Iran: A Case Study – Part 1

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The first oil discoveries in the Middle East were made by the British in Iran, in 1909. A company, Anglo-Persian Oil was formed to exploit this concession. This find also ignited the already brutal contest between Britain and Germany. During the 2nd World War, Iran was occupied in the north by the Russians, and in the south by the British, to pre-empt a tilt toward Germany by Iran ‘s ruler the Shah of Iran. He was sent into exile, to South Africa.

After the war, the Russians withdrew, but the British stayed on. In 1951, a nationalist, Mohammed Mossadeq became Prime Minister of the country.  He fought for economic independence, and for Iran to control its own oil policies.In 1953, he nationalized Anglo Iranian Oil Company,or AIOC.  In response the british pturned to the Americans for help.

In return for a half share in Irans oil industry, Washington stepped in, and overthrew Mossadeq. The CIA was the contracter assigned this job. The project was called “Operation Ajax”. Google this for more details. The CIA man on the ground was Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt. With the help of the bazaar merchants, the Iranian mafia, the “chekou kesh”, and the clergy, the job was done.

After this coup, the Shah of Iran was put back into power. In 1957, the Shah established a state security organization, Savak. From the start, Iran’s new intelligence service received a great deal of support from Israel’s Mossad, especially relying on Mossad torture specialists. The Israeli connection to Savak at this time penetrated deep into Irans clergy; in that year there were 11 Mossad agents in Iran to help organize Savak. By 1976, over 500 Israeli intelligence personnel were stationed in Teheran, where they were involved in almost every branch of the Savak apparatus.

The Savak also began to put on its payroll a vast army of mullahs and ayatollahs, preferring those with links to the chaqou-kesh. Salaries ranged from as low as $100 a month to as high as $1000 a month. On of the people placed on the savak payroll was  an obscure mullah named Ruhollah Khomeini, at a salary of $300 per month. Now, comes the interesting parts;

1962: The first head of Savak was Teymour Bakhtiar. Early in the year, the Shah fired him as he was formenting rebellion against the Shah. Bakhtiar fked Iran to Geneva. Later that year the Shah went to Washington and made a deal with President Kennedy. The Shah proposed a deal to JFK; If kennedy would allow the Shah to fire Prime Minister Amini, the Shah would agree to the policies demanded by Washington. Upon his return to Teheran, the Shah fired Amini – and then reneged on the deal. Kennedy was outraged.

Kennedy called Bakhtia to the White House for a meet.  The subject of the meeting: to plot against the Shah. The means they selected: Ruhollah Khomeini.

It is one of the ironies of history that the man responsible for bringing down the Shah in 1979 was a paid agent of foreign powers. To begin with his name is not really Khomeini. He selected the name “Ruhullah Khomeini” for himself sometime in the 1930s. Because his grandfather was born  in Kashmir, India, one of his brothers chose the name “hindi “, because of his business dealings with India. Since the days he was a religious student, Khomeini received rations from the British, under the label of ‘monthly tuition’ from the proceeds of the Indian awqaf (religious affairs dept), received monthly payments from British agents and was in constant contact with his masters.

The CIA was not the only agency sponsoring the 1953 overthrow of Mossadeq. Ayatollah Kashani was the chief clergy in Iran, and he was close to the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Iran, the Fedayeen-e Islam. In the 1950s, the leader of the Fedayeen was Ayatollah Navabsafavi. With between 200 and 300 members, the Fedayeen was in secret existence since the early 1940s, when the MB’s apparatus in Egypt – which itself had been cut out of whole cloth by MI6- extended its reach into Iran. The Iranian branch of the MB was known almost exclusively  for its spectacular assassinations, including the murders of at least two prime ministers.

British intelligence’s influence over Irans clergy was no secret, even many years ago. The Shah’s twin sister, Ashraf Pahlavi , in her book, ‘Faces in a mirror’ wrote:” Many influential clergymen formed alliances with representatives of foreign powers, most often the British. And there was, in fact, a standing joke in Persia that said if you picked up a clergymans beard, you would see the words “Made in England” stamped on the other side.”

During the previous year, Khomeini  had been working extensively with Bakhtiars Savak.. Building a reputation for himself  as an uncompromising fanatical ideologue, he was fast becoming a cult hero for many Iranians. It was Khomeini who would be pushed forward to lead the fight against the Shah’s 1963 “White Revolution”.

There were three groups of British agents who led the anti-Shah revolts of 1963.The first was the Freemasons in Iran- who sided with the British during the struggles over the nationalization of the oil industry; the second were the feudal class, and the third were the clergy.

In 1962, the bearded ayatollah with the evil stare issued his first major proclamation, attacking the government’s plan to enfranchise women as a violation of the status of women in Islam. Then , in

1963, when the White Revolution was underway, Khomeini had his first serious confrontation with the Shah ,- ten years after he had marched in the streets to bring the Shah to power.

The White Revolution challenged Iran’s old families, since it expropriated feudal estates and either handed them over to peasants or turned them into state co-ops.. The act struck at the heart of the feudal-clergy alliance. By January 1963, Khomeini was arrested for accusing the Shah of violating Islam’s precepts by the nationalization measures. Released, and arrested several times, the Shah finally had enough. He sent Khomeini into exile. Khomeini went first to Turkey, and later settled in Iraq.

Meanwhile, general Bakhtiar had quietly moved from his Swiss headquarters to Iraq, where he operated secretly in Baghdad. British influence in Iraq was then strong.  Together, Bakhtiar, Khomeini and British Intelligence continued to stir up trouble in Iran. In August 1970, the Shah assassinated bakhtiar. For Khomeini, now a lonely mullah in Iraq, his chief sponsor and patron was dead.

Khomeinis return to Iran on February 1, 1979, marked a years long Anglo-American campaign to destabilize Iran. Not for a moment during his exile was he out of control of MI6. With the coming to power in 1968 of the Baath Party in Iraq, Khomeini was kept under a careful watch by Baghdads intelligence services., who did not want him stirring up trouble among the large Shia population of Iraq. Because of his status as a religious leader, the Iraqis believed it impossible to arrest him.

Millions of middle class Iranians fled the country  rather than endure the Khomeini regime’s horrors. At the beginning, because many Iranians chafed under the Shah’s one-man rule, they naively thought that by supporting Khomeinis movement, they could rid themselves of the Shah, and then dispense with Khomeini. Such was not the case.

In any developing country, the ruler- if he is even remotely concerned with the country’s welfare- is faced with the fundamental problem : how to end the misery and backwardness of the rural peasants. The peasant – uneducated and unaware of the world outside- is locked at a level not much higher than his beasts of burden. Such a population is desperately in need of an education program, to enable it to become capable of assimilating modern technology.

The life of rural idiocy makes the peasant population vulnerable to manipulation or bribery that molds it into a “popular rebellion”.

Khomeini’s insane version of Islam has made him the subject of ridicule among aother Muslims, both sunni and shia. Many of the highest authorities in the Muslim world, the ulema (clergy) condemn him as a heretic for, among other reasons – probably the most sacrilegious thing that a Muslim could say – claiming that he himself is more powerful than the Prophet Muhammed. Many shia resent the fact that Khomeini has usurped the title of the “Imam”, for that title is an extremely solemn one for tjose of the shia faith. Many even argue that Khomeini cannot even legitimately be called an “ayatollah”.

Let’s fast forward to 1972. The british Empire is very broke. Its financial position forced it to withdraw from many areas around the world. The Persian Gulf was one such region. The Americans moved in and replaced the British.  The Americans placed The Shah of Iran as their new regional policeman. Due to rising oil prices, Iran had the ability to buy huge amounts of arms from the US.  It had the financial means to industrialise its economy, as well as modernizing its armed forces.

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