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Life Arts    H3'ed 4/30/10

Iranian People's Struggle for Freedom: Part VII ,Urban Guerrilla Warfare: Both Strategy and Tactic

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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.

Breaking the Barrier of Silence

The leaders of the Tudeh party who survived and made it to Russia were paralyzed and were analyzing their errors and finger-pointing. Their followers were very limited and mostly living in exile. Although at one point they were a very attractive party, they had since lost their charisma. The members of the National front were mad at them for not helping Mossadegh; the religious groups did not like them because they were atheists. The intellectual groups which were its foundation were disillusioned. Everyone else hated them because they were considered traitors who were planning to sell out the country to Russians. I think the main cause of their defeat was the same problem that all followers of Soviet Union have had throughout the years:

(1) Dictatorship of the proletariat - is just that - "dictatorship".

(2) Democratic centralism - is a different word for letting the members of Politburo to think and decide for you.

Throughout the cold war it had been proven again and again that the American Style of permitting middle ranking officials to have a say in making decisions was superior to Democratic Centralism. This issue applied to military as well as civilian matters. The members of the central committee of Tudeh party kept blaming each other for their colossal defeat. Meanwhile, the Tudeh party branched out. A small group chose to reject the Soviet Union and examined the new model of socialism which was in China. The general idea was to mobilize the peasants to take over the cities and topple the government. A few of these gentlemen went to China and met with Mao and asked for assistance. Although they received some training, Mao's response was "You get your revolution started, the foreign help will follow." For several more years, the SAVAK was brutally running the country. Any voice of dissent was dealt with in the harshest possible manner. Meanwhile, the war in Vietnam had consumed the American government. And the British government was simply broke.

They were unable to remain a major force in the Persian Gulf to protect the oil fields and the waterways. Therefore, they chose the Shah to be the policemen of the Persian Gulf. To be a strong cop, he needed a strong army. In order to have a strong army he needed weapons. In order to have weapons he needed money, which he didn't have.

At this time, Mr. Kissinger, President Nixon, and the American oil corporations came up with the idea of increasing the price of oil. This price increase benefited the American economy in many ways. It was not just that American oil corporations made money; the other giant companies did as well. The US had a lot of its own oil, causing them to produce cheaper consumer goods, and skillfully push the problems of war to Europe and Japan. This move gave the Shah the money he needed to build his army. President Nixon and the Shah had strong admiration for each other. They had very similar personalities; they were both dictators with paranoia. Nixon gave permission to the Shah to buy all military equipment from the American military industry complex. The Shah took advantage of the situation and bought hundreds of fighter planes, tanks, air defense systems, trucks, jeeps, and destroyers. He also had the money to put a 450,000 man army together along with a very powerful air force and the biggest navy in the Gulf.

This extravaganza as well as many years of oppression caused a couple of thinkers in Iran to come up with new methods of standing up against the Shah. These forces divided into two groups, the communists and the religious groups. The religious groups were powerful and are the subject of our next article.

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Abbas Sadeghian, Ph.D. Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I was born and raised in Tehran Iran .I came to the U.S in 1976 to study psychology. With time decided to hang my hat here and became a U.S. citizen.
My areas of interest in psychology were varied. However I mostly worked with (more...)

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