President Trump’s State of the Union message to the Iranian people was clear. Referring to his predecessor’s lack of response to the previous 2009 protest movement, he said, "When the people of Iran rose up against crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent." He added, "America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom."
So how did that "corrupt dictatorship" come to power in the first place? Let’s briefly review some history dating back to the early 1940s before that regime came into power which can shed some light on this shadowy matter. That was a time when Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi ruled Iran as a constitutional monarchy until he was forced by the Carter administration to abdicate in 1979.
Whereas the Shah of Iran had been recognized as a staunch pro-West, anti-communist Cold War ally, he fell out of favor with American, British, and French government leaders when he tied his country’s oil pricing policies to international market prices for 20 commodities. This had followed the expiration of a 30-year contract with the Brits in 1978 which had previously given them preferable pricing concessions. Oil prices exploded as a result.
Using oil-generated wealth, the Shah modernized his nation. His government established advanced postal services, libraries, colleges, and universities; built rural roads and highways, and electrical power installations; and constructed dams to irrigate arid land, making the country 90 percent self-sufficient in food production. By his last year in power, the average Iranian income had soared to $2,540, compared with $165 — 25 years earlier. The country had achieved full employment, and the national currency was stable without inflation.
The Shah favored peace with Israel, and his modern air force and powerful army served as a main barrier to Soviet ambitions and stabilizing force in the volatile Mideast. Nevertheless, fierce Carter administration pressure mounted for him to abdicate.
Meanwhile, Islamic fundamentalists who resented his progressive pro-western views, in concert with Soviet-sponsored communists, deployed a massive campaign against the Shah. In December of 1978, anti-Shah opposition forces symbolically led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a minor cleric favored by Western leaders, took to the streets of Tehran. The ayatollah had been exiled for remarks leading to violence and rioting over the Shah’s woman’s rights and land reforms during the 1960s.
Upon returning from exile in Iraq on Oct. 4, 1978, the ayatollah was set up in a lavish French chateau surrounded by security protectors from the CIA, M16, and even the KGB.
Favorably biased Western interviews, including the Voice of America, major U.S. networks, and the BBC, became virtual voices of the 1978-1979 revolution. Khomeini’s inflammatory speeches and revolutionary songs were aired on Iranian radio.
As Mohamad Reza Shah Pahlavi later reflected in writing, "You cannot imagine the pressure the Americans were putting on me, and in the end it became an order [to leave] . . . How could I stand alone against Henry Precht [the Carter administration State Department director for Iran] and the entire [Cyrus Vance] State Department?"
Joanne King Herring, the real-life heroine portrayed by actress Julia Roberts in the movie "Charlie Wilson’s War" in support of anti-Soviet Afghanistan freedom fighters, was told about a major humanitarian influence upon the Shah’s decision.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, together with Iran’s U.S. Ambassador Ardeshir Zahedi secretly advised the Shah to "stand firm and stop the revolution." They were confident that the country’s strong economy and general success would influence the population to ignore outside sources responsible for fueling and funding the unrest.
The Shah asked, "if I do stand firm, how many of my people will be killed?" They replied, "all revolutions are dangerous, and people will be killed." Concerned about those lives, he said, "I can’t do that to my people." He then left Iran, and as a result, thousands died at the hands of the new regime.
The Ayatollah Khomeini had repeatedly promised that his replacement regime would view the U.S. as a friend, and would sell oil much cheaper to all countries except for Israel and South Africa. In return, the Carter administration reportedly provided $500 million to the Muslim Brotherhood freedom fighters (who became the Taliban and al Qaida).
Carter’s support for the ascendance of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini regime was unceremoniously rewarded by a humiliating U.S. Embassy assault which held 52 diplomats and civilians hostage for 444 days. The ayatollah proudly bragged about how "Iran had defeated the Great Satan," and that "America can’t do a damn thing." Masoumeh Ebtekar, the spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy takeover, is now the vice president of Rouhani’s cabinet.
Those hostages were released immediately following the election of a new U.S. President Ronald Reagan. During his presidential debate with Carter, Reagan observed, "The Shah of Iran was our best ally." President Reagan was proven right.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2012). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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