Archive for the 'The Pahlavi Dynasty' Category

Pahlavi Legacies

bkyser on Apr 23rd 2012


In this article, Times Magaznine reporter Azadeh Moaveni, discusses the legacy that the Pahlavi Dynasty has left on her. In the aftermath of Alireza Pahlavi’s suicide, Moaveni talks about why she feels to connected to the Pahlavis, despite never having grown up under the Shah’s Iran. Moaveni claims that the Pahlavi family represents the First Family of Iran in her imagination. She also discusses some of the sentiments coming out after the news of Alireza’s death reached Iran. Many were upset that people were feeling sympathy for a Pahlavi, a response that Moaveni attributes to Iranian’s resentment towards the regime in terms of the economy, etc. Iranians today attribute the failure of the Pahlavis to the rise of the mullahs. Despite the fact that many Iranians today never grew up under the Shah, his legacy and the legacy of his family lives on.

Click here to see the rise and fall of the Shah in pictures.

Azadeh Moaveni, “Why the Pahlavi Dynasty Still Haunts Iranians,” Time Magazine, January 6, 2011,,8599,2041031,00.html (accessed April 25, 2012).

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The Iranian-American Relationship from 1923 until Today

bkyser on Apr 15th 2012

This New York Times article traces the evolution of the relationship between Iran and the United States from 1923 until today. This article emphasizes the nuclear program in Iran and the United States’ involvement with this program. Here is a summary of the article, beginning in 1923.

In 1923, a man named Arthur Millspaugh went to Iran from the United States. He was an economic advisor who was sent to help Iran, a country that was seen as “hampered by administrative inefficiency.” He left Iran in 1928. Flash forward 30 years to 1953 and the United States becomes involved with the coup d’etat of Mohammad Mossadegh. This leads to the first real intervention of the United States in Iranian affairs and is often cited as the root to many of the areas of contention between the two nations today. This coup got ride of Prime Minister Mossadegh and placed the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, into power. In 1957, Iran and the United States join in on a deal, titled, Iran-United States Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Civil Uses of Atomic Energy as part of President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program. Under this plan the United States gave Iran uranium. Later, in 1968, Iran signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Throughout the Shah’s rule, he receives praise from different American presidents, from Kennedy to Carter, who view him in a positive light for upholding Iran in an unstable neighborhood.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran undergoes many changes, and naturally, so to does its nuclear program and its relationship with the United States. In February 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini returns from exile and immediately calls for an end to all foreign invasion in Iran. This leads to the removal of 1,350 Americans from Iran. In November of that same year, militants also known as “students” occupy the American Embassy in Tehran and hold the hostages captive for 444 days. The students held these Americans captive in demanding for the Shah to return from the United States to Iran to face trial. On July 27, 1980, the Shah passes away in Egypt.

September 21, 1980 is the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War, which begins with Iraq’s invading of Iran. A major area of Iran that experiences a large amount of conflict is the Shatt al-Arab waterway. This war occupies much of the mindset of Iran for the next eight years. The war ends on July 18, 1988 after both Iran and Iraq agree to a cease-fire (United Nations Security Council Resolution 598). An estimated 1 million people are dead as a result of the war.

In 1987, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, is reported to have shared his research with Iran and other countries such as North Korea and Libya. Iran and Russia go on to sign a nuclear contract in 1995 calling for the development of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr. As a result of Iran’s nuclear aspirations, President Clinton issues sanctions against all companies with investments in Iran in 1996 as part of his initiative to stop the spread of terrorism. In August 2002, the Muhajeddin (M.E.K.) release pictures of a uranium enrichment plant and a heavy water plant. After accusations from the United States, Iran agrees to an inspection from the Atomic Energy Authority.

In 2004, Iran agreed to halt its nuclear program. However, in 2006, the United Nations Security Council issued sanctions to curb the nuclear program. And in 2009, President Obama calls for international inspections in Iran. In 2010, the United States agreed to more sanctions issued against Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions are intended to hinder military purchases and financial transactions carried out by the Revolutionary Guards Corp. The bombing on January 11, 2012, that killed Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a supervisor at the Natanz nuclear plant, leads to more friction between the United States and Iran as the United States and Israel are blamed for this attack.

JEFFERY DelVISCIO, DIANTHA PARKER, DAVID FURST, JEFF ROTH, JON HUANG and ARTIN AFKHAMI, “Iran, the United States and a Nuclear Seesaw,” The New York Times, April 13, 2012, (accessed April 15, 2012).

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Suicide of Ali Reza Pahlavi

bkyser on Mar 1st 2012

In January of 2012, the son of the former Shah of Iran, Ali Reza Pahlavi, committed suicide in Boston. He is most known within the Iranian American community for his criticism of the clerical regime in Iran and for his support of Iran to become a democracy. Read more here.

“I’m not here to advocate anything but … freedom and democracy for the Iranian people at first, and I’ve determined this as my unique mission in life,”
-Ali Reza Pahlavi

Denise Lavoie, “Alireza Pahlavi Suicide: Iran Shah’s Son Killed Himself In Boston, Says Brother,” The Huffington Post, January 4, 2011, (accessed March 1, 2012).

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1980 Interview with the Shah and Shahbanou

bkyser on Mar 1st 2012

Here is a People magazine article from January 1980 with Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and his wife, Farah, the Shahbanou. In this article they provide details of their life in exile, the Shah’s diagnosis of Waldenstrom’s desease, and how their children are adjusting to life in America. They are also asked about the SAVAK and the many reported cases of torture that took place during the Shah’s rule. The Shah denies being connected to these acts of torture, however his legacy in Iran as a “despot” makes this hard to believe. The Shah also discusses the ways in which his rule benefited the poor people in Iran, particuarly in Baluchistan (Southeast Iran).

Jean Desaunois, “The Shah and His Empress Talk About Their Life in Exile, His Illness and Her Dreams,” People Magazine, January 28, 1980,,,20075686,00.html (accessed March 1, 2012).

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Operation Ajax

bkyser on Feb 9th 2012




This link directs you to the New York Times Special Report: The C.I.A. in Iran. It provides you with actual news reports from the 1953 C.I.A. backed coup in Iran, named by the C.I.A. as “Operation Ajax.” It also provides you with the background behind the coup and the why and how of America’s involvement in this coup whcih led to the removal of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq. It also provides you with a link to the actual C.I.A. document that details the events of “Operation Ajax.”

“Secrets of History: The CIA in Iran,” The New York Times, (accessed February 9, 2012).

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Iran’s Early Nuclear Ambitions

bkyser on Feb 9th 2012


Here is an interesting article about the beginning of Iran’s nuclear program. In recent times, this issue has gained a lot of attention, especially from the West. However, a nuclear program in Iran is not a new concept. The Iranians first developed a nuclear program in 1959, under the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Although the United States was opposed to Iran’s development of a nuclear program, they eventually participated with Iran by donating a small reactor to Tehran University. However, after this donation, the Shah began to kick Iran’s nuclear program into full gear. His subsequent actions included searching Iran for uranium mines. Although some European countries were eager to help Iran with this mission, the United States no longer supported it. In 1974, however, the United States again decided to support Iran’s nuclear program, with reservations. This article also discusses Iran’s relationships with France and Germany, and later India, in regards to their nuclear program. It also discusses Ayatollah Khomeini’s coming to power and what this new ruler meant for Iran and their nuclear program. Click the link above to access the full article.

Abbas Milani, “The Shah’s Atomic Dreams,” Foreign Policy, December 29, 2010, (accessed February 9, 2012).

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