Cambridge University Press A History of Modern Iran

Cambridge University Press A History of Modern Iran

(Parte 1 de 7)

ERVA ND ABRAHAMIAN City University of New York

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB28RU, UK


First published in print format ISBN-13 978-0-511-41399-5

© Ervand Abrahamian 2008 2008

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List of maps page viii List of illustrations ix List of tables xi List of figures xii Chronology xiii Glossary xv A political who’s who of modern Iran xvii Preface xxvii

Introduction 1 1 “Royal despots”: state and society under the Qajars 8 2 Reform, revolution, and the Great War 34 3 The iron fist of Reza Shah 63 4 The nationalist interregnum 97 5 Muhammad Reza Shah’s White Revolution 123 6 The Islamic Republic 155

Notes 196 Bibliography 215 Further reading 218 Index 224 vii


1 Iran and the Middle East page xxix 2 Iranian provinces x viii


Valerian’s submission 83 5 Stamps (1963–78) 135 5.1 Set celebrating aspects of the White Revolution 135 5.2 Set commemorating Reza Shah 136 5.3 Stamp set commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the

Pahlavi dynasty 137 6 Statue of Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi during the revolution. Tehran, February 1979. Copyright Abbas/Magnum Photos 160

7 Woman passing soldiers during the revolution, Tehran, 1978.

Copyright Abbas/Magnum Photos. 160 8 Stamps from the Islamic Republic 170 8.1 Stamps for the forerunners of the Islamic Revolution 170 8.2 Stamp for Ayatollah Kashani 171 8.3 Two stamps for Ayatollah Beheshti and the seventy-two martyrs 171 8.4 Stamps issued by the Bazargan government for al-e Ahmad,

Shariati, Mossadeq, and Dehkhoda 172 8.5 Anniversary stamps for the Islamic Revolution 173 x Illustrations



1 Class structure (labor force in the 1970 s) page 140 2 Chart of the Islamic Constitution 165 xii


1901 D’Arcy Concession 1905 December Bastinadoing of merchants 1906 July Protest in British legation 1906 August Royal promise of constitution 1906 October First Majles opens 1907 August Anglo-Russian Convention 1908 First oil well 1908 June Coup d’état 1909 Anglo-Persian Oil Company formed 1909 July Revolutionaries capture Tehran 1909 November Second Majles opens 1911 Russian ultimatum 1912 British Navy converts from coal to oil 1919 August Anglo-Persian Agreement 1921 February Coup d’état 1925 Constituent Assembly terminates the Qajar dynasty 1926 Coronation of Reza Shah 1927 Abolition of capitulations 1928 New dress code 1933 Cancellation of D’Arcy Concession 1934 Official name change of Persia to Iran 1941 August Anglo-Soviet invasion 1951 Oil nationalization 1953 CIA coup 1963 White Revolution 1974 Quadrupling of oil prices 1975 Creation of Resurgence Party 1979 February Islamic Revolution xiii

1979 November Students take the US embassy

December Referendum for the Islamic constitution 1980 January Bani-Sadr elected president 1980 September Iraq invades Iran 1981 June Mojahedin uprising; Bani-Sadr dismissed; Khamenei elected President 1983 Iran invades Iraq 1988 Iran–Iraq War ends 1989 Khomeini dies; Khamenei elected Supreme Leader;

Rafsanjani elected president 1997 Khatemi elected president 2001 Khatemi reelected president 2005 Ahmadinejad elected president xiv Chronology

Glossary akhund derogatory term for cleric (rouhani) arbab landlord ashraf aristocrat a’yan notable ayatollah high-ranking cleric (lit. “sign of god”) basej support volunteer fighters (lit. “mobilized”) chadour long-covering for women (lit. “tent”) dowlat government, state faqeh expert on feqh (religious law) fatwa religious pronouncement fedayi fighter; self-sacrificer hakim lieutenant-governor hojjat al-islam middle-ranking cleric (lit. “proof of Islam”) husseinieh religious center kadkhuda headman keshvar country, kingdom, state komiteh committee mahalleh district, town ward majles meeting, parliament maraj-e taqled most senior authorities of the law (singular marja-e taqled) mehan nation, country, homeland, fatherland/motherland mellat nation, people melli national mojahed fighter; crusader mojtahed high-ranking cleric mostazafen the meek, oppressed, exploited, wretched of the earth mostowfi accountant mullah derogatory term for cleric (rouhani) pasdar guards qanat underground canal qazi judge rouhani cleric rousari headscarf rowshanfekr intelligentsia, intellectual sayyed male descendant of the Prophet shahed martyr shari’a religious law takiyeh religious theater taziyeh passion play tuyul fief ulama clergy ‘urf state or customary law vali governor vaqf religious endowment (plural awqaf) vatan homeland, place of birth velayat-e faqeh guardianship of the jurist vezir minister xvi Glossary

A political who’s who of modern Iran ahmad shah (1896–1 92 9) Thelast Qajar monarch. Heascendedthe throne in 1909 while still a minor and did not come of age until 1914. Lacking real power and fearful for his life, he left the country soon after the 1921 coup. He died in Paris and was buried in Karbala.

ahmadinejad, mahm ud (1956– ) The conservative president elected in 2005. Son of a blacksmith and veteran of the Iraqi war, he won the presidential election campaigning on populist themes. He promised to distribute the oil wealth to the people, revive the revolutionary ideals of Khomeini, and deliver a final blow to the “one thousand families” who have supposedly ruled the country for centuries. He was supported by some of the most conservative ulama.

al am, assada llah (1919–78) The main confidantof Muhammad

RezaShah.Fromalonglineof notables inSistanand Baluchestan known as the “Lords of the Marches,” he joined the court in 1946 and served as an advisor to the shah untilhis deathat the beginningof the revolution.Some speculate that his absence explains the shah’sv acillationsi n 1977–78 and thus the eventual revolution. His posthumously published memoirs, however,supporttheviewthathewasverymuchpartofthelargerproblem.

al -e ahma d, jala l (1923– 69) The initiator of the “back to roots” movement. He began his career as a Marxist in the Tudeh Party and remained to his last days an intellectual skeptic, but increasingly in the 1960s searched for the cultural roots of Iran in Shi’ism. His best-known work is Gharbzadegi which literally means ‘Struck by the West’ but whose argument is that Iran is being destroyed by a “plague coming from the West.” He was one of the few intellectuals openly praised by Khomeini.

ar an i, taq i (1902–40 ) The father of Marxism in Iran. Educated in

Germany in 1922–30, he returned home to launch the journal Donya (The World) and form an intellectual circle whose members later xvii founded the Tudeh Party. Sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for advocating “socialism” and “atheism,” he died in prison.

ashra f, princess (1919– ) The shah’s twin sister. A forceful personality, she played an important role behind the scenes and helped many young Western-educated technocrats attain wealth and high office, especially cabinet posts. Some feel that she epitomized the worst features of the regime. Others claim this is a misogynist’s view.

bahar, muhammad taqi (malek al-shu’ara) (1885–1952)

Poet laureate of classical Persian literature. He began his political life as an active member of the constitutional movement and died as the president of the pro-Tudeh Peace Partisans. In addition to his prolific poetry, he wrote a well-known work entitled Short History of Political Parties in Iran.

bani -s adr, sayy ed abul- has san (1933 – ) Iran’s first president.

Although son of an ayatollah who had supported the 1953 coup, Bani- Sadr sided with Mossadeq and spent much of his adult life in Paris active in the National Front and the Liberation Movement. He returned with Khomeini in 1979 and briefly served as his president before accusing the clergy of scheming to establish a “dictatorship of the mullahtariat.” He had to escape back to Paris.

ba zar gan , meh di (19 07– 95 ) Khomeini’s first prime minister. A deputy minister under Mossadeq, he was much more religious than most of his National Front colleagues. In 1961, he founded the Liberation Movement, committed to the ideals of Iranian nationalism, Western liberalism, and Shi’i Islam. Secularists deemed him too religious; the religious deemed him too secularist. He resigned his premiership to protest the students taking over the US embassy in 1979.

behbehani, sa yyed abdal la h (1844– 1910) One of the two ayatollahs prominent in the Constitutional Revolution. In the subsequent fights between secular Democrats and the religious Moderates, he was assassinated. His son, Ayatollah Muhammad Behbehani, actively supported the 1953 coup. The money spent in the bazaar for the coup was known as “Behbehani dollars.” boroujerdi, ayatollah aqa hajj aqa hussein tabatabai (1 87 5–1 961 ) The last paramount Shi’i leader. After a long seminary career in Najaf and Boroujerd, in 1944 he moved to Qom where he soon gained the reputation of being the supreme marja-e taqled. Although he xviii A political who’s who of modern Iran frowned on clerics participating in politics, he turned a blind eye to those who helped the 1953 coup. His death prompted younger grand ayatollahs to compete for his paramount position. It also prompted the shah to launch the White Revolution.

bo zor g, al avi (190 4– 95) A leading figure in modern Persian literature. Educated in Germany, he returned home in the 1930s, co-edited Donya, was imprisoned for belonging to Arani’s circle, and, on his release in 1941, helped found the Tudeh Party. Among his works are his prison memoirs, The Fifty-Three. He was influenced by Kafka, Freud, and Hemingway as well as by Marx. He was a close friend of Sadeq Hedayat, another literary luminary.

cur zon, lor d georg e (18 59 –1 925 ) The British foreign minister so enamored of Iran that he tried to incorporate it into his empire. As a graduate student he traveled to Iran and published his classic Persia and the Persian Question. His Anglo-Persian Agreement of 1919 created a nationalist backlash in Iran.

dehkh oda, ali akb ar (1879–1956) A leading intellectual in modern Iran. A biting satirist during the Constitutional Revolution, he aroused much opposition, especially from the clergy and the landed class. He withdrew from politics and devoted his life to compiling his famous Loqatnameh (Lexicon). In the chaotic days of August 1953, when the shah fled the country, some radical nationalists offered him the presidency of their prospective republic.

eb ad i, sh ir en (19 47 – ) Iran’s sole Nobel Prize Winner. A young judge in the last years of the old regime, she, together with all women, was purged from the judiciary. She opened her own law firm specializing in human rights, especially cases involving women or children. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.

far manfarma, firuz (nowsrat al-do wl eh) (188 9–1937 )

Prominent notable. A scion of the famous Farmanfarma family and descendant of Fath Ali Shah, he headed numerous ministries after World War I and was one of the triumvirate that helped Reza Shah establish a strong centralized state. The latter eventually imprisoned and then murdered him. In prison, he translated Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis.

fatemi, sayyed hussein (1919–5 4) Mossadeq’s right-hand man executed by the shah. A French-educated journalist, he was a vocal and

A political who’s who of modern Iran xix early supporter of the campaign to nationalize the oil industry. He served Mossadeq in a number of capacities, including foreign minister. After the coup, he was arrested and executed for “insulting the royal family” and plotting to establish a republic. He is regarded as a hero of the nationalist movement. He is one of the few National Front leaders to have a street named after him by the Islamic Republic.

fazlo llah nuri, sheikh (1843– 1909) Leading cleric opposed to the Constitutional Revolution. A prominent theologian in Tehran, he initially supported attempts to limit royal power, but, growing fearful of the secularists, ended up siding with the royalists. He issued fatwas accusing reformers of being secret Babis, atheists, and freethinkers. Some were killed and executed in the Civil War. After the war, he was hanged for issuing such lethal fatwas. The modern Islamist movement regards him as one of their very first “martyrs.” hov ei da, abba s (19 19 –7 9) The shah’s longest-lasting premier. A career public servant, he was raised in a Bahai family – although he himself was not a practicing Bahai – and was appointed premier in 1965, when his patron, the previous premier, was assassinated by religious fanatics. He remained in that post until 1977,w hent he shah,i na n attempt to mollify the opposition, first dismissed him and then had him arrested.He was oneof the firstto be executed by the revolutionary regime.

iska nda ri, mirza sulayman (1862–1944) Qajar prince prominent in the socialist movement for half a century. Opponent of royal despotism, he participated in the Constitutional Revolution – his elder brother fell victim to the Civil War; helped lead the DemocratParty, 1909–21; wasimprisoned bytheBritishinWorldWarI;headedtheSocialist Party in 1921–26; and returned to politicsin 1941 to chair the TudehParty.

kashani, ayatollah sa yyed abul-qassem (1885–1961) The main cleric who first supported and then opposed Mossadeq. A refugee fromIraqwhere his father had been killed fightingBritain afterWorld War I, he was arrested by the British in World War I. He threw his weight behind Mossadeq when the campaign for the nationalization of the oil industry began. He broke with Mossadeq in 1953 avowedly because the latter did not implement the shari’a. His supporters vehemently deny that he actively supported the 1953 coup.

ka sra vi, sayy ed ahmad (1890 –1946 ) Leading historian of modern Iran, especially of the Constitutional Revolution. A staunch x A political who’s who of modern Iran advocate of national solidarity, he persistently denounced all forms of communalism and sectarianism, including Shi’ism. His most controversial work is Shi’igari (Shi’i-Mongering). Denounced as an “unbeliever,” he was assassinated. Khomeini, however, continued to keep on his shelves Kasravi’s History of the Iranian Constitution.

khamene i, ayatollah sayyed ali (1 93 9– ) Khomeini’s successor as Supreme Leader. From a minor clerical family in Azerbaijan, he studied theology first in Mashed and then in Qom with Khomeini. He did not attain prominence until after the revolution when he held a series of high positions including briefly the presidency. Immediately after Khomeini’s death, the regime elevated him to the rank of ayatollah and hailed him as the new Supreme Leader. He inherited Khomeini’s powers but not his charisma.

(Parte 1 de 7)