Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1953 in Context

By Paul Iddon

The coup undertaken by the British and American intelligence agencies in 1953 against the democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh was an unfortunate but highly significant moment in Iranian history. Nevertheless it should not be used as justification for the unmentionable acts of those ruling Iran at present.

Mohammad Mossaddegh.
There seems to be an underlying presumption in a large part of Iranian political discussion and discourse that all of Iran's problems can be blamed on the United States and Britain, as it was their combined intelligence services which executed the coup d'etat that subverted Mohammad Mosaddegh's move for power as the democratically elected Prime Minister of the country. And who, on top of this, had made a bid to try and nationalize Iran's vast oil reserves which had been then falling into the hands of foreign British and American owned oil corporations. Mosaddegh was by all means a true Iranian patriot, a true nationalist who should be seen as an icon for those at present rallying and battling against the repression of the Iranian state and its inhabitants from internal as well as external forms of oppression.

Following this coup the Shah was reinstated to the peacock throne, and gradually made the transition from a constitutional monarch into an authoritarian one with continued support from the foreign powers who orchestrated said coup, throughout the rest of his reign he gradually became more isolated from his people, a prime and pivotal example of this (which is cited by many historians as the beginning of the end for the Pahlavi dynasty) was the 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire held in Persepolis, which was mostly planned and organized by western contractors and attended by wealthy aristocratic foreigners. This in turn effectively excluded and marginalized the majority of Iranians in their own backyard.

Also the SAVAK secret police used fear as a means of preventing widespread dissent against the Shah's rule and oft tortured political prisoners, this widespread evidential discontent eventually culminated in every layer of Iranian society taking to the streets to demand reform and change, this eventually led to the Iranian Army being stopped cold when its soldiers conscientiously objected to carry out their orders which were to effectively suppress large amounts of their fellow countrymen using live ammunition in order to secure the throne of a disillusioned megalomaniac -- who had become so transparently isolated from his own people as a result of being palpably deluded by his American backers who themselves had no firm grasp on not just the situation in Iran in the mid to late 1970's but Iranian society and cultural traditions as a whole.

In their report about the coup against Mosaddegh the CIA stated their actions in Iran may have some blow-back in the future, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that a lot of the discontent among Iranians was a direct result of the harsh measures the Shah took to ensure he solidified his hold on power, which for a large part included the affliction of brutal secret police forces like the SAVAK on Iranian civil society making Iranians extremely reluctant and hesitant of even voicing a negative opinion against the monarchy or its policies in public for fear of their livelihoods and to a greater extent, their actual lives.

Whilst the 1953 coup was carried out for strategic purposes for the major western powers to ensure their hegemony over Iran's vast oil resources a substantial motivating factor for many protesters who marched on the streets in 1978-79 was the misconception that the overthrowing of the Shah would lead to a home-grown democracy and the nationalization of Iran's oil which would make the country and its people extremely wealthy, instead the Islamic Republic was born and has since seen a turbulent 32 year history.

The 1953 coup isn't a conspiracy theory, but a long history of British coveting and colonialism in Persia seems to have given creed and paranoia to the clerical cast who guide the current proverbial Iranian ship of state and attribute everything bad that happens to conspiracies against them executed by shady foreign powers, Iraj Pezeshkzad recognized the ludicrousness of such schizophrenic and eventual hateful beliefs back in the early 1970's when he penned the now famous novel My Uncle Napoleon which was adapted into a television show, both of which have been banned by the theocrats when they took power in 1979. The current ruling theocracy itself harbours such paranoia and highly delusional beliefs that Pezeshkzad poked fun at, and have become just as oppressive as the Shah, the only difference being they're a completely home-grown internal form of oppression, not one heavily backed and influenced by external powers, but a form of oppression against the majority of the Iranian people nonetheless. Such a regime should be held accountable for the actions they carry out inside as well as outside of Iran's borders, if the western powers are to seriously conduct themselves by engaging in dialogue with the Iranian regime over issues Iran is heavily involved in, such as Palestine, Hamas, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Iraq and its own nuclear program they need to know whether those representing Iran and its people were in turn appointed by the people who make up the Iranian state, if they are however (which I highly suspect) a regime maintained by elite clerical elements then the western powers have no choice but to take a more interventionist policy to give the Iranian people a fair say in how their state conducts itself in foreign affairs, as to deal with such a clerical cast would be a major disservice to the countless Iranians who are prohibited from having a say in their own affairs and who are forced on pain of torture and extreme brutality and moral degradation (that is the everyday norm for the wide range of political dissidents in the now infamous Evin prison) to remain silent and passive while their state -- which consists for the most part of noble respectable law abiding people -- is reduced to one run by violent repressive theocrats whose hallmark is that of violence and corruption. The effects and results of which are borne by the majority of the Iranian people. But this isn't just a provincial matter as this same regime has been caught meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq and Lebanon trying to destabilize and prevent them from becoming functioning democracies by taking an opportunistic approach in which to export their theocratic authoritarianism.

The young and maturing generation of Iranians have grown more and more discontent with the way in which they are governed and would rather see the proverbial ship of state navigated into the future by a compass rather than by clerical dogma which has gone as far as to blame ever growing problems such as the issue of impending earthquakes on something as preposterous as promiscuous women. These young democrats have become part of yet another generation of disenfranchised Iranians who have since 1953 been denied their right as noble citizens to live in harmony in their own country, this right has been denied to them for the past 58 years by a rather banal trend of tyrants, one more despicable and deplorable than the last.


Anonymous said...

So Mr. Iddon, how can a "democracy movement" be democratic when it attempts to overturn a democratic election return?

And how can these so-called democrats be democratic when they attempt to impose their minority views on the majority?

And how can efforts at public order be considered repressive when it is supported by a 3:1 majority of the electorate?

And why are you omitting independence and popular mandated sovereignty from your 1979 revolutionary narrative?

And who's Iranian views are you speaking for? You're certainly not speaking on behalf of the mainstream majority of Iranians living in Iran.

Apparently you didn't take the time to read the links provided to you in the comment section of your last column.

Here they are again:

Please give these links a read.

And then if you still feel the way you do, acknowledge the fact that you are advocating on behalf of a minority against a more than 3:1 majority. That way you'll at least be honest about it.

Paul Iddon said...

@ Anon 9:06 AM

I'd appear shady if I didn't respond to your comments.

The main point I'm trying to get across in this article is that there is a young and growing generation of Iranians who are immensely in favour with changing the theocratic system altogether, my main allusion is that this discontent felt among this generation of young Iranians is similar to that felt by the generation that rallied behind Khomeini to overthrow a western imposed despot only to have a home-grown despot imposed upon this generation, and like the previous generation before them they don't want to live in fear of being imprisoned and/or tortured for merely publicly voicing heartfelt qualms they have of the authoritarian theocracy that is imposed unconditionally on nearly every aspect of their lives.

These are not the characteristics one could reasonable expect from any self-professed democratic system.

This whole thing is a much broader and more serious all round issue than the results of the June 2009 presidential elections.

However since these elections Iran has become one of the biggest authoritarian states in the world, it ranks 9th and is just behind Saudi Arabia which is 7th.

This is something we should be very concerned about!

Anonymous said...

Lol. You have to be very blind to not see that it's hard for Iranians to show their voice using their filternet. That or a pawn of the Iranian Propaganda machine and press' herasat.

The way people are suffering now, they don't even have the chance to speak. Due to your 'wonderful and democratically elected supported regime', Mr Anonymous, inflation has made it so that people sell kidneys to pay debts, all through a process where the regime is the middleman.

If you think the current regime of Iran is in anyway humane, then you are a peasant and a coward of the nth degree. Look at some facts, please. You are talking about a nation which sinks 40% of it's own country's budget into lost causes and corrupt governments in the regions of Palestine while extorting it's people for basic necessities such as gas, meat, and bread.

Who are you to say everyone is okay? Certainly not an Iranian or an intellectual, that's for sure. Your slaughter of basic grammar is a huge give away.

Did you donate your kidney to pay for food? Did you ever go to a bank to see that it can't give you money because it has everything on credit with no backing? Did you get beat by Basij police and have your gf raped by democratically elected officials?

I did. My parents before me were also murdered for their beliefs in a secular government during 1979 and my entire family has been harassed by these apes you call 'democratically elected' and in the name of 'Islam'.

I am just glad I live in Switzerland now where I don't stumble across ignorant people such as yourself whom day to day do nothing but waste away at others' braincells.

The only Iran which is the real Iran is not one run by Ahmadinejad, not by Shah, not by Mousavi, and not by the Ayatollah.

The only true and real Iran is the Iran of the Parsi's and the Iran during Mossadegh's short but great rule.

Iran's flag should not have a lion, a sun, religious advocation, or any symbol for that matter.

It should simply be:
- Green
- White
- Red

In the global world, Persians aren't known for being lions or religious nuts. They are known for their culture, intelligence and hospitality. Something which ties back to the indo-persian Pars period.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but 1- over 80% of Iranians regularly turn out to participate in their elections (thus disproving the notion that the government in unpopular) and 2- multiple polls by US organizations found that over 60% voted for Ahmadinejad. Those are hard facts. Get used to them.

Anonymous said...

"However since these elections Iran has become one of the biggest authoritarian states in the world, it ranks 9th and is just behind Saudi Arabia which is 7th."

Who's ranking?

And if a fringe of young people wish to overturn an election by mob rule, or subvert the wishes of a greater than 3:1 majority, that you call democratic?

And by tagging the IRI as "theocratic," is your beef with the Vali-ye faqih? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to see the U.S. Constitution and its branches of government agitated against by mob action on the street. Why is that somehow okay in support of a fringe minority in Iran against its mainstream majority? Because you happen to share this fringe group's Western-centric attitudes?

Anonymous said...

Lol. They only participate in hope of swaying the government via proxy of the president (see also: Khatemi's period).

60% voted for ahmadinejad? Wow! I wonder how Iran's economy froze during the protests if that number was really true?! I mean, 60%... Jeez, surely those 60% would keep the economy from 'freezing' or 'coming to a halt'. On top of that, isn't the economy of Iran "booming" and "flourishing" at unprecedented rates? How could it possible freeze from an election from less than 40% of the population ??(according to you).

Correlation does not imply causation.

Doesn't this come as standard knowledge when you leave mum and dad's house to go to your 'shahid' sponsored education and to write your thesis?

Do they also tell you that the world was formed in a few days and that all of it's creatures were saved from extinction via an arch?

I like how you have nothing to say against the facts by the way. It just shows how small of a person you really are.

Surely you are going to link me to some articles from presstv, farsnews and co. in your next post. I mean, they also represent Iranians right?

Open your eyes kid, don't let the regime's propaganda metronome cloud your view on the open and free world. Read some timeless novels, Pokhte-sho (as we say in persian). Then come and retract your previous naive comments.

Question facts, see through propaganda, look at the history of the Iranian wikipedia article itself, look at the edit IPs, etc..

I don't know if I can help you any more than that, everything is out there, and as long as you look at .edu domains, world standards reports, Geneva court criticisms, UN reports etc.. You will see true solid facts about what really goes on in the unfortunately Islamic Republic of Iran.

Anonymous said...

12:14 Anonymous:

I think the propaganda being spread here is rather obvious and it just as obviously comes from you. Note that when you question the results of an election, and claim massive fraud, you need to present substantial hard evidence if your claims are to be taken seriously. If you do not, than you are yourself spreading propaganda.

Reality: The "Green movement" has never presented any hard evidence to support their claim that any election results were falsified. The only thing they have presented are vague statements by prominently placed opposition figures that claim this took place, but never present any actual evidence to prove this. Standing against this we have poll results, including exit polls, which are universally recognized as giving the most accurate picture of an election, that closely match the final result. We have individual vote tallies from every polling station in Iran that back this up.

And note that the opposition has NEVER presented ANY evidence from A SINGLE polling station that shows these results were manipulated or fraudulent. NOT ONE. If the opposition cannot present evidence of vote tampering at ONE SINGLE polling station than those who are not predisposed to accept the opposition argument before hand can see how weak and devoid of support their claims of fraud are. Time for you to start questioning some of your own beliefs that are not supported by evidence.

Anonymous said...

Now for the larger point in this post. Recently polls have shown majority support for the Islamic Republic and they also show majority support for suppressing demonstrations. What we see in the comment section exposes a very common attitude among the middle class and upper middle class in some non Western countries. Because they adopt a pro Western attitude, and want to emulate the West, including its decadent and consumerist lifestyle (note that they feel entitled to receive the large amounts of money required to sustain this lifestyle at all costs) they assume almost all others think as they do.

Despite the fact they are not a majority, and the majority of the working class and poor do not agree with them, they continue to believe that because a majority of the people of their particular class hold similar opinions, they represent a majority of society as a whole. We can see this in the recent Iranian elections, where it was obvious that only about 30% (once again, overwhelmingly from the middle and upper middle classes) oppose the current system to any significant degree. Add to this the fact that many of the voter for Musavi, etc wanted only relatively mild reforms and did not want a wholesale rejection of an Islamic Republic.

This leaves a hard core of opposition supporters that do not represent more than 20% of the population, and probably are far less than that. Add to this the divisions among this group. Some are secular nationalists, some are monarchists hoping for a return to royal dictatorship, some are leftists, etc. Now the Islamic Republic may indeed be a theocracy, and it undoubtly represses people and restricts expression of political views. The problem the pro Western "reformers" have is that a majority of Iranians have no problem with this and indeed support it. To succeed, the "Reformers" must clearly demonstrate that their policies will benefit a substantial majority of Iranians (not just a privileged upper middle class). They have so far notably failed to do so, which is why, despite their claims, they represent a vocal minority rather than a majority.

Anonymous said...

Lol. Do you have any idea of Iran's inflation rate during this term of Mr Ahmadinejad?

Please, really, go read some papers. Iran has gone as far as to stop issuing updates on the matter as of the 4th.

During almost every president's term before him, the inflation rate has been stable.

But it is predicted to be 20%-26% now, from 13%-15%. The working class don't need food man, it's alright, they have Bromadinejad, all good bro. This along with the lowest GDP growth are just some examples.

I know you might not be inclined at math, but 26 = 13 x 2

Let alone devaluing the currency and the cost of living.

Every, single, one, of the aspects of total monetary and liquid assets owned by Iran are projected to be sharply negative. It has coincidentally been like this since 2009. Coincident, ofcourse.

You think only the upper middle class support Mousavi ?

Even people in the smallest cities and ghettos said in many world interviews that they support him. The sole subject which you bring up, is false. These outlets include: Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC, Various other outlets, and even Russia Today had a piece on it believe it or not.

If the results were not manipulated, Iran would be wide open to independent counts. As it stands, this has yet to happen.

Please don't ridicule yourself any more my friend you are preaching to the quire and the hesarat of IRIB and Iran's propaganda machine.

Your words are nothing more than a dunce cap building up to it's peak.

Now watch this:

And tell me how working class are doing. Man, they sure are living a much better life. God bless ahmadinejad.

Bahram said...

According to the self proclaimed spokesperson of the "green Revolution" Ahmadinejad recieved less than 6 million votes, Mousavi recieved 19 million votes and Karoubi 13 million. But Every single time an Independant poll has been conducted in Iran asking Iranians who they voted for, the results have always mirrored the official result of the elections( the one that the Greens claimed was fraudulent)How is that possible? Are Globescan, World Public Opinion and the University of Meryland all puppets of the Islamic Republic? Is every home in Iran have a Basiji perminantly posted to it to insure that if ever a telephone survey is conducted of the household that the answears given are in line with the official story?
If according to the spokesperson of the "Green Revolution" 32million out of 38 million voters are against Ahmadinejad and the very nature of the Islamic Republic then what ever Happened to the Green Revolution? Its been over two years you know, are these supposed 32 million people really this "be orzeh" that they can't accomplish in two years what the Egyptions managed to do in 18 Days? It seems to me that the only facts that the "greens" like are the ones that they can make up them selves!

Anonymous said...

Mr Iddon Thank you for a very interseting article. However i believe you forgot to mention the betrayal of "Ayatollah" Kashani in betryaing Mossadeq and Iranian national front. (Gebheye Melli) This is a fact in the contemporary history of Iran that every Iranian should be aware of.

Steve said...

Paul Iddon still at it, and still in the same screwed way as ever.

If the West wouldn't have Mossadegh removed with a coup and installed a new Shah to keep Iranian oil under British control, Iran by now would be a flourishing democracy. The detour via some sort of theocracy was forced upon Iran by the West.
As you correctly point out, Iranian youths are about to change this, but they do this completely on their own and not for the pleasure of corrupt western zionist slime bags.
What started in Iran during 2009 elections and what's still happening in Iran right now, is a classical generation conflict, and it will end up with the Iranian youth carving out a lot more space to wiggle.
Every interference of the West in this process will only hamper the transition, as the conservatives will easily be able to denounce the reformers as western puppets, spies or terrorists.

Anonymous said...

This regime democratically elected by the majority what a joker! This regime is holding the Iranian population down by forces of basij IRGC and thugs dressed as police running over people shooting them raping them and some people on this site say that the majority of Iranian people support this disgusting regime in your dreams little boys.Just wait and watch from the safety of your daddies home in Europe and US little mullah boys when the Iranian nation kicks your stinking mullah loving asses out of Iran for ever.Remember this also when all of you and your rotten families are abroad we will come after you put you in a sack and take you back to Iran ready for prosecution and money retrieval of the nations wealth which has been stolen in the last 32 years.So sleep tight traitors believing that majority of people support this evil demoniac blood thirsty regime.What a bunch of filthy traitors and sad losers.