After the MI6 / CIA coup of 1953, the Liberal groups as well as the Iranian communist party (Tudeh party) continued to lose their valuable assets (people). In 1958, Khosrow Roozbeh, who was the leader of the military branch of the Iranian Communist party was arrested and executed.
At that point the pro-Soviet Tudeh party was decimated. Meanwhile, the Shah, with the help of the MI6, CIA, created one the most Brutal Secret services in the world. It was called SAVAK (Organization of Information and Security of the Country). Its first commander was General Bakhtiar, who is responsible for the butchering of the 1950s. Bakhtiar killed, tortured and destroyed all opposition groups. The initial methods of the new secret service were restricted to brutal police work, but with time came money and training. The Shah appointed his best friend and confidant, General Fardoust, in charge of creating this Hellish organization. The new headquarters of the SAVAK was built on a piece of ancient military land called "Bagh Mehran" two blocks from our house. The original fortress of Mehran was built at the time of Spartacus and Crassus. I watched the building of the SAVAK HQ from beginning to the end. It was built on the same principles as the FBI and the CIA buildings.
It was built mostly underground for protection although it had 4 levels, but only one level was visible. According To General Fardoust there were several American generals advising him. MI6 provided SAVAK with little valuable training and that mostly in counter-espionage.
Brutality to the rescue:
The real challenge for any intelligence organization is to get their prisoners to talk and talk quickly. Once a knowledgeable person is arrested, his friends are going to find out and use their contingency plans. Many of the members of the groups have an agreement to tolerate the torture for 24 hours and then tell everything. Having read the stories of serious compromises of intelligence and mass arrests of guerrilla groups it is interesting to know that, usually it is the false beliefs of the rest of the group which cause them not to move fast enough to prevent decimation. The stories of torture methods utilized by SAVAK are well documented and nauseating. There was an evolution of methods and tactics beginning with simple lashing of the prisoner's feet, to utilizing the equipment they were getting from the Americans, who had developed them in Vietnam; the most famous one was called Apollo. To see the effects of spending time in a political prison I have included pictures of Ayatollah Abtahi taken this summer. He was Iran's Ex vice president, but he end up in political prison for his involvement in this summer's up rising
SAVAK's infiltration of every organ of society and its fame for brutality had created an environment of terror in the country that was simply unbelievable. It was as if we had inherited his majesty's paranoia. Looking back, it is clear they were exaggerating their power in order to intimidate everybody. However, whatever they did worked at the time. Trust was totally gone or was limited to immediate members of one's family. The censorship of radio, TV, and newspapers, were so tight that even certain words were banned, and even if an intellectual would use coded language and write poems or plays that SAVAK would not catch the meaning of initially, he would eventually disappear for awhile, and then show up on TV with a personality transplant, refuting everything he had said before, and begging his majesty for forgiveness. Of course, nobody would buy the confessions but it would do its job of terrorizing the public.
Dr Saedi told my professor the details of his ordeal, and he relayed it to me; it was nauseating.