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Mirror Images: Tehran's Fundamentalists and the Exiled Secular Fundamentalists


By Muhammad Sahimi


Over the last century, June, July, August, and September have been, with few exceptions, bloody, dark, and depressing months in both the pre- and post-revolutionary Iran, during which many historical and history-changing events have occurred.

It was on June 5, 1963 (Khordad 15, 1342, in Persian calendar) that the supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini demonstrated against the Shah's regime, which led to scores of deaths, the Ayatollah's arrest, and his subsequent exile, first to Turkey and then to Iraq. It was then that the seeds of the 1979 Revolution, already sowed in 1953 after the CIA-MI6 coup, gained strength.

It was on July 16, 1952 (Teer 25, 1331) that Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mossaddegh, one of Iran's true national heroes, resigned from his post after he found the Shah's interference in his government, particularly preventing him from selecting the War Minister, unacceptable. The Shah appointed Ahmad Ghavam as the new Premier. Almost immediately after the resignation, large demonstrations erupted in Tehran and elsewhere, during which between 250 [1] and 800 people [2] were killed or injured by the security forces, culminating with the huge demonstrations on July 21, 1952 (Teer 30, 1331) that forced Mr. Ghavam to resign and go into hiding, and brought Dr. Mossaddegh back to the Premiership.

It was on August 5, 1906 (Mordad 14, 1285) that the people were victorious in the first round of the struggle for a democratic political system and government in Iran, establishing the first Constitutional government in the Middle East.

It was on August 19, 1953 (Mordad 28, 1332) that Dr. Mossaddegh's government was overthrown by the CIA-MI6 coup that brought the Shah back to power and started 25 years of dictatorship, leading eventually to the Iranian Revolution of 1979 [3] (see also below). Thus, the sweetness and glory of the Constitutional Revolution of August 1906 were destroyed by the bitterness of the anti-Iran/anti-Iranians August 1953 coup.

It was on August 22, 1941 (Shahrivar 1, 1320) that the Allied forces invaded Iran by occupying Abadan and its oil refinery, in order to prevent Reza Shah to overtly support the Nazi Germany and help it with Iran's oil, and also use Iran to provide the Soviet Union with weapons.

It was on September 16, 1941 (Shahrivar 25, 1320) that the Allied forces removed Reza Shah from power, ending his dictatorship, and installed his son Mohammad Reza as the next shah, but it was on September 17, 1953 that the Shah's regime indicted Dr. Mossaddegh.

And, of course, it was in September of 1978 that the Islamic Revolution of 1979 gathered significant steam, after scores of peaceful demonstrators [4] were killed in Jaleh Square in Tehran (the present Martyrs Square) on September 8, 1978. It was then that the uprising appeared for the first time to pose a serious challenge to the survival of the Shah's government.

What about the post-revolutionary Iran?

It was on June 20, 1981 (Khordad 30, 1360) that the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MKO) which, until then, was a legitimate political group and popular among various segments of the society, declared armed struggle against the newly-born Islamic Republic. That declaration, together with large demonstrations of the MKO supporters (and the counter demonstrations by the government's supporters), and the huge explosions in the central headquarters of the Islamic Republican Party, the clergy-controlled dominant political group of that era, that killed over 100 top members of the Party [5] on June 28, 1981 (Teer 7, 1360), began the dark and bloody years of the 1980s [6] which resulted in the execution of thousands of political activists and prisoners [7], and even innocent, non-political people [8].

Over three days beginning on July 9, 1999, Iran witnessed nation-wide demonstrations in many leading Iranian universities, protesting the Islamic fundamentalists' attempts to crush Iran's relatively free press of the first two years of presidency of Mr. Mohammad Khatami, which led to arrest of tens of students, death of at least one Tehran University graduate, Mr. Ezzat Ebrahimnejad, and the beginning of the end of Mr. Khatami's reforms. Of course, Mr. Akbar Mohammadi, who passed away in Evin prison in Tehran last year, is also a victim of those events.

It was on July 24, 1988, after Iran and Iraq both had accepted the United Nations Security Council Resolution 598 for the ceasefire on July 18, 1988, that the MKO, which by then was nothing but a terrorist cult and Saddam Hussein's ally, sent a large number of its members to their death [9,10] by ordering them to invade Iran from Iraq, with the illusion that, with the support of Saddam's air force and mass uprising by the Iranian people, they would quickly overthrow the Islamic Republic.

It was in July, August and September of 1988 that Tehran's fundamentalists decided to "solve" the big "problem" that they had, namely, the thousands of political prisoners who were languishing in jails, by executing them [11,12,13], even though the prisoners had only been given jail terms after being put on "trial" in the "Islamic" courts. The "excuse" that the fundamentalists had was the MKO invasion of Iran from Iraq.

And, of course, it was on September 22, 1980 (Shahrivar 31, 1359) that the Iran-Iraq war started, which resulted in the death of 270,000 and injury of close to 700,000 young Iranian soldiers, and nearly $1 trillion in economical damage and loss.

Now, it is September 2007. Not only is it the anniversary of so many sad events in contemporary Iran, but Iran itself is also at a crossroads again. Barnett R. Rubin, Director of Studies and Senior Fellow at New York University's Center on International Cooperation and a leading expert on Afghanistan, just reported [14] that a reliable source has told him that,

They [the source's institution] have "instruction" (yes, that was the word used) from the office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war in Iran in the week after Labor day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute [the bastion of the neoconservatives], the [editorial page of the] Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard [the mouthpiece of the neoconservatives], Commentary [a mouthpiece of the Israeli lobby], Fox, and the usual suspects.

According to Rubin, the information has come from a friend "who has excellent connections in Washington and whose information has often been prescient."

The senseless rhetoric of Tehran's Islamic fundamentalists regarding Israel has been used by the neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby in order to justify military attacks by the U.S. against Iran. But, we must keep in mind that, regardless of the rhetoric, the neocons and the entire U.S. political establishment have been after Iran ever since the 1979 Revolution.

We must also recognize that, given the quagmire that Iraq and Afghanistan have become for the U.S., and given all the lies and exaggerations that the Bush administration sold to the public in order to invade Iraq, its campaign of propaganda [15] against Iran needs much help, as the skeptical public will not easily be convinced. In particular, the campaign can be greatly helped by those Iranians and Iranian-Americans who are only too happy to offer Mr. Bush a helping hand.

Unfortunately, Iran's democratic opposition in exile is either relatively silent (in the U.S.) or relatively weak and disparate (in Europe) to counter the effect that such pro-war Iranians may have. As usual, then, we have two main camps among Iranians in the Diaspora, at the two ends of the political spectrum.

In view of some, the Iranian people do not currently have the capability for self-emancipation. This group believes that Iranians who live in Iran cannot by themselves oppose the U.S. intervention in Iran, while also opposing, at the same time, Tehran's fundamentalists. This group of Iranians forgets that the same Iranian nation overthrew the Shah's regime that was being supported firmly by the West. Thus, in view of such Iranians, one must choose between bad and worse, or worse and worst, namely, between Tehran's fundamentalists and the Bush administration.

Those who prefer to completely defend and support the Iranian government in its confrontation with the U.S. consider the Bush administration as the main threat. They believe that the differences with the fundamentalists should, for now, be set aside because they only weaken Iran's position.

On the other hand, there are those who regard Tehran's fundamentalists as the main evil. Under the guise of freedom and democracy, they advocate and support the U.S. military attacks on Iran, either directly, or indirectly by attacking anyone who speaks against the war. They believe that Tehran's fundamentalists cannot be pushed off the political arena without outside intervention, and that the U.S. is the only force that can bring about such a change.

Even if we believe that there are indeed some Iranians who sincerely believe this, they miss at least one important point: The Bush administration's and the neocons' plans for the Middle East are the main threat to the stability and democratization of that region. Believing that Mr. Bush and the Bushies really want democracy for the Middle East is like believing that the fox can develop and maintain a chicken farm.

But the vast majority of the Iranians who, directly or indirectly, advocate U.S. attacks on Iran, belong to one of two groups:

(i) The Iranian die-hard royalists who settle for nothing less than restoration to power of the Pahlavi dynasty, and a large part of the monarchists.

People who are in this group, especially those who reside in the U.S. with Los Angeles being their "Capital," are, in fact, secular fundamentalists, or, better yet, the lunatic fundamentalists - the mirror image of Tehran's Islamic fundamentalists. Just as Tehran's fundamentalists wish for a limited war with the U.S. to consolidate their power, so also do the secular fundamentalists who hope that U.S. military attacks will overthrow the Islamic Republic and will bring them to power. They always attack viciously anyone who has even the most minor disagreement with them, and label anyone who defends Iran's true national interests, or speaks against a war with Iran, either an agent of the Islamic Republic or its lobbyist [16].

(ii) The MKO. It suffices to note that the MKO is a terrorist cult, nothing more, nothing less. They are completely similar to the secular fundamentalists, at least in practice.

On May 1, 2003, President Bush, abroad the USS Abraham Lincoln, declared victory in the "battle of Iraq," declaring "the end of all major combat operations" under a banner reading "Mission Accomplished."

On April 29, 2003, the author posted an article [17] in which he predicted trouble for the U.S. in Iraq, and suggested that the U.S. neoconservatives are looking for an Iranian Ahmad Chalabi [18,19]. As expected, the author was attacked viciously and personally by the secular fundamentalists who, due to the "easy" victory of the U.S. forces in Iraq, believed that Iran would be next. Over four years after that posting, however, the author has proven to be completely correct.

The goal of the present article is to further elaborate on the astonishing similarities between Iran's two groups of fundamentalists - the Islamists in Tehran and the seculars in exile - that were first pointed out in Ref. [17]. This is particularly necessary at this critical time, as the drumbeats of the war is becoming increasingly louder and, therefore, Iranians should all have a clear view of who defends Iran's true national interests, its political independence and territorial integrity, and is against a war between the U.S. and Iran, and who does not and is not.

To put the discussions on a firm ground, we describe and discuss the views of Iran's fundamentalists - both Islamic and secular - by putting them in the context of two illuminating concepts that are described below.


In an excellent article [20], Mr. Eric Alterman, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College, and a columnist for The Nation magazine, commented on the attacks by the U.S. neoconservatives on Dr. Paul Krugman, a professor of economics at Princeton University and a New York Times op-ed columnist. Dr. Krugman had published two excellent op-ed articles in the New York Times [21] in which he had analyzed the roots of some of the anti-Semitic comments by Malaysia's former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammed. Although Dr. Krugman was (in the author's view) completely even-handed in his analysis (and critical of Mr. Mohammed), he was attacked savagely by the neoconsertives who had contended that he should not have even BROUGHT UP and discussed such subjects to begin with because, in the neocons' view, they would spread Mr. Mohammed's anti-Semitic remarks mentioned in the article [22]. In Mr. Alterman's words [20],

These critics insist on a principled ignorance!

In making hysterical calls for Dr. Krugman's head, the critics even accused him, a Jew himself, of being anti-Semitic.

Mr. Alterman himself had been treated similarly by the neocons after he had discussed [23] the roots of anti-Jewish violence in France [24], and had noted its obvious relation to what Israel has been doing in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip (a relation that had even been acknowledged by senior leaders of the French Jewish community). Reacting to the unfair attacks, Mr. Alterman wrote [20] that,

Conservatives, and some not so conservatives, are testing out a new thesis in their effort to shut out ideas that make them uncomfortable: Any attempt to analyze the origin of a distasteful phenomenon is tantamount to endorsing it,

and went on to say that [20],

The line was clear: 'Explanation equals rationalization....' 'We are the good guys, period,' this argument tells us. 'What else do we need to know?'

Mr. Alterman called this attitude of the US conservatives the new "know-nothing-ism" [25].

In other words, according to know-nothing-ism, common people need to know very little, if at all, about important issues. All they need to do is trusting a few "good" people who would tell them nothing but the "fact" that they are "good." If people wish to inquire about any important issue and learn beyond what the "good" guys are willing to tell them, their knowledge may make the "good" guys accountable to people, implying that common people have committed an unforgiving sin.

Even a glance at the fundamentalists' actions and declared positions - both in Iran and in exile - regarding any important issue, ranging from the social and political developments in Iran, to Iran's nuclear energy program and what is happening in Iraq, indicates that know-nothing-ism describes precisely the principles by which they operate. The fundamentalists - both Islamic and secular - believe that people should follow certain lines that they dictate. Any deviations from the "official" line cannot be forgiven. They insist on ignorance - unprincipled ignorance.

Worse yet, due to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, its threats against Iran, and the events of the past five years in the Middle East, even some of the leading and seemingly well-informed Iranians in exile appear to have caught the "disease" of know-nothing-ism.

How do the fundamentalists enforce their know-nothing-ism?

Consider, first, Tehran's fundamentalists. Whenever a journalist, a university student, an intellectual, a human rights advocate, or a political activist is accused of "spreading lies," "making the public anxious," or "disturbing the public," and is thrown in jail, what the accusations most likely mean is that the jailed person has provided people with information, knowledge, and/or insight that may make the fundamentalists accountable to the people, and that people have learnt something that, in the fundamentalists' view, they should not have.

This also explains why the political dissidents, journalists, and even university students are put on "trial" mostly behind closed doors and without a jury. But, in order to frighten future dissidents, the drumbeats of accusations (without giving the accused any chance to defend him-/herself) and "conviction" of the dissidents are very loud. Moreover, the independent newspapers and publications are "temporarily" closed forever. Why? Because the fundamentalists do not wish the people to learn about the views of dissidents, independent analysts, and journalists and, therefore, enforce their know-nothing-ism.

Know-nothing-ism of Tehran's fundamentalists has been clearly behind some of the most important cases of political repression. Why were Drs. Hashem Aghajari and Mohsen Kadivar, and Messrs Abdollah Nouri, Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari, Emadeddin Baghi, and many others jailed? Because, the fundamentalists were afraid of people learning about progressive interpretation of Islamic teachings that the imprisoned espoused - what Dr. Kadivar refers to as the spiritual Islam - and, hence, had to enforce their know-nothing-ism.

Why did many young bloggers spend time in jail a while ago? Why are university students constantly thrown in jail? Why are the fundamentalists afraid of cultural relations between the people of Iran and the U.S., and accuse a 67 years old grandmother - Dr. Haleh Esfandiari - of trying to overthrow their regime? Because, they all inform the people and, therefore, violate the know-nothing-ism of the fundamentalists.

A comprehensive description of the way the know-nothing-ism of Tehran's fundamentalists is enforced and the names of its leading victims would make a voluminous book. I say the LEADING victims because, in the final analysis, most, if not all, Iranians can be victims of know-nothing-ism of the fundamentalists - both Islamic and secular. The point should, however, be clear: Inquiring, speaking, or writing about such issues as rampant corruption, secret and not-so-secret murders of the dissidents, political and social repression, and reckless foreign adventures make Tehran's fundamentalists accountable to the people and, therefore, represent unforgivable deviations from their ideology of know-nothing-ism.

How do the exiled secular fundamentalists enforce their know-nothing-ism?

All one needs to do is watching their political programs on their satellite TV channels, or listening to them on their radio programs, or reading what their analysts publish and post on the internet. In order to keep people as uninformed as possible and enforce their know-nothing-ism, so that they can advance their agenda, the secular fundamentalists resort to the followings (which represent just the tip of the iceberg):

(i) First, and foremost, what the secular fundamentalists present as news or analysis is a maddening mixture of myths, half truths, innuendoes, and outright lies. The real issues are either never discussed, or if they are, it is done from such an extreme angle that the discussions have nothing to do with reality.

This is completely similar to what Tehran's fundamentalists do. All one has to do is reading the writings of Mr. Hossein Shariatmadari, managing director of Tehran Keyhan, or those of Mr. Mohammad Kazem Anbar Louei, the editor of Resaalat, another right-wing newspaper, or have a glance at Siyasat-e Rooz, the third right-wing newspaper.

A good example of how the know-nothing-ism of the exiled secular fundamentalists is enforced is their treatment of Dr. Shirin Ebadi [16], which is precisely the mirror image of that of Tehran's fundamentalists. In addition to their unfair and unfounded attacks on Dr. Ebadi, what the secular fundamentalists do NOT tell their supporters about her is a glaring example of their know-nothing-ism.

Most supporters of the secular fundamentalists do not know that, in addition to her work on behalf of women's and children's rights in Iran, Shirin Ebadi has represented, and continues to represent, in Iran's courts many of the most prominent political dissidents, intellectuals and their families, including the families of the late Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar, Mr. Ezzat Ebrahimnezhad (the Tehran University graduate who was murdered during the student uprising at Tehran University's dormitory in July 1999), and of Dr. Zahra Kazemi (the photojournalist who was murdered in detention in Iran in 2003). Moreover, Mr. Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, the disillusioned member of Ansaar-e Hezbollah (a pressure group), Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, Dr. Nasser Zarafshan (the courageous attorney who was jailed because he tried to reveal some of the secrets of the infamous Chain Murders), Mr. Akbar Ganji, and many young Iranian bloggers and journalists, such as Mr. Omid Memarian, have all been represented by Shirin Ebadi.

In fact, 80% of all the political prisoners and dissidents in Iran are represented pro-bono (free of charge) by Dr. Ebadi's Center for the Defense of Human Rights, and their families are financially supported by the Center. The Center holds a weekly free class in which principles of human rights are taught, as well as a press conference on the first Monday of every month to discuss an important issue about human rights and their violation in Iran, and releases a report every six months detailing all the human rights violations in Iran, and provide an updated list of Iran's political prisoners and their status.

What do the exiled secular fundamentalists do in response to all the courageous work that Dr. Ebadi and her colleagues have been doing in Iran? When Ebadi represents the dissidents, the secular fundamentalists refer to her only in third person, never mentioning her name. But, they attack her viciously, repeating her name disrespectfully innumerable times.

(ii) The secular fundamentalists label anyone a lobbyist of the Islamic Republic who defends Iran's fundamental rights to peaceful use of nuclear energy in the framework of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and its Safeguards agreement, of which Iran is a signatory.

The author is almost certain that most, if not all, of the secular fundamentalists have never bothered to read these international treaties (and these treaties that the Shah regime signed and ratified), and only rehash what nonsense the American and Israeli warmongers keep repeating.

(iii) The secular fundamentalists equal the defense of Iran's rights in the framework of the NPT and its Safeguards agreement to supporting the development of nuclear bombs by Iran.

This is what has repeatedly happened to the author [26] and many others.

(iv) Lacking the courage and honesty to explicitly advocate a war with Iran, the secular fundamentalists do the next "best" thing: viciously attacking those who speak out against the war. They label them agents or lobbyists of the Islamic Republic, simply because they oppose the war.

(v) To justify their warmongering, the secular fundamentalists blame the people of Iran for the possible war. Their "reasoning" goes something like this: "Iranian people are waiting for the U.S. It is their fault that they do not revolt and topple the Islamic Republic. Therefore, the U.S. must attack to get rid of the regime."

Who says that the Iranian people are waiting for the U.S.? Who says that Iranians need the U.S., anyway? Who says that the U.S. actually wants democracy in the Middle East? If it does, why does it not start with its own allies: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan ...., all run by corrupt dictatorships? The secular fundamentalists have no answers, of course.

(vi) The secular fundamentalists have never bothered to understand the root cause of the Iranian Revolution. Since they have no legitimacy, as the Pahlavi regime was installed by foreign powers, they also attribute the cause of the Revolution to foreign powers. Thus, in their view, this was a conspiracy by former president Jimmy Carter and the West (the same West that they now beg to attack Iran).

In fact, the secular fundamentalists attribute the root cause of the Revolution to anyone and anything, except the real culprit: the Shah's corrupt dictatorship. Some of them have gone so far as claiming that the people of Iran had some psychological problems at the time of Revolution.

(vii) Despite being anti-religion, the secular fundamentalists worship President Bush, and present him to the people of Iran, through their satellite TV programs, as a popular president and a man in love with freedom and democracy.

This is while the Bush administration lied to the world in order to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq (see Ref. [18] for some of the lies). This is an Administration that has declared the Geneva Conventions "quaint;" has suspended habeas corpus, one of the most important civil rights in the U.S.; has used torture and secret trials, and has blasted its critics as anti-Americans. The President's approval ratings is one of the lowest of any U.S. president throughout its history, and the American people have a case of very heavy fatigue with this president. Despite this, a secular fundamentalist "analyst" recently said [27],

President Bush has had enormous success. Those who oppose him are either jealous of him, or are committing treason.

This explains why whenever this analyst speaks in one of the satellite TV programs in Los Angeles, one needs Persian subtitles to understand what he is saying in Persian - the man is from another planet with an alien language.

(viii) The secular fundamentalists worship President Bush, even though they are anti-religion and the President is a Christian fundamentalist.

President Bush believes that he takes orders directly from God. In June 2003, he told Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), who was the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister at that times, that [28]

God told me to strike at Al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East ...

How different is this from what Mr. Ahmadinejad has claimed about his relation with God? He has claimed that when he spoke at the UN General Assembly in 2005, he was protected by a "crescent of light" (presumably created by God), and that he speaks directly to God.

(ix) The secular fundamentalists are natural allies of the neoconservatives, and, in fact, not only do they repeat, verbatim, whatever nonsense the neoconservatives claim about Iran, but also add to it their own exaggerations, half-truths, and lies.

The sad aspect of this is that, the secular fundamentalists never realize that the U.S. political establishment in general, and the neoconservatives in particular, are just using them to advance their own agenda. Once the secular fundamentalists' usefulness expires, they will be discarded like a piece of trash. This has happened too many times in too many countries to ignore.

(x) The secular fundamentalists describe Iraq as heaven on Earth when, in fact, Iraq has been destroyed; hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed; over 4 million Iraqis have been displaced; the sectarian lines have become too obvious to ignore; a low-intensity civil war has been going on for quite sometime, and terrorists who did not exist in Iraq before the invasion now have safe bases in Iraq to operate from [18].

Even such people as Dr. Alireza Nourizadeh still speak of the "democracy that President Bush has brought to Iraq." They are from another planet or, better yet, another universe in which natural and social laws are completely different from those of our universe, where destruction and rape of a nation is tantamount to democracy. Now, after repeating for five years the nonsense of the neoconservatives and their Israeli allies, the same people shed crocodile tears for Iran, "warning" against the danger to Iran.

The goal is to enforce know-nothing-ism; that is, keeping people uninformed, so that the agenda of the secular fundamentalists can be advanced. In fact, what they "export" to Iran through their satellite TV programs is a counter-culture of self-righteousness and intolerance, all in the name of freedom, democracy, and human rights. This is not, of course, surprising, as these are the same people who supported the Shah and his regime, one of the worst violators of human rights.

The Information Matrix

Despite their belief in know-nothing-ism and attempts to enforce it, Iran's fundamentalists - both Islamic and secular - recognize that our era is the information age. Therefore, one way or another, the people will get access to the facts, if they so desire. To prevent this as much as possible, the fundamentalists have resorted to building an information MATRIX (a rigid structure), hoping that we will all inhabit it. Let me explain:

In an excellent article [29] Mr. Frank Rich, a Sunday columnist for the op-ed pages of the New York Times, commented on the power of AOL Time Warner, the producer of the movie "the Matrix" and its sequels - "The Matrix Reloaded" - and more generally the media giants of the U.S., for publicizing their products and fixating people's attention on them, but carefully controlling, and even limiting, the flow of information to their own liking. He wrote [29] that,

It [media giants in the US] has the Herculean resources to fix much of the world's attention on whatever it chooses to sell.... The media giants took the same tack in banding together to push the administration-dictated narrative of Saddam Hussein... The [TV] networks' various production of "Countdown: Iraq," though as ponderous as "The Matrix Reloaded," were so effective that by the time the [Iraq] war began, 51 percent of Americans, according to a Knight-Ridder poll, believe that Iraqis were among the Sep. 11 hijackers... One way or another, we all inhabit the Matrix now."

In other words, the media giants create an information Matrix and have people inhabit it. The flow of information into this Matrix is tightly controlled, so that, eventually, people may come to believe whatever flows into the Matrix, even if the information is completely false.

Creating an information Matrix and trying to have us inhabit it is another facet of the Iranian fundamentalists - both Islamic and secular. In fact, the Matrix is created so that know-nothing-ism can prevail; if know-nothing-ism is violated, the Matrix will collapse, but the people will also pay a heavy price.

Tehran's fundamentalists control almost all means of mass communications, in addition to the power to close any independent publication and jailing any journalist who violates their ideology of know-nothing-ism that harms the information Matrix.

Likewise, the secular fundamentalists carry on the same "traditions." They control almost all of such important means of mass communications as satellite TV and radio stations. In addition, through the "articles" that they post on various sites, as well as the profanity-laden e-mails that they dispatch to whoever that does not follow their line, the secular fundamentalists try to silent their critics by threatening them with all types of retributions, ranging from denying their business to relatively independent Iranian radio and TV stations in southern California, to spreading unfounded rumors about them, and viciously attacking the critics who post on the internet articles that criticize them.

In fact, what Tehran's fundamentalists do to their opponents has eerie similarities with what the Pahlavi regime - the regime that the lunatic secular fundamentalists worship and yearn for - did to the dissidents. The similarities manifest themselves in at least two ways:

(i) The Pahlavi regime tried to silent journalists, intellectuals, and dissidents by murdering them, or keeping them in jail for a long time, the same as what Tehran's fundamentalists are doing now.

For example [30,31], Mohammad Farrokhi Yazdi, the great poet and journalist, who had been jailed in 1909 with his lips sewed to make an example of what can happen to dissidents, died in Reza Shah's prison in 1939. Mohammad Reza Mirzadeh Eshghi was assassinated by the security forces of Reza Shah (who was the Prime Minister at that time) in 1924 at the age of 31, and Dr. Taghi Arani, the distinguished leftist intellectual, died in 1940 in Reza Shah's prison at the age of 35, after he was deliberately infected by typhus. After the CIA-MI6 coup of 1953, Dr. Hossein Fatemi, a journalist who was Foreign Minister in Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh's government, was carried on a stretcher to the firing squad. Karim Pourshirazi, a journalist, editor of Shouresh newspaper, and inveterate critic of the Shah and his sister Ashraf, was burnt alive in a military prison after severe torture. Journalist Khosrow Golesorkhi, film maker and teacher Keramatollah Daneshian, Bijan Jazani, Hamid Momeni (who published under the name M. Bidsorkhi), and tens of other leftist intellectuals were all murdered, simply because they opposed the Pahlavi regime.

Similarly, in order to enforce their know-nothing-ism and protect their information Matrix, the fundamentalist perpetrators of the Chain Murders eliminated up to 80 intellectuals and political dissidents from 1988-1998, in addition to executing thousands of political prisoners. Both groups of fundamentalists believe in the philosophy of Joseph Stalin that [32],

Death solves all problems. No man, no problem

Just as Tehran's fundamentalists tried to eliminate in 1993 many writers and intellectuals by throwing into a deep valley the bus that was carrying them to Armenia, Reza Shah did the same by jailing, all at once, the "53 group" of 53 intellectuals.

(ii) Both groups have no mercy even on their own disillusioned followers, who may attempt to partially lift the shroud of secrecy and reveal what they have been doing to their opponents, since such attempts would represent deviations from know-nothing-ism and damage the information Matrix.

Saeed Emami, the chief enforcer of Stalin's philosophy and know-nothing-ism, "committed suicide" so that the murder of about 80 dissidents and intellectuals would remain shrouded in secrecy (although the secrecy was partially lifted by the efforts of Mr. Mohammad Khatami and the reformists).

The same thing happened during the reign of the Pahlavies, the same regime that the secular fundamentalists worship and support. The victims included men who had served Iran honorably, and those who had served the Pahlavies diligently. For example, Ali Akbar Davar, who was the architect of Iran's modern judiciary, was forced to commit suicide in 1936 at the age 49. General Teymour Bakhtiar, a man who had served the Shah for years after the 1953 coup, was assassinated by agents of SAVAK (the Shah's secret police) in Baghdad in 1970, in one of the first acts of state-sponsored terrorism [33], an event that the secular fundamentalists, whose screams about the terrorism committed by Tehran's fundamentalists are deafening, pretend not to have happened. The complete list is too long to be given here.

In Tehran's fundamentalists' Matrix the true reformists - those whose main goal is NOT achieving or preserving power, but CHANGING the structure of power in Iran - defenders of human rights, and advocates of democratic principles are all agents of foreign powers. In that Matrix, most, if not all, of Iran's independent press - or what remains of it - is controlled, or at least helped, by foreigners. In that Matrix, the elections that they hold in Iran are free, fair, and competitive. The thousands of the candidates who are disqualified from running are either corrupt, or foreign agents, or enemies of Islam. In that Matrix, Iran has no political prisoners, but only people who have been imprisoned because they committed common crimes against the interests of the people (read the fundamentalists' interests). The list can go on and on and on.

Likewise, in the secular fundamentalists' Matrix there is no difference between Tehran's fundamentalists on the one hand, and the true reformists and advocates of democracy and human rights, on the other hand, who have been jailed or are being threatened with jail. Inside their Matrix (but only there!) the Shah allowed the people to freely elect the Majles deputies, and during his reign Iran had no political prisoners but only "terrorists" who had committed political crimes against the interests of the people (the Shah himself made this claim an innumerable number of times).

Note, however, another facet of the information Matrix of the secular fundamentalist: They attack and vilify anybody who does not believe in what they believe. But, if the same person is murdered, they elevate him/her to the status of a national hero and shed crocodile tears for him/her. Recall, for example, that so long as the late Mr. Ali Akbar Saidi Sirdjani was living, he was vilified by many secular fundamentalists, particularly those who are based in Los Angeles. However, after that courageous man was murdered by Tehran's fundamentalists, he was elevated to the level of a national hero by the same secular fundamentalists who were vilifying him.

Reloading the Information Matrix: Rewriting the History

Not only do the current Matrices of the fundamentalists - both Islamic and secular - have little to do with reality, but so also do their historical Matrices. That is, their versions of the history. The fundamentalists cannot read the history as it has actually happened and, therefore, they constantly try to rewrite it - that is, try to reload their information Matrix - with the hope that they can produce a new history - their historical, reloaded Matrix - that makes people believe their distorted or imaginary versions of the history. Consider just a few examples:

A. Day of University Students

The secular fundamentalists consider July 7, 1999 (18 Teer, 1378) as the day of university students. As mentioned above, this was the day when paramilitary and vigilante groups attacked Tehran University students in their dormitory while they were protesting the closure of Salaam, a leading reformist newspaper in Iran. One graduate of Tehran University, Mr. Ezzat Ebrahim Nezhad, was murdered; many were injured; many more were thrown in jail (some still are in jail), and the dormitory was ransacked.

However, the enthusiasm of the secular fundamentalists for this tragic day is due to the fact that, they want to erase from their historical Matrix another important day of university students, namely, December 7, 1953 (Azar 16, 1332). This was the day when, during students demonstrations at the Faculty of Engineering of Tehran University against the visit to Iran by Richard M. Nixon, the then U.S. Vice President, three courageous students - Mostafa Bozorgnia, Ahmad Ghandchi, and Mahdi Shariat Razavi (the brother-in-law of the late Dr. Ali Shariati, the distinguished Islamic intellectual) - were murdered by the Shah's security forces. Nixon was visiting Iran less than 4 months after the CIA-MI6-led coup had overthrown the government of Dr. Mohammad Mossaddegh.

Tehran's fundamentalists, on the other hand, commemorate, with much fanfare, the anniversary of the December 7, 1953 events, because in their historical, reloaded Matrix the July 7, 1999 events did not happen, except for some "counter-revolutionaries trying to create chaos and instability in the country."

In fact, BOTH are important days in Iran's recent history; BOTH must be commemorated as the day of university students.

B. Executing the Political Prisoners

As mentioned above, during July-September of 1988, a large number of political prisoners were executed. They had been sentenced to prison terms by Iran's Revolutionary courts, but not execution. Most of them had finished, or were about to finish, their sentences. Their only "sin" was that, while in prison, they had persisted in believing in their principles for which they had been imprisoned (the author takes no position regarding what the executed prisoners believed in; it was their right).

Every year the anniversary of this event - which is truly a crime against humanity - is passed in absolute silence by Tehran's fundamentalists. It is as if, in their historical Matrix, the crime never took place. The few people who have tried to speak up against what had happened have been silenced, including Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri.

But, in addition to the fact that the Shah's regime executed hundreds of political prisoners, the secular fundamentalists who speak loudly about the 1988 executions, are absolutely silent about an exactly similar crime that was committed by that regime, because they would like to erase that crime from people's memories and Iran's history when they reload their Matrix. Let me explain.

On April 19, 1975 (Farvardin 30, 1354), nine courageous political prisoners - Ahmad Jalil Afshar, Mohammad Choupanzadeh, Bijan Jazani [34], Mash'oof (Saeed) Kalantari (Jazani's uncle), Aziz Sarmadi, Abbas Sourki, Hassan Zia Zarifi [35,36], and Mostafa Javan Khoshdel and Kazem Zolanvar [37] - who had been sentenced by the Shah's military courts to prison terms, were murdered by agents of the SAVAK, the Shah's dreaded secret service. Jazani had been given a 15 year sentence, Zia Zarifi a life sentence, and the rest 10 years who had already done 7 years of their sentence.

The executioners' leaders were Reza Attarpour - A notorious SAVAK agent known as Dr. Hossein Zadeh (who escaped to Israel after the Revolution) - and Colonel Vaziri, the Evin's warden at that time. Let us read how Bahman Naderipour - known as Hossein Tehrani - who was a SAVAK agent [38] and was closely involved with the executions, described the events [39]:

We took the prisoners to the high hills above Evin. They were blind-folded and their hands were tied. We got them off the minibus and had them sit on the ground. Then, Attarpour told them that, just as your friends have killed our comrades, we have decided to execute you - the brain behind those executions .......

Jazani and the others began protesting. I do not know whether it was Attarpour or Colonel Vaziri who first pulled out a machine gun and started shooting them. I do not remember whether I was the 4th or 5th person to whom they gave the machine gun. I had never done that before ......

At the end, Sa'di Jalil Esfahani [another SAVAK agent, known as Babak] shot them in their heads [to make sure that they were dead].

It was then announced that those brave men had tried to escape while being transferred from Evin and, thus, had been killed [40]. The SAVAK did not allow the medical doctor, who had examined the bodies of the nine, to question in his report the cause of death, since he had seen that the bullets had entered their bodies through their chests [35], not their backs. The murder of those brave men was apparently in retaliation for assassination of Abbas Shahriari, a notorious SAVAK agent who, by penetrating the armed-resistance groups, had caused the arrest and executions of many brave political activists, and Brigadier General Zandipour, who headed the infamous the "anti-terrorism committee" within the SAVAK, whereas in reality those nine men had nothing to do with the assassinations.

When Amir Asadollah Alam, the Shah's long-time confidante and Imperial Court Minister, asked him why those [brave] men had been murdered, the Shah had responded that [41],

We had no choice. They were all terrorists, and would have escaped, which would have been worse,

hence indicating clearly that the Shah himself was a culprit in the crime.

While it is true that the numbers of the political prisoners who were murdered in the events of 1975 and 1988 are vastly different, do numbers really matter when it comes to such heinous crimes?

In fact, execution of the political prisoners in 1975 and 1988 are BOTH crimes against humanity, not one or the other. None must be forgotten. In both cases, the murderers could not recognize that nothing would change by executing the political prisoners, because the prisoners were the product of the dominant conditions of the society and, therefore, so long as the conditions did not change, more brave people would come forward to change them.

C. The 1953 Coup and Dr. Mohammad Mossaddegh

The United States finally came clean and provided the history and details of the August 19, 1953 coup that overthrew the government of Dr. Mohammad Mossaddegh and restored the Shah to power. First, President Clinton stated in April 1999 that [42],

Iran, because of its enormous geopolitical importance over time, has been the subject of quite a lot of abuse from various Western nations. I think sometimes it's quite important to tell people, look, you have a right to be angry at something my country or my culture or others that are generally allied with us did to you 50 or 60 or 100 or 150 years ago.

Then, on March 17, 2000, Secretary of State Madeline Albright apologized [43] to Iranian people for the 1953 coup.

But, despite the confessions of the culprits themselves [42-44], the secular fundamentalists still insist on reloading their information Matrix by rewriting the history.

Sometimes, they insist that had the coup not happened, the Tudeh (communist) Party would have taken Iran over, and handed it to the Soviet Union. In addition to the fact that no one has been able to find any documents in the archives of the KGB (the intelligence services of the Soviet Union) that support such a claim, it is also a well-known fact that even the chief of the CIA station in Tehran at that time did not believe in this "theory" and resigned, rather than taking part in the coup [45].

The fact that Donald Wilber, the Princeton University expert on the Middle East architecture and the CIA strategist of the coup [44], and Kermit "Kim" Roosevelt, Jr., the CIA head of Operation TP-Ajax (that is, the coup) [46] both made the same claim has no significance, because that is the only way they could justify their crimes.

Note that, Mr. Roosevelt had met the Shah secretly in a car in Tehran late one night, and spoke to him about the coup while hiding in a blanket, because the Shah was afraid that Dr. Mossaddegh would find out about the meeting, if it took place in his palace. But, it is perhaps most revealing to recall what the Shah said [46] to Mr. Roosevelt, which is nothing short of a confession:

"I owe my throne to God, my people, my army - and to you," sobbed a grateful Shah of Iran ....

The Shah always believed that God was on his side (just as Tehran's fundamentalists also believe so) and, therefore, claiming so was no surprise. Part of the army's high command which had benefited from the Shah's largess and had lived for years with "long live Shah," instead of "long live Iran," was also on his side. They included General Fazlollah Zahedi, General Hassan Arfa', General Deyhimi, and Colonels Teymour Bakhtiar, Hedayatollah Gilanshah, Hassan Pakravan, Hassan Alavi Kia, and Hassan Akhavi (who held the important post of the head of military intelligence). The people that the Shah claimed were on his side were the likes of the Rashidian brothers (Habibollah and Asadollah), the MI6 agents [47], Sha'ban Jafari, and numerous thugs. In short, the Shah did owe his throne to Mr. Roosevelt and the U.S. and British governments.

The Shah also told Mr. Roosevelt [48] that,

If I find [Dr. Hossein] Fatemi [Foreign Minister in Dr. Mossadegh's cabinet], who brought down my sculptures and my father's, I will immediately execute him ....

which, of course, he did (see above).

At other times, the secular fundamentalists insist that the coup was, in fact, a popular revolt against Dr. Mossaddegh [49]. This defies logic: How could millions of people who had supported Dr. Mossaddegh a short time earlier to dissolve the Majles, turn against him and be against nationalization of Iran's oil industry and its legal ownership by Iran? Yes, there was demonstrations on the coup day, but the demonstrators were mostly thugs, bought with millions of dollars that Mr. Roosevelt and others had taken to Iran.

Did Dr. Mossaddegh make mistakes during those turbulent and difficult times? Of course he did. Could he have done better? It is possible. But, nothing changes the fundamental fact: the August 19, 1953 events were nothing but a coup against Iran and Iranians, for which we, and indeed the entire world including the U.S., are still paying. But, in the secular fundamentalists' reloaded historical Matrix, anything is, of course, possible, including turning a world-acknowledged coup into a popular revolt.

When it comes to Dr. Mossaddegh and the 1953 coup, and more generally Iran's contemporary history, there is not much difference between Tehran's fundamentalists and the lunatic secular fundamentalists. Although Tehran's fundamentalists have been (correctly) blaming the coup for the Shah's dictatorship, they have also tried, at every turn and opportunity, to attack Dr. Mossaddegh, erase his immense influence on the history of contemporary Iran, and attribute to themselves whatever positive things that he did for Iran.

For example, they claim that the reason that Ayatollah Sayyed Abolghasem Kashani stopped supporting Dr. Mossaddegh was that, he was not happy with, and was afraid of, the influence of the Tudeh Party. Therefore, both groups of fundamentalists have created an imaginary super-powerful Tudeh Party which enables them to reload their historical Matrices with their fantasies.

At other times, Tehran's fundamentalists have claimed that Ayatollah Kashani was the true leader of nationalization of Iran's oil industry [50], whereas after the events of July 21, 1952 (Teer 30, 1331; see above) the Ayatollah was part of the opposition to Dr. Mossaddegh, first covertly and then overtly. He was also used by the Shah after the 1953 coup until he was no longer useful to him and his regime, at which time he became, over night, "Sheikh Kashi." To further tarnish Dr. Mossaddegh's legacy, the fundamentalists have even claimed that he was not a true believer and Muslim.

Tehran's fundamentalists have also transformed Sheikh Fazlollah Nouri, a reactionary clergy, into a leader of the Constitutional Revolution. They are also silent about the fact that Sayyed Hassan Modarres was vehemently against Reza Shah's plan for abolishing the monarchy and founding the Republic of Iran. There are many other instances of rewriting the history by the fundamentalists.

This is not surprising though; rewriting the history is an expertise of the fundamentalists - both Islamic and secular. The author shudders at the thought of the time that will take to correct the history again for the future generations.

D. The Good SAVAK Versus the Bad SAVAK

There is a secretive monarchist/secular fundamentalist group in southern California. Due to its secret nature, not much is known publicly about this group. Why in a democratic country, such as the U.S., a presumably peaceful group is secretive is beyond the author's comprehension. Presumably, the group is too small and revealing its identity will reveal the number of its members and supporters which will be too embarrassing. The only fact about this group known to the author is that it has an e-mail address, YariLosAngeles@.....

Any time a person, such as the author, posts an article on the internet or publishes one that contains something - anything - that they do not like, the group dispatches e-mails to him and others that are full of baseless accusations, profanities, etc. Often, they attack the author, regardless of what he/she has written about, due to the preconceived notion that they have of the author. They are so "courageous" that their e-mails never have a name, signature, or address (this is a hallmark of the secular fundamentalists).

Recently, when an article of the author was published [51], they "warned" him in an e-mail that they are watching him "like a hawk," because the author has "supported Iran's nuclear program and the reformists and, therefore, is responsible for whatever that is happening in Iran." The author felt truly powerful that he could, single-handedly, do so much to his beloved Iran, after living in the U.S. for the past 30 years. Among the author's other "sins" that this group had listed in its e-mail was, "having spoken to a Muslim organization about Iran's nuclear program" [52]. They also threatened that when they come to power in Iran, they will set up a "hall of shame" with pictures of the likes of the author.

That they watch people like a hawk and in secret is not surprising. They are too Americanized - despite their boastful claims of being super-patriot Iranians - and have forgotten that a hawk is the symbol of the U.S.; Iran's is a lion. They also carry on the tradition of their masters - the Shah and his SAVAK - in watching people secretly; they do not know any better.

This group has been involved in some of the most absurd rewriting of history, in order to recreate the Shah's image as one of a kind ruler. For example, in a recent e-mail exchange with a progressive American academic, they claimed that there were in fact two SAVAKs, a good one headed by General Mohammad Nasiri, and a bad one headed by General Hossein Fardoust. They claimed that very few people knew about the bad SAVAK, not even the Shah, and that one of the few who knew was Amir Abbas Hoveida, which is why he was executed after the 1979 Revolution. They also claimed that all the SAVAK's crimes were (naturally!) committed by the bad one which is, in fact, still operating today and is none other than the Islamic Republic's Ministry of Intelligence. In other words, even before the 1979 Revolution, the Islamic Republic was already in place!

Such fantasies need no explanation, and must be seen for what they are, namely, rewriting the historical information Matrix, in order to keep people as uninformed as possible.

E. Selective Amnesia and Memory

The "disease" of rewriting Iran's history has spread to even some of the intellectuals and supposedly democrats in exile. Some have praised Reza Shah and Mohammad Reza Shah; some have defended the 1953 coup. Some examples:

In a recent interview [53], Dr. Abbas Milani cast doubts on whether the August 19, 1953 events constituted a coup. The purpose of Dr. Milani's book on Amir Abbas Hoveida, despite the scholarly work that had been done, also appears to the author to be, first and foremost, exonerating Mr. Hoveida.

It also appears that Dr. Milani, a former Maoist himself, believes that there has never been a true leftist intellectual in Iran. If he finds one, he tries to move him to the right. He claimed in that interview that [53],

if you ask any Iranian, who are the top 10 people that are working on Iran, I do not think that there would even be one leftist among them.

Clearly, there is a large number of Iranian leftists who disagree with the above statement. So, it appears [54] that, in taking his imaginary poll, Dr. Milani has acted the same way that the Tehran's fundamentalists' Guardian Council does, namely, he has disqualified some Iranians from participating in the poll, while allowing others to express their opinion, which explains how he reached the conclusion that, "any Iranian ..." In the same interview, Dr. Milani also "dismissed" most of Iran's towering contemporary intellectuals and literary figures. So, Dr. Milani is also busy rewriting the history [55]. These are indeed strange times, dear.

Dr. Jalal Matini, who never spoke against the Shah's dictatorship and was also silent over much of the post-Revolution era, suddenly presented a quasi-scholarly study of Dr. Mossaddegh's government and legacy, in order to rewrite the history. He presented the August 1953 events as anything other than a coup, and tried to exonerate the Shah's regime [56-58].

Some time ago, Dr. Alireza Nourizadeh wondered aloud why Iranian intellectuals do not apologize to Iranian people for supporting the 1979 Revolution. He has conveniently forgotten his own well-documented support for, (i) the Shah; (ii) Ayatollah Khomeini [59]; (iii) Mr. Rafsanjani; (iv) Mr. Khatami, and (v) President Bush and the American and Israeli warmongers. In the last case, not only has he been repeating, verbatim, the nonsense of the President and his allies, but has also been adding his own exaggerations (which only a thin line separates them from lies) to it. Justifying his zig zag by saying that, "I was young," does not wash, because he has continued to zig zag throughout his political career, so his problem is deeper than youthful mistakes.

These people have selective amnesia and memory. They want us to forget about the 25 years of the dark dictatorship, from 1953 to 1979, simply because they have emptied their historical Matrix of this period and are trying to reload it with fantasies. Since they are not capable of reading the history as it has happened, they are also incapable of recognizing that the Tehran's fundamentalists' rule is the legitimate "child" of the Pahlavi regime of the 1953 coup and the fascist Rastakhiz Party. After establishment of this Party was announced in March 1975 (Esfand 1353), the Shah declared that

Anyone who does not like this [one-Party political system] can obtain his passport and leave Iran ....

Just like what Tehran's Fundamentalists are trying to do with journalists, intellectuals, and dissidents, telling them that they can leave Iran permanently and speak to Voice of America as much as they want. At the time of establishment of Rastakhiz Party, Abbas Sourki, one of the nine courageous political prisoners executed in Evin hills (see above), said [35]

Before Rastakhiz political breathing was forbidden. With Rastakhiz, human breathing was also banned. They [the SAVAK] will murder us

and they did.

Those who are trying to rewrite the history are not capable of recognizing that the crimes that have been committed by Tehran's fundamentalists AFTER the Revolution do NOT delegitimize the Revolution itself. They are incapable of understanding that the Revolution had legitimate economical, social, and cultural reasons.

Likewise, Tehran's fundamentalists have selective amnesia and memory. They would like to forget about the 1980s, one of the bleakest decades in Iran's contemporary history. They do not wish to recall that the Iran-Iraq war was dragged on six years longer than its natural conclusion in 1982, nor do they want to remember, or even acknowledge, that thousands of political prisoners were executed, and all the independent political parties and organizations, as well as the independent press, were crushed. There is just no room in Tehran fundamentalist's historical Matrix for recalling and explaining such shameful events; their know-nothing-ism dictates that they be erased from their Matrix.

But, in fact, no period of Iran's contemporary history over the past 100 years must be forgotten. If we become forgetful, we will be bound to repeat the same fatal errors.


In the author's opinion, there is not much difference between Tehran's fundamentalists and the exiled secular fundamentalists, especially those based in U.S. None of them is after protecting Iran, its true national interests, territorial integrity, and national security. The only goal of both groups is having power to rule people, in a system in which people would follow them blindly. To achieve this goal, both groups believe in know-nothing-ism, whereby people are not allowed to learn anything about what the fundamentalists do or have done, and rewriting the history in order to justify their past crimes.

References and Notes

[1] The figure is according to Ervand Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1982). The quote is from the book's Persian translation on p. 334.

[2] The figure is according to Tehran Keyhan, July 17, 21, and 22, 1952 issues (Teer 26, 30, and 31, 1331, issues in Persian calendar).

[3] See Stephen Kinzer's excellent book, All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (Wiley, New York, 2003). Mr. Kinzer traces the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States back to the 1953 coup.

[4] Although it was initially claimed that hundreds of demonstrators had been killed on that day, later research, most notably by Mr. Emad Baghi, a leading human rights advocate, indicated that the number of deaths was far fewer.

[5] To this date, no one knows with reasonable certainty which organization (if any) was the culprit behind the explosions. The MKO never officially took responsibility for them, and the main suspect, a man named Kashmiri, was not a known member of the MKO or any other political group.

[6] In the author's opinion, both the top leadership of the MKO and the extreme reactionary elements of the government at that time - led by Asadollah Ladjvardi - wanted a bloody confrontation. Therefore, both groups are responsible for the carnage that took place.

[7] Including the author's 23 years old brother, three cousins (all between 19 and 24), and numerous friends and college contemporaries.

[8] One example of such innocent people with which the author is completely familiar:

In Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, next to the author's brother's grave (who was executed September 18, 1981), a young man is resting in peace. At the time of his death he was a 29 years old medical doctor whose only "sin," for which he was executed, was treating injuries of the people who had been hurt during the demonstrations in Tehran during Summer of 1981.

[9] The operations were called Eternal Light ("Forough-e Javedan" in Persian) by the MKO, and Trap ("Mersaad") by the Government.

[10] The total number of MKO members who lost their lives during that invasion is unknown. The MKO itself has admitted to losing at least 1315 members, with 1100 injured, while others have put the actual figures around 3000. See, for example, the report by Human Rights Watch,

[11] Including two of the author's closest friends.

[12] The precise number of executed victims is not known, because the Iranian government refuses to even acknowledge that the executions took place. In his memoirs, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri put the number at 2800 - 3800, but acknowledged that it may be imprecise. See, Other activists have put the precise number at 4481. See Thus, such numbers as 30,000, claimed by the MKO, have no basis in truth.

[13] Amnesty International recognizes September 1 as the Day of Political Prisoners, in light of the 1988 executions in Iran.

[14] B. R. Rubin, Post Labor Day Product Rollout: War with Iran, August 27, 2007. See

[15] See, for example, M. Sahimi, U.S. Strategy for Regime Change in Iran;  

[16] One example (and the tip of the iceberg): In May 2004, after the author posted an article in which he criticized the monarchists' harsh treatment of Dr. Shirin Ebadi, he received insulting e-mails from a few "super patriots" (those who consider patriotism as their own private property), and in particular from the well-known female die-hard royalist, insulting him for the article. She was under the illusion that by dispatching the author one or two e-mails full of innuendoes and insults, he would simply abandon his political views that have been formed over three decades. When that did not happen, a monarchist analyst viciously attacked the author by name in his satellite TV program, without even explaining to his viewers the reason. To read that article, see,  

[17] M. Sahimi, The Emergence of a New Axis: Los Angeles/Tel Aviv/Tehran;  

[18] See, M. Sahimi, Traitors, Charlatans, or Patriots? Part I;  Part II is forthcoming.

[19] The author takes such attacks as a badge of honour. As Theodore Roosevelt said,

It is unpatriotic not to tell the truth

even in the face of such attacks.

[20] E. Alterman, The Nation magazine, November 17, 2003, p. 10.

[21] P. Krugman, the New York Times, October 21 and 28, 2003, the op-ed page.

[22] See also, J.J. Mearsheimer and S.M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, London Review of Books, Vol. 26 (No. 6), March 23, 2006. Download the article from  

[23] See, for Mr. Alterman's writings.

[24] E. Alterman, The Nation magazine, March 28, 2005, p. 10. Note that Mr. Alterman is, in his own words, "not only a pretty serious Jew - bar mitzvah, educated in Israel, lights candles on Friday nights, goes to shul, sends kids to Hebrew schools, etc. - but has been writing on Israel and anti-Semitism, speaking in synagogues,...."; see the above article.

[25] Note that in the 1850s there was a political party in the United States called the Know-Nothing Party, which is presumably why Mr. Alterman used "new" in order to describe the know-nothing-ism of the neoconservatives.

[26] Most recently by Mr. Alireza Meybodi, the supposedly "moderate" and "informed" analyst.

[27] As an assistant to a sports reporter, this analyst used to help reporting soccer games on the Iranian TV in the 1970s. Then, in 1980-1981, when he was working in a dry-cleaning store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he reinvented himself as a political analyst.

[28] A. Kamen, Road map in the back seat? the Washington Post, June 27, 2003. See also, J. Raimondo, Bush's satanic verses,  

[29] F. Rich, International Herald Tribune, May 24-25, 2003, p. 20.

[30] For an excellent account of the history and fate of many Iranian intellectuals see, B. Momeni, The Condition of Intellectuals in Iran,  

[31] See also, M. Sahimi, The Sad Story of Censorship in Iran. Part I: Censorship in Contemporary Iran, Hamsaayegaan (in Persian), No. 37 and 38 (January/February, 2006), published in Los Angeles.

[32] See, for example,  

[33] On October 9, 1970, a Boeing 727 of Iran Air with 44 persons abroad was "highjacked" and taken to Baghdad, Iraq. It turned out a few days later that the highjackers were in fact agents of the SAVAK, posing as supporters of General Teymour Bakhtiar who had taken political asylum in Iraq. The agents then murdered Bakhtiar in Iraq.

[34] Bijan Jazani, who was murdered at the age of 38, was a leading leftist intellectual, who contributed greatly to the theory and discussions about how to confront the Shah's regime, including the books, The Thirty Year History of Iran, and, How Armed Struggle Becomes Popular.

[35] To read more about Jazani's life and death, and also those of his commrades see, for example, On the Life and the Work of Bijan Jazani, a Collection of Essays (Khavaran, Paris, 1999).

[36] The first seven were members of People's Fedaaein Guerillas of Iran, founded in February 1971.

[37] The last two were members of the MKO, founded in 1965.

[38] Naderipour was responsible for savagely beating and torturing many political prisoners, including many of the authors' friends and contemporaries in Faculty of Engineering, Tehran University, in the 1970s. He was executed after the Revolution in 1979.

[39] Tehran Keyhan, No. 10714, May 24, 1979 (Khordad 3, 1358).

[40] Tehran Keyhan, April 19, 1975 (Farvardin 30, 1354).

[41] A. A. Alam, The Alam Diary, edited by A. Aalikhani (Maziar Press, Tehran, 2003), volume V, p. 69.

[42] The White House Press Briefing, April 12, 1999.

[43] For Dr. Albright's remarks see,  

[44] J. Risen, The CIA in Iran, the New York Times, April 16, 2000;  See also Ref. [3].

[45] Kermit Roosevelt, Jr.,_Jr.

[46] Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., Counter Coup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran (1979). Its Persian translation was published in Tehran by Jama Publishing House in 1980. See also,  

[47] The Rashidian brothers' father was a wealthy man with much admiration for everything that was British. The MI6 was paying the brothers 10,000 British Pounds/month (a huge sum for that era) to "buy" loyalists for the Shah.

[48] P. Davar Panah, Familiarize Ourselves with the Planners and Executors of the Mordad 28 Coup (in Persian),  

[49] In addition to countless other claims, see, for example, the advertisement by Mr. Ardeshir Zahedi (son-in-law of the Shah, Iran's last Ambassador to the U.S. before the 1979 Revolution, and son of General Mohammad Fazlollah Zahedi, the military leader of the coup) in the New York Times after James Risen's article [44] appeared. See,  

[50] For some of such claims by Tehran's fundamentalists, see, for example,  

For a recent very good article on what happened between Dr. Mossaddegh and Ayatollah Kashani see, for example,   

[51] M. Sahimi, Iranian-American is Twice Victimized, the Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2007.

[52] The author would be delighted to speak to any legitimate and peaceful group, including an Islamic one. But, the fact is, contrary to the claim of the group, he has never spoken to an Islamic group. This is just another lie by this group.

[53] The interview can be downloaded from, for example,
In an interview with Mr. Hossein Hedjazi on KIRN 670 AM radio on Sunday August 26, 2007, Dr. Milani repeated the same doubts about the 1953 coup.

[54] Quoted from, M. Bayat Zadeh, Zarafshan and Milani,  

[55] There have been many articles responding to Dr. Milani's diatribes. See, for example, Ref. [54] and the article by Dr. Nasser Zarafshan,

For articles criticizing Dr. Zarafshan's response to Dr. Milani, or commenting on his article, see, for example,

[56] See, J. Matini, On the Political Legacy of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh (in Persian) (Ketab Corporation, Los Angeles, 2005).

[57] For a response to, and critique of Matini's book see, for example, the article by Mr. Hassan Behgar at  

[58] See Dr. Mossaddegh's entry in Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, for many references on his life and legacy (both pro and con) and the events of 1951-1953.

[59] See, Raah-e Niyaakaan, No. 7, p. 2 (published in London in Persian), where copies of Dr. Nourizadeh's letters to both the Shah and Ayatollah Khomeini were published.

Muhammad Sahimi, the NIOC Chair in petroleum engineering, and professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, has published extensively on Iran's political developments and its nuclear program.

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