Home News Iran Politics How the Mullahs’ Regime Used the Shah’s SAVAK After Iran’s 1979 Revolution

How the Mullahs’ Regime Used the Shah’s SAVAK After Iran’s 1979 Revolution

Based on documented evidence, both the Shah's regime and the subsequent mullah's regime have openly admitted that SAVAK was never formally dissolved and instead operated under the guidance of Khomeini, in conjunction with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) committees.

In 1979, Iran experienced a revolution that aimed to overthrow the oppressive rule of the monarchy. Hopes were high that the new leadership would dismantle all repressive institutions, particularly the notorious security police known as SAVAK, which had been responsible for the torture and death of countless dissenters.

Despite the expectations of most people who had bravely fought against Shah’s oppressive forces on the streets, the revolution was seized by the regime of Ruhollah Khomeini, which diverted it from its original path. Consequently, most previous repressive forces and the regime’s torture chambers remained intact, ultimately aiding Khomeini in establishing a new and brutal medieval regime.

This development was a disappointment for those who had aspired to bring genuine change and a departure from the oppressive practices of the past. Instead, the revolution’s potential to bring about a more just and free society was undermined, and the people of Iran were under the rule of a repressive regime that mirrored most of the atrocities and even worse they had fought against.

On December 22, 1978, newspapers quoted the prime minister of the Shah’s regime, Shahpour Bakhtiar, who promised that the SAVAK will be dismantled. The regime’s intention was to pacify the people and prevent a revolution. Thus, he introduced the program of the dissolution of the SAVAK to the parliament.

On February 6, 1979, five days before the fall of the monarchy, the regime’s parliament also approved this plan, but strangely, despite the complete collapse of the Pahlavi dictatorship, the employees of SAVAK – which was legally disbanded – continued their work.

According to Mousavi Morteza, a former head of the Third Department of Operations in the SAVAK Anti-Espionage Directorate, in his book titled “SAVAK from Establishment to Dissolution,” an announcement was made from Moghadam’s office, the head of SAVAK, on February 11, 1979. The announcement instructed SAVAK bases to send their employees home at 12 noon and advise them to remain there.

As a result, SAVAK remained intact, and most of its employees, with a few exceptions, continued their work. Some individuals, like Parviz Sabeti, former Director of the SAVAK counter-terrorism division, managed to flee the country, while a small number were brought to justice by the people. However, this time, a new generation of revolutionary youths and organizations, who aspired and dreamt of a new democratic country, became the targets of SAVAK’s operations.

In another section of his book, Mousavi mentions a deal between the remnants of SAVAK and Khomeini’s regime. According to this account, Khomeini proposed granting safe conduct to high-ranking SAVAK officers, ensuring their release even if they were arrested by the people. Moreover, they were allowed to resume their positions and work within the regime.

These revelations shed light on the collaboration between elements of the old SAVAK apparatus and the new regime.

According to Morteza’s book, the director of the general anti-espionage department of SAVAK was able to establish contact with Ebrahim Yazdi, the temporary deputy prime minister at that time. The interim government recognized the urgent need for anti-espionage personnel, but due to the transitional phase, they advised patience.

The director was instructed to inform his colleagues to remain hidden temporarily. Additionally, the director was assured that if any members of the SAVAK anti-espionage staff were arrested, they should not be sent to prison. This was to allow the new regime to handle their employment and placement.

It is important to acknowledge that even the smallest actions taken in dealing with SAVAK were carried out with the explicit approval and support of Khomeini himself. As the leader of the regime and the subsequent establishment of the new regime, Khomeini played a significant role in shaping the direction and policies concerning SAVAK and its personnel.

Khomeini’s involvement recognizes that decisions regarding the fate of SAVAK and its members were not made independently or without the knowledge and consent of the highest authority in the new regime. This underscores the level of control and influences Khomeini exerted over the process of dismantling the old regime’s apparatus and raises questions about his motivations and intentions regarding the handling of SAVAK and its former employees.

On September 10, 2020, the state-run daily Shargh wrote: “Imam (Khomeini) ordered Yazdi to protect the vicinity of the embassy, ​​a committee under the name of the American embassy was stationed there from February 14, 1979, to August 12, 1979, under the leadership of Masha Allah Kashani.”

Since then, SAVAK started its second life under the full protection of Khomeini. The leaders of SAVAK made this very clear:

“On April 26, 1979, with the information of Engineer [Mehdi] Bazargan, the Prime Minister of the Provisional Government, with the cooperation of the Committee of Mashallah ‘Butcher’ and several members of the anti-espionage management of the disbanded SAVAK, we arrested Engineer Mohammad Reza Saadati.”

As a quid pro quo, the members of SAVAK requested Khomeini “to deliver a speech urging the people to refrain from harassing SAVAK members and their families.”

Khomeini initially responded positively and repaid SAVAK’s kindness a day later. “They reported to me that all the members of this damned SAVAK were not bad people, there are many good people among them, so I ask people not to harass these people and their families anymore.”

In his book about the cooperation between SAVAK and Khomeini’s regime, Parviz Sabeti wrote:

“Brigadier General Ali Akbar Farazian was the director general of the Second Directorate of SAVAK who at the time of the revolution was in the USA returned to Iran and then worked with General Kaveh for 10 months for Bazargan, Chamran, and Yazdi. Yazdi and Chamran, who were in contact with the Americans, went to a section of SAVAK (anti-espionage department) and then they returned Farazian and worked for a while.”

Based on documented evidence, both the Shah’s regime and the subsequent mullah’s regime have openly admitted that SAVAK was never formally dissolved and instead operated under the guidance of Khomeini, in conjunction with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) committees.

After Shah’s escape, SAVAK’s responsibilities were broadened and integrated into institutions like the Ministry of Intelligence, the IRGC’s Intelligence division, and various other oppressive organizations. This allowed SAVAK to adapt and survive in various manifestations, ensuring its continuity over time.

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