Iran’s 35th Islamic Revolution Anniversary
by Stephen Lendman
February 11 marks the 35th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 revolution. A generation of repressive Reza Shah Pahlavi rule ended. More on this below.
In 1953, Theodore Roosevelt’s grandson Kermit engineered the CIA’s first coup against a sitting government. Iran’s democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh was ousted.
Reza Shah Pahlavi replaced him. He became Washington’s man in Tehran. A generation of severe repression followed.
Savak (National Intelligence and Security Organization) brutality reflected it. Crimes against humanity were horrific. Anyone considered threatening state authority was arrested, disappeared and eliminated.
Savak was Reza Shah’s Gestapo. CIA operatives were involved. They taught counterinsurgency skills. They included spying, interrogation methods and torture.
Iranians demanded no more. More on this below.
In late 1947, Iran rightfully demanded more control of its own oil. It wanted more revenues. Britain’s Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AOIC) refused.
In 1951, one month before Mohammad Mosaddegh became prime minister, parliament nationalized AOIC. Fair compensation was paid. Iran’s attempt to resolve things equitably failed.
Economic sanctions followed. So did an oil embargo. British banks froze Iranian assets. Major Anglo-American oil interests supported London.
Sound familiar? Current anti-Iranian sentiment replicates what occurred then.
As late as 1977, Jimmy Carter declared Iran an “oasis of stability.” He ignored years of brutal regime repression.
In 1978, protests began. State-sponsored repression followed. Dozens were killed. In mid-August, Prime Minister Jamshid Amouzegar declared martial law.
Days later, hundreds died in an Abadan cinema fire. Regime and opposition elements blamed each other.
In early September, hundreds of thousands of Ayatollah Khomeini supporters rallied in Tehran. Reza Shah enforced martial law.
He used security forces, tanks, and helicopters. He did so against peaceful protesters. Hundreds were killed. Some accounts said thousands. State-sponsored repression couldn’t quell unrest.
Protests continued. More deaths followed. Strikes shut down shops, universities, schools, oil installations, banks, government ministries, post offices, railways, newspapers, and other operations.
Government efforts to resolve things failed. On November 5, Reza Shah went on national television. He promised not to repeat past mistakes.
“I heard the voice of your revolution,” he said. “As Shah of Iran as well as an Iranian citizen, I cannot but approve your revolution.”
General Gholam Reza Azhari was appointed prime minister. Martial law was enforced. In early December, millions of Iranians rallied for Khomeini’s return.
They demanded Reza Shah’s removal. A 17-point resolution was prepared. It declared “the Ayatollah to be the leader of the Iranian people.”
It called on Iranians to oust Reza Shah. He appointed Shapour Bakhtiar prime minister. In mid-January, he left Iran.
In 1978, a White House Iran task force recommended replacing him with Ayatollah Khomeini. He was living in France at the time.
On February 1, he returned. He did so after 14 years in exile. Millions greeted his Tehran arrival. He addressed hundreds of thousands publicly.
He expressed opposition to years of repressive governance. He promised change.
On February 11, Pahlavi dynasty rule ended. In April, the Islamic Republic of Iran replaced it. A December 1979 referendum approved a new theocratic constitution.
Weeks earlier, students stormed America’s Tehran embassy. They did it nonviolently. They justifiably called it a den of espionage. “Great Satan” operatives infested it. They included hated CIA agents.
Fifty-three Americans were held captive for 444 days. Masoumeh Ebtekar acted as spokeswoman.
Students involved were young, very orderly and calm, she explained. US media scoundrels portrayed them otherwise.
Khomeini remained Iran’s spiritual and political leader until his June 1989 death. He was aged 86 when he died.
At issue was a larger scheme. Washington wanted regional balkanization. Doing it along tribal and religious lines was planned. Policy involved creating an “arc of crisis” through Central Asia to Soviet Russia.
Accomplishing it in 1978 became urgent. Reza Shah was negotiating a 25-year oil deal with British Petroleum (BP).
In October, talks broke down. BP demanded exclusive rights to future output. It refused to guarantee oil purchases.
Reza Shah balked. He sought new buyers. He did so in Europe and elsewhere. He hoped to create a modern energy infrastructure.
He wanted it built around nuclear power. He wanted to transform Iranian and regional power needs.
He envisioned 20 new reactors by 1995. He wanted diversification. He wanted Iran less dependent on oil.
He wanted petrodollar dependency weakened. He wanted increased foreign investments.
Washington tried blocking him. It failed. Its usual tactics followed. Iranian oil purchases were cut.
Other economic pressures were instituted. Instability was fueled. It was done through oil strikes, religious rivalries, and other disruptive practices. At issue was inciting anti-Shah sentiment.
Major media scoundrels regurgitated government propaganda. Khomeini got a public stage to speak. Reza Shah was prevented from responding.
In January 1979, things came to a head. As explained above, Reza Shah fled. Ayatollah Khomeini returned. He proclaimed the Islamic Republic. He did so with overwhelming public support.
He cancelled Iran’s nuclear plans. US officials thought they could control him. They envisioned business as usual. They miscalculated.
Iran became independent. Tensions built. Thirty-five years later they remain. Washington wants regime change.
It wants earlier harshness restored. It wants control of Iranian oil and gas. Iran’s central bank is publicly run. So are most other Iranian banks.
Islamic law prohibits usury. Western banks thrive on it and much more. Washington wants Iranian banks privatized. It wants money control in private hands. It wants state control ended.
Iranians want none of it. Annual Islamic Revolution commemorations feature imperial opposition.
Iranians remember their bad old days. Parents taught children and youths. Students learned their history in school.
They know about corrupting Western values. They know how they compromise their own. They want them preserved, not ended.
They know America wants regime change. Ayatollah Khamenei said US officials lie when they claim otherwise. Hamid Reza Emadi is Press TV’s news director.
“There is every reason why Iran cannot and should not trust the United States of America,” he said. He stressed US hypocrisy.
He said America doesn’t “respect any country on planet earth. (It) violates international law since drones assassinate people in other countries.”
It has no “respect for the territorial integrity of other countries.” It cares only about its own interests. It violates fundamental rule of law principles pursuing them. It does so ruthlessly.
Iranians have long memories. They were fooled before. Hopefully not again. They want no part of Western dominance. They want their sovereign independence preserved.
On February 11, expect nationwide commemorations. They’ve already begun. On February 1, they began at 9:33AM Tehran time.
It’s when Ayatollah Khomeini arrived home after 14 years in exile. He was mostly in Najaf, Iraq. He spent time in Turkey. He was in France near Paris when his liberating moment came.
February 1 marked the start of 10 celebratory days. They’re called the 10-Day Dawn festivities. They culminate in February 11 nationwide rallies.
On Saturday, February 1, Ayatolloh Khamenei visited Khomeini’s southern Tehran mausoleum.
On February 2, the Tehran Times headlined “Resilient Republic: On the 35th anniversary of the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.
It quoted University of South Florida Professor of Politics Mohsen Milani saying:
“Those who believe in the imminent collapse of the Islamic Republic underestimate its resiliency and misconstrue the nature of the popular discontent.”
The Tehran Times addressed US officials and Western pundits saying:
“Despite your dire predictions to the contrary, the Islamic Republic has endured; it is high time to give up wishful delusions of regime change!”
Columbia University Professor Ervand Abrahamian said:
“In the hectic months of 1979 – before the Islamic Republic had been officially declared – many Iranians as well as foreigners, academics as well as journalists, participants as well as observers, conservatives as well as revolutionaries, confidently predicted its imminent demise.”
Thirty-five years later it remains resilient. It’s despite everything America and rogue Western states did to subvert it.
In 1993, former Iranian Finance Minister Jahangir Amuzegar wrote:
“Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in February 1979, not a year has passed without some voice in the opposition predicting (its) approaching if not imminent collapse.”
Predictions persist. They do so annually. Doomsayers cite Iran’s 2,500-year-old monarchical tradition. They claim punishing sanctions seal Iran’s fate. So does isolation, they say.
They’ve been wrong for 35 years. Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett said Reza Shah’s insolence toward Islam destroyed his rule.
According to writer Mark Whittington and Professor Milani, eliminating Saddam transformed Iran into a more significant regional power. Its greatest imminent threat at the time was removed.
Israel remains. So does America’s presence. The Tehran Times attributes Iran’s resilience to “its deep roots in Shi’a Islam and pre-Islamic quest for monotheism…”
It “created a unique form of Islamic representative government that apparently suits the desires of a majority of its citizens.”
It congratulated the Iranian people on its 35 revolutionary anniversary. “The time has come for the US to recognize the Islamic Republic, which, no doubt, will continue to show its remarkable resilience well into the future,” said the Tehran Times.
It’s “here for good,” it added. Hopefully with eventual peace, stability and prosperity.
A Final Comment
On Saturday, Iranian naval vessels began sailing toward Atlantic Ocean waters. Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad said Iranian naval vessels “already started their voyage.”
They’re “approaching the United States’ maritime borders, and this move has a message.”
At issue is symbolically countering America’s Persian Gulf presence. In September 2012, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said deploying Iranian ships would happen “in the next few years.”
A year earlier, he said expect an Iranian naval buildup “near the maritime borders of the United States.” He referred to a “flotilla in the Atlantic.”
“Like the arrogant powers that are present near our maritime borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to” America, he said. A three month deployment is planned.
Being there isn’t belligerent. Iran threatens no one. It defends its sovereign independence. It wants it preserved. It’s too important to lose.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.