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The SAVAK of pre-revolution Iran

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Author Topic: The SAVAK of pre-revolution Iran  (Read 857 times)
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« on: April 24, 2007, 06:28:09 pm »

From the Western media we have been watching and reading  the constant bashing of post-revolution Iran through a collection of diverse stories, primarily on human rights abuses and violation of democratic norms.  There are 'stories' that the revolution didn't free the Iranian people.  It is said that religious dictatorship has created the SAVAMA that resembles SAVAK in different forms of oppression.  However, the question is, what strengthened the convictions of the revolutionists that led to an unanimous revolt?  Were things perfect before that?   What went on in the country prior to this indigenous revolution?  This side of the Iranian story seems to be permanently censored in the western world. 

The then Emperor of Iran who declared himself the "King of Kings" (Shahinshah of Iran) actually believed in acquiring a super-human image, putting himself far above the law.  His rule wasn't just that of an unelected monarchy, but someone who seriously considered brutality as his rightful inheritance.  The instrument for implementing this gross, widespread and hush-hush practice was none else than the Emperor's bunch of henchmen, the SAVAK - pre-revolution Iran's secret services.   

It would be a change to talk on this much concealed topic.  After all, murderers are murderers no matter who they work for .. be it secular kings or religious extremists.  A bad system needs to be exposed so that history doesn't repeat itself.

The SAVAK terrorized the people of their country for more than 22 long years.  They had no reservations about going on forever.  But the Persian race has a more independent and discerning mind than their complacent neighbours.  They did not allow the SAVAK to go on forever.  There came a time when they drew the line and slogans of 'enough is enough' came from every nook and corner of the country.  Like in all movements filled with aspirations, plenty of Iranians were killed and tortured by the tyrannical rule that simply refused to recognize them as humans.  It took as long as November 1978 for the 'King of Kings' to realize that he had only two choices - either to admit his guilt and promise to make amends or pack up and run through the back door.  He did both, but only the latter worked. 

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, a man who considered himself too high even to shake hands with people was brought low in his final speech in Iranian radio and TV programs (a few weeks before leaving Iran for exile).  He finally admitted the dictatorship and corruption in his regime and begged forgiveness: "I heard the voice of your revolution ... Let all of us work together to establish real democracy in Iran ... I make a commitment to be with you and your revolution against corruption and injustice in Iran ..."   The Shah's speech was followed by his order to imprison Amir Abbas Hoveida, his Prime Minister, and General Nematollah Nassiri, the head of his brutal secret police force, Savak.  But alas!  It was too little, too late.  The seeds of hatred that he had sown in the hearts of his countrymen more than 20 years ago had fully blossomed by now.  The Shah simply had to get out.  His regime was demolished in February 1979 when the revolutionaries marched into the palace.  It was an amazing spectacle, unusual and awesome.  It caused suffering to some elites, happiness to all commoners, saved the lives of many and also eliminated several enemies.  Revolutions maybe considered undesirable but only second to the causes that make it necessary for them to happen.

By the way, isn't this interesting .. "according to the last 150 years of Iran's history, the kings of Iran, who were all dictators, either were killed by the people or died in exile, except Mozzafar-oddin Shah Qajar who signed the Iran's Monarchy Constitution, Mashrouteh, in 1906."

So .. who was the dreadful SAVAK?

The initials were taken from Persian - Sazeman-e Ettelaat va Amniyat-e Keshvar - that is, Organization for Intelligence and National Security.  SAVAK was the homeland security and intelligence service of Iran from 1957-1979. 

The Chief of Savak, General Nematollah Nassiri, who was imprisoned by the Shah in an effort to bail out himself at the eleventh hour, was eventually executed by the people after the 1979 Revolution.

"The Shah's brutal secret police force, Savak, formed under the guidance of CIA (the United States Central Intelligence Agency) in 1957 and personnel trained by Mossad (Israel's secret service), to directly control all facets of political life in Iran. Its main task was to suppress opposition to the Shah's government and keep the people's political and social awareness to the minimal.  Needless to mention, Savak was notorious throughout Iran for its brutal methods.

The interrogation office was established with no limit of using horrific torture tools and techniques to break the arrested dissenters to talk in a matter of hours.

The censorship office was established to monitor journalists, literary figures and academics throughout the country. It took appropriate measures against those who fell out of the regime's line.

Universities, labor unions and peasant organizations, amongst others, were all subjected to intense surveillance by the Savak agents and paid informants. The agency was also active abroad, especially in monitoring Iranian students who publicly opposed the Shah's government.

SAVAK agents often carried out operations against each other over disagreements and lack of trust.

Interrogation, torture and long term imprisonment by Savak for reading or possessing any forbidden books was nothing out of the ordinary.  Prohibited books were removed from the book-stores and libraries; and 'Tozih-ol-Masael' authored by Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini was banned.

Over the years, Savak became a law unto itself, having legal authority to arrest, detain, brutally interrogate and torture suspects indefinitely. Savak operated its own prisons in Tehran, such as Qezel-Qalaeh and Evin facilities and many suspected places throughout the country. Many of their activities were carried out without any institutional checks.
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N. Truth Seeker
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2007, 07:12:08 pm »

I was just surfing by the forum and the word 'savak' among the recent posts caught my eye  Smiley

Thank u for this input zeynab.  You have presented the story in a very basic, simple and straightforward style.  Particularly the younger generation living outside Iran must learn this history.  At the moment they don't know nothing. 

I will also add that the primary importance here is to maintain a balance while assessing and presenting facts.  The usefulness of this piece arises because it's one of the few (if not the only one) many of us have read in recent times that says the other side of the story.  Violations and atrocities have been committed from both sides, therefore both sides need to be exposed.  That's something the mainstream medias of the world aren't doing.  Not to forget, this is the 'media-rule era.'  They are the ones who carve impressions, regardless of the actual truth, that's best known to Allah alone.  Thus, truth is being politicized. 

Last but not least, I wouldn't just blame the western media for this cover-up.  Medias of various Sunni Muslim countries are just as discreet.  Their motive is not to highlight any rational & logical causes for the happenings in Iran. 

Thanks for this enlightened work zeynab.
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2007, 07:29:37 pm »

yes br. ts, you're right.  what i liked was that it unveiled the other hidden side of the story..  the present-day Iran is already so much in the limelight and also a target of much propaganda, though i again agree with pt that violations have been carried out by the revolutionists as well.  i read somewhere (can't recall where) that the chief of SAVAMA currently is a person who used to be one of the shah's best friends.  Of course, keeping in mind that the anti-Iran propaganda campaign is so rampant in the developed world, i would take this report with a big pinch of salt. 
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2007, 02:01:19 am »

He finally admitted the dictatorship and corruption in his regime and begged for forgiveness: "I heard the voice of your revolution ... Let all of us work together to establish real democracy in Iran ... I make a commitment to be with you and your revolution against corruption and injustice in Iran ..." ... But alas! It was too little, too late.

This reminds me about the incident of Pharoah as stated in the Quran.  He was arrogant all along.  Only when the fate of drowning got the better of him and he knew there was no escape, he called out saying that there is no god but Allah and I surrender unto Him. 

Very good piece.  Like persian said, simple and straight.  Thanks zeynab.
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