Thursday, July 7, 2011

Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran by Michael Axworthy

Chapter 7: The Pahlavis and the Revolution of 1979

  • "The Pahlavi monarchy was an odd kind of monarchy, with no real roots in tradition. It was established only after Reza Khan had failed to set up a republic." - 222
  • "As in Turkey, the shah set up a language reform to remove words not of Persian origin, and to replace them with Persian words." - 226
  • 1935: Reza Shah "ordered that foreign governments should drop the name 'Persia' in official communication and use instead the name 'Iran' -- the ancient name that had always been used by Iranians themselves." - 226
  • 1927/1928: Reza Shah "ended the capitulations" to foreign trade interests - 226
  • "The Allies were the immediate cause of Reza Shah's abdication, but his removal was welcomed by most Iranians...Reza went into exile in South Africa (where he died in July 1944)." - 230
  • "Mohammad Reza Shah had confirmed at his coronation that he would rule as a constitutional monarch, and in 1944 elections were held for the first genuinely representative Majles since the 1920s." - 231
  • "The shah tried to appeal to pro-American feeling, and to the United States for support. He made a speech drawing a comparison between Iranian nationalism and America's struggle for independence" - 232
  • May 1946: "after a tense period of negotiations and pressure from the United States and Britain", all Soviet forces had left Iran - 234
  • "Mohammad Mossadeq assembled a broad coalition of Majles deputies that came to be called the National Front. It was organized around the central demand for oil nationalization" - 235
  • March 15, 1951: Majles voted to nationalize oil reserves "under his [Mossadeq's] leadership" - 235
  • April 28, 1951: Mossadeq named prime minister - 235
  • "In the wake of this demonstration [on August 19, 1953 and partially arranged by the C.I.A. under code name Operation Ajax,] Mossadeq was arrested, the army and Zahedi were in control, and the shah returned. Mossadeq was tried and convicted of treason by a military court but was allowed to live under house arrest until he died in 1967." - 237
  • the coup "established the United States in Iran as the prime ally and protector of the Pahlavi regime....the removal of Mossadeq damaged U.S. interests in a much more serious way than could have been imagined at the time." - 237-8
  • July 1956: "Egypt's Jamal Abd al-Nasser...followed the example of Mossadeq and nationalized the Suez Canal." - 238
  • 1957: "a British diplomat with more than ordinary perspicacity wrote the following of Tehran...'The slums have a compact self-conscious unity and communal sense that is totally lacking in the smart districts of chlorinated water, macadamed roads and (fitful) street lighting. The bourgeois does not know his neighbor: the slum-dweller is intensely conscious of his.'" - 241
  • 1963: "a cleric little known outside of ulema circles, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, began to preach in Qom against the shah's government. He attacked its corruption, its neglect of the poor, and its failure to uphold Iran's sovereignty in its relationship with the United States -- and he also disliked the shah's sale of oil to Israel." - 242
  • "In the mid-1970s half the population were under sixteen, and two-thirds were under thirty. This was to be the generation of the revolution." - 247
  • Ali "Shariati was not a Marxist, but he could be said to have recast Shi'a Islam in a revolutionary mold, comparable to the Marxist model: 'Everywhere is Karbala and every day is Ashura.'" - 255
  • January 16, 1979: the shah leaves Iran - 258
  • February 1, 1979: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini flies back to Tehran - 258

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