In Presence of the Sun (99)
Today we are going to continue reviewing the root causes of the Islamic Revolution with elaborations of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
The collapse of monarchial system of government in Iran and shaping of Islamic government had different root causes. As it was mentioned in the previous episode, in the view of Ayatollah Khamenei, the intensive dependence of Pahlavi kings on the west, especially the US and Britain, and their lack of authority in important decision-makings were some of the most outstanding reasons for the collapse of the Pahlavi rule. Utter subservience to the west and all-out effort for fulfillment of their demands had caused the Iranian kings to ignore their nation and sacrifice the nation before the western interests.
Furthermore, the Pahlavi monarchs would widen the gap between their culture and the national culture on a daily basis in a vain bid to replace the native culture and values with the decadent culture of the west.
The Pahlavi monarchs considered women as abject creatures and believed that woman is a tool at the service of man. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi explicitly said in an interview that a woman is a tool in the hand of man so that her beauties are paid further attention.
Another cause for the collapse of the Pahlavi monarchy was the intensive suffocation that it had created so that nobody dared criticize the ruling system. With the formation of the notorious SAVAK security organization in 1957 the trend of suffocation and suppression was escalated by the regime. This security organization was set up with the aim of preservation of the monarchial system with the help and training of the US and British intelligence services. However, in the ensuing years the spying and terrorist outfit of the Zionist regime of Israel, Mossad, was a major factor in training and equipping the SAVAK. For 22 years this dreadful organization played a major role in suppressing any dissident voice. The tortures and crimes committed by this agency were all in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Ayatollah Khamenei says, “Both Reza Khan and Mohammad Reza came to power through coup d’état. It is clear what kind of government the coup government is: they were imposed over the people; and there was no trace of the people’s opinions, people’s likings, people’s culture and their demand and will. They would attach no respect to the people’s opinions, people’s demand, people’s beliefs, people’s religion and people’s culture. They had no close and friendly relation with the people. It was a hostile relation. It was the relation of master and subject; the relation of master and servant. It was kingdom after all! This is the meaning of kingdom and monarchy. It means a totalitarian rule which has no commitment before the people. The Pahlavi family lived in this way in our country for 5o years…. The university, the intellectual current, the magazine and newspaper, the parliament and government were all cosmetic. It was only the current of religion, which was a public and popular current, that was real; but it was considered with animosity and hatred.”
Another reason of the Pahlavi rulers’ collapse was the backwardness of the country in science and industry and the deprivation of people of their basic needs and welfare. Reza Khan and his son Mohammad Reza were besotted with the luxuries and pomp of the west to the extent that they propagated “we cannot” and “we must take everything from the west”.
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution elaborates, “During the Pahlavi era one of the most common propagandas was ‘we cannot’. The result of such a mindset was that the heads of the tyrannical regime spent the wealth of this clever, chivalrous and brave nation which has deep roots in civilization and sciences for purchasing warplanes from America. When a part of a plane was flawed the Iranian engineer or technician had no right to open the part and try to remove the flaw; because the parts were composite; i.e. at times a part of a plane was composed of 10 interconnected parts. Thus, the flawed part had to be opened and sent by plane to the manufacturer and seller- which was mainly America. Then, they would deliver the flawed part and buy a new part and return! Why did the Iranian engineers not have the right to touch the flawed part of the plane? Because they would be told: ‘None of your business? These things are related to the foreign specialists. Don’t meddle at all and do not even approach such things!’ This is the humiliation of a nation, anyway”.
In view of Ayatollah Khamenei, injustice, that was rampant all over the country, was another cause for the collapse of Pahlavi regime. During the era of Reza Khan, who was famous as Bullying Reza Khan, confiscation of farms and lands was put on the Shah’s agenda. In the beginning, Reza Khan had little wealth or land. But with the spread of his power, he seized vast swathes of farms in the most fertile regions of the country and accumulated gargantuan wealth. Through various methods, such as confiscation of real estates and properties, seizure of the properties whose owners were unknown, coercive purchase of real estates at very low prices and acceptance of presents from sycophantic persons, Reza Khan turned into the greatest landowner of the country. Sending his officers to the north of the country, he would order them to seize for him any favorable land they found. A famous paper of that time wrote on those bitter and bleak days, “The miserable farmers and peasants of northern Iran had been put in such circumstances that they had neither shoes nor clothes nor rice. Like the pre-historic humans they sit in dark till morning due to the inability to buy oil.”
Reza Khan would employ as vassals the real landowners on their farms after seizing their lands. This is clear manifestation of exploitation. Another newspaper of that era wrote, “The ordinary people are forced to cover scores of kilometers with their personal expense to work for the lord. The hired agents of Reza Khan, too, would treat them with whips and batons. Laborers have to sleep at stables and get up early in the morning. Most of them are hungry. If one of them expresses his illness he would receive lashes so that he dies and gets rid of the cruel agents. In addition to all these oppressions, their women are at stake, too; for, the Shah has imposed his agents on the soul, property and women of people.”
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi continued his father’s policies in different forms so that the public was enraged. Thus, when the people heard the call of Imam Khomeini, they felt that they had found a great savior. Ayatollah Khamenei says in this regard, “What the war inflicted upon this nation was by far lesser than what the Pahlavi family had inflicted during successive years. When in 1962 the call of Imam Khomeini was vociferated people gave vent to their sorrow. People had a lump in their throat for scores of years. Some had got used to that condition. But many had a lump in their throat. The Imam’s word touched the hearts favorably.”