrators and 70 soldiers and police lay dead. Autopsies revealed that most in the crowd had been killed by ammo non-regulation for the army. Nevertheless, the Western press claimed the Shah had massacred his own people.
The Shah, extremely grieved by this incident, and wanting no further bloodshed, gave orders tightly restricting the military. This proved a mistake. Until now, the sight of his elite troops had quieted mobs. The new restraints emboldened revolutionaries, who brazenly insulted soldiers, knowing they could fire only as a last resort.
Now we are reminded of the overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, in 2014.
On February 1, 1979, with U.S. officials joining the welcoming committee, Ayatollah Khomeini arrived in Iran amid media fanfare. Although counter-demonstrations, some numbering up to 300,000 people, erupted in Iran, the Western press barely mentioned them.
Khomeini had taken power, not by a constitutional process, but violent revolution that ultimately claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Numerous of his opponents were executed, usually without due process, and often after brutal torture. Teheran’s police officers — loyal to the Shah — were slaughtered. At least 1,200 Imperial Army officers, who had been instructed by [U.S. Air Force] General [Robert] Huyser not to resist the revolution, were put to death. Before dying, many exclaimed, “God save the King!” “On February 17,” reported du Berrier, “General Huyser faced the first photos of the murdered leaders whose hands he had tied and read the descriptions of their mutilations.” At the year’s end, the military emasculated and no longer a threat, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. More Iranians were killed during Khomeini’s first month in power than in the Shah’s 37-year reign. Yet [President Jimmy] Carter, Ted Kennedy, and the Western media, who had brayed so long about the Shah’s alleged “human rights” violations, said nothing. Mass executions and torture elicited no protests. Seeing his country thus destroyed, the exiled Shah raged to an adviser: “Where are the defenders of human rights and democracy now?” Later, the Shah wrote that there was not a word of protest from American human rights advocates who had been so vocal in denouncing my “tyrannical” regime! It was a sad commentary, I reflected, that the United States, and indeed most Western countries, had adopted a double standard for international morality: anything Marxist, no matter how bloody and base, is acceptable.
It was the CFR clique — the same establishment entrenched in the Bush and Obama administrations — that ousted the Shah, resulting in today’s Iran. That establishment also chanted for the six-year-old Iraq War over alleged weapons of mass destruction never found. Therefore, instead of contemplating war with Iran, a nation four times Iraq’s size, let us demand that America shed its CFR hierarchy and their interventionist policy that has wrought decades of misery, and adopt a policy of avoiding foreign entanglements, and of minding our own business in international affairs.
If we concede that the Americans and the British took down the Shah and, essentially, replaced him with the Ayatollah, the big question that remains is why it was done. It certainly seems counter-intuitive. For the answer to that question, what we wrote in that article seven years ago still seems to hold good and needn’t be repeated here. Check out the last two sections in particular. It’s all about the ancient rule of divide-and-conquer and the more modern one of what is considered best for Israel. An Israel seen as a constantly beleaguered island of democracy and Western values in a sea of violent, anti-Western fanaticism is more worthy of sympathy and support by Western populations. In a word, even semi-enlightened secular despots are bad for Israel and must be taken down. More recently, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi were leaders fitting that mold who had to go, followed by the continuing unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Assad in Syria.
The policy could hardly be more cynical because the welfare of the people living in the countries ruled over by those despots is the last consideration. Adding the massive bloodshed of the Iran-Iraq War as one of the results of the Shah’s overthrow and further Western meddling in the region shows the true heinousness of our activities. It is something to bear in mind as we are being urged to help Ukrainians fight the Russians, right down to the last Ukrainian, it would appear.
As a final note, the fact that we have not been told by our NOMA (national opinion-molding apparatus) about our role in the take-down of the Shah might be considered a further indicator of who was ultimately behind it. They haven’t told us about the truth about the deaths of American Secretary of Defense James Forrestal or Lawrence of Arabia either, have they?