January 16, 2015


Iran's Beef (Norman Moss, 1/14/15, ISN)

Iranians remember with chagrin that for a long time, outside powers decided what policies they should follow and who be their leader.

Iran was important to Europe, and particularly Britain, as a source of oil, and Britain dominated its politics. In World War Two it became important because of its strategic position also, and Britain and Russia occupied it. The British deposed Shah Reza Pahlavi and put his son on the throne. When they suspected that the Prime Minister, General Zahedi, was pro-German, a few special forces men marched him out of his office at pistol point.

For a people with a proud history and a monarchy dating back 2,500 years to Cyrus the Great, this was humiliating.

More was to come. In 1950 the elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadeq, nationalised the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which dominated the Iranian economy, and sidelined the Shah. The Communist Party gained in popularity. In 1953 the CIA and the British Intelligence Service organised a coup, deposing Mossadeq and installing in his place General Zahedi, the man the British had turned out of the Prime Ministerial office ten years earlier. The Shah disposed of the constitution and ruled autocratically, backed by Savak, his feared secret police. He was a firm ally of the West.

Tom Gabbay's The Tehran Conviction is an unusually good spy thriller that rehearses this history, with a heavy debt to Stephen Kinzer's All the Shah's Men

Posted by at January 16, 2015 2:29 PM

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