The Socialist Movement In Iran
The struggle for freedom in Iran has always had three prongs:
- religious groups
- the socialist groups and
- the nationalists.
The blowback from the severe dictatorship of the last 100 years is the main cause of the attraction to socialism. Although the socialist movements consisted of very small cells, the long border with the Soviet Union and the strong desire of Russians to get to the Persian Gulf modified these sporadic movements to serious uprisings which could have easily turned Iran into one of the Soviet Republics.
As the socialist movement of Iran was quite extensive, and because my family was involved with these events and I personally knew some of the players, I divided this section of Iranian history to three separate parts.
This section is about the rise and fall of "the democratic Republic of Azarbaijan." This event was the first struggle of the Cold War and probably was the most serious Soviet attempt of the 20th century at carving up Iranian territory. I should also mention that there are a few issues covered in this article which come from my personal knowledge and have never before been reported. For clarity, those facts are written in italic.
As mentioned in the previous article, the allied countries were fed up with Reza Shah and his unruly behavior. He was not just the absolute dictator in Iran - he was flirting with Hitler. Though he declared the country independent, Reza Shah would not stop misbehaving. In early 1943, the allies needed to get war materials to Russia both quickly and safely. The fastest route was through Iran's railroad from the Persian Gulf to the Russian border. The allies gave Reza Shah direct and indirect ultimatums to throw the Germans out and join the allies seriously. However, he did not realize how serious they were and Hitler was battling it out in Stalingrad which was not far from Iran.
The idea was that if German forces would break through Stalingrad and make it to Iran, they would have had access to all of the oil, would cut off the flow of oil to the Britain and the United States and could make the final push for the pincer movement movement of joining the Africa Core. Such an event would have been the beginning of the end for the allied forces. Since the stakes were high and Reza Shah was not responding to their threats, they simply poured in and the dictator was finished faster than all participants. No one put up a fight. He had irritated so many people that this most unpleasant takeover of the country was simply a relief.
The Iranian Army
Reza Shah had spent 20 years putting the army together. There was a navy and an air force. There were many generals and about 150,000 men. Although Reza Shah had spent all of his life in the barracks, at the end of the day he was not properly educated in the strength of new armies. The politicians around him would tell him what he wanted to hear and he was under the illusion that his 150,000 men were able to put up a fight against the millions in the allies' armies. The British had spies placed extensively and were able to dismantle his armed forces in less than a week. He was lucky to have his old friend General Amir Ahmadi, who remained loyal to him.
General Amir Ahmadi
Although Reza Shah had mistreated General Amir Ahmadi by demoting him to the humiliating title of commander of stable of the Calvary, General Ahmadi out of sheer patriotism and military loyalty to the Royal family, put aside his grievances and saved Reza Shah from getting arrested and hanged by the Russians. The general took two brigades of the army before its disintegration. He kept Tehran secure and quiet and this took the excuse away from the allies to take over Tehran and dismantle the government. Finally, Reza Shah left in disgrace, and died a miserable death in exile.
Reza Shah Leaving
With Reza Shah's departure, some of his henchman got hanged. However, there were some unfortunate losses as well including the assassination of Ahmad Kasravi, who was a great historian and the founder of critical investigation of Persian beliefs.