In 1953, absolute monarchy in Iran was waning into nothing more than a symbolic institution like those in certain European countries and making room for a democratic system with the guidance of political leaders such as Dr. Mohammad Mosadeq, who nationalized the huge British oil holdings in Iran, and almost succeeded in toppling the shah.
As an outspoken advocate of nationalism, he prevented the Soviet Union from an oil concession for northern Iran like the British concession in the south of the country.
However, this movement came to a halt with the 19 August 1953 Coup d’état against his democratic government. Absolute monarchy was thus able to renew itself and gain new life.
One result of the coup was the rise once again of the mullahs in Iran, not least since they enjoyed the backing of the Shah.
That’s why it said that Khomeini was the real heir to Shah’s throne and a direct result of the Pahlavi dictatorship.
Ayatollah Reza Zanjani writes in his book ‘Mosadeq and History’:
“In the 1940s, the clergy was on the verge of demise. The Pahlavi rule once again resuscitated it. Meanwhile, Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi cracked down on students and intellectuals, who have historically been the antithesis of the mullahs’ outlook, and he censored books and the media.”
This was a time when just reading the novel ‘The Little Black Fish’ was considered a crime. In 1964, Mehdi Bazargan, a scholar and first prime minister of Iran after the 1979 revolution, said in his court hearing: “We are the last group who will speak with you peacefully.”
Eyewitnesses testified that prisoners were lashed, and some even lost the flesh on their feet all the way up to below the knees. Others simply disappeared.
Martin Ennals, Amnesty International’s Secretary General in 1975, described Shah’s human rights record as the worst globally. That year, he spoke of brutal tortures in Iran.
Just as images of wealthy areas of Tehran today are not an indication of a thriving economy, photos of women without the ‘hijab’ in Iran prior to the 1979 revolution prove nothing.
The bogus lie that Iranians lived affluent lives at the time of the Shah is laid bare when the camera lens is turned toward southern Tehran or hundreds of other cities. There, there was an abundance of poverty, prostitution, unemployment, and shantytowns.
This is while Shah’s corrupt office had such huge expenses that Amb. Sullivan, the US Ambassador expressed bewilderment.
Hoveyda, the Shah’s Prime Minister, writes in his memories: “Sometimes when his Majesty went skiing on his private ski line in Switzerland, his accompanying government delegation had to travel to his villa at great expense simply to hold their government session.”
Finally, although a return to the monarchy in Iran is a historic impossibility, we should be vigilant that this group sows discord, is infiltrated by the current regime, and presents unrealistic solutions such as a sudden meltdown of the regime without any price. As such, this group can slow down the process of the current revolution in Iran.
Let’s not forget that a rejection of both the Shah and the Mullahs will ultimately lead to long-lasting freedom.