Iran - Member of
the Axis of Evil? Part 2
Dorsett Bennett Salem-News.com
When will Americans understand Iran?
Mohammad Mosaddeq was Iran's popular Prime Minister who
was taken out of power by a British/U.S. coup d'etat in support of western
(SALEM, Ore.) - Iran is the 18th largest country in
the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 km², and has a population of over
seventy million. It is a country of special geostrategic significance due to its
central location in Eurasia.
bordered on the north by Armenia,
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
As Iran is a littoral state
of the Caspian Sea, which is an inland sea. Kazakhstan and Russia
are also Iran's
direct neighbors to the north.
The country is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan,
on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf
of Oman, and on the west by Turkey and Iraq. Tehran is the capital, the country's largest
city and the political, cultural, commercial, and industrial center of the
is a regional power, and holds an important position in international energy
security and world economy as a result of its large reserves of petroleum and
The blossoming of Persian literature, philosophy, medicine,
astronomy, mathematics and art became major elements of Muslim civilization and
started with the Saffarids and Samanids.
Iran was once again reunified as an independent state in
1501 by the Safavid dynasty, who promoted Twelver Shi'a Islam as the official
religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in
the history of Islam. "Persia's
Constitutional Revolution" established the nation's first parliament in
1906, within a constitutional monarchy. Iran officially became an Islamic
republic on April 1, 1979, following the Iranian Revolution.
Iran is a
founding member of the UN, NAM,
OIC and OPEC. The political system of Iran, based on the 1979
Constitution, comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The
highest state authority is the Supreme Leader. Shia Islam is the official
religion and Persian is the official language.
The contribution of Iranians to the common Muslim
civilization is succinctly summarized by Ibn Khaldun:
“It is a remarkable fact that, with few exceptions, most
Muslim scholars both in the religious and intellectual sciences have been
non-Arabs ... Thus the founders of grammar were Sibawaih and, after him,
al-Farisi and az-Zajjaj. All of whom were of Persian descent. They were brought
up in the Arabic language and acquired knowledge of it through their upbringing
and through contact with Arabs. They invented the rules [of grammar] and made
it into a discipline for later generations. Most of the Hadith scholars, who
preserved traditions of the Prophet for the Muslims also were Persians, or
Persian in language and breeding because the discipline was widely cultivated
and regions beyond. Furthermore, all the great jurists were Persians, as is
well-known. The same applies to speculative theologians and to most of the
Qu'ran commentators. Only the Persians engaged in the task of preserving
knowledge and writing systematic scholarly works. Thus the truth of the
statement of the Prophet becomes apparent; if learning were suspended at the
highest parts of heaven the Persians would attain it... This situation
continued in the cities as long as the Persians and Persian countries, the ' Iraq ,
Khurasan, and Transoxiana, retained their sedentary culture.”
In 1925, Reza Khan overthrew the weakening Qajar Dynasty and
became Shah. Reza Shah initiated industrialization, railroad construction, and
the establishment of a national education system. Reza Shah sought to balance
Russian and British influence, but when World War II started, his nascent ties
to Germany alarmed Britain and Russia. In 1941, Britain and the USSR
to use Iranian railroad capacity during World War II. The Shah was forced to
abdicate in favour of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
In 1951 Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh was elected prime minister.
As prime minister, Mossadegh became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran’s oil
In response, Britain
embargoed Iranian oil and, amidst Cold War fears, invited the United States
to join in a plot to depose Mossadegh, and in 1953 President Dwight D.
Eisenhower authorized Operation Ajax.
The operation was successful, and Mossadegh was arrested on
August 19, 1953. After Operation Ajax, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's rule became
With American support, the Shah was able to rapidly
modernize Iranian infrastructure, but he simultaneously crushed all forms of
political opposition with his intelligence agency, SAVAK. Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini became an active critic of the Shah's White Revolution and publicly
denounced the government.
Khomeini was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After
his release in 1964 Khomeini publicly criticized the United States government. The Shah
was persuaded to send him into exile by General Hassan Pakravan. Khomeini was
sent first to Turkey, then
to Iraq and finally to France. While
in exile, he continued to denounce the Shah.
Here is part one in this series: Iran: Member of the Axis of Evil?
Part 1 - Dorsett Bennett Salem-News.com
Dorsett Bennett is a disabled and recently retired lawyer
who moved to Salem
in October 2008. Politically and historically aware since age 12, he was a
moderate to liberal Republican from 1971 until 2004, and now considers himself
an Independent/Libertarian. Seth says much of his writing conveys his belief
that in reality, the federal government does not follow the Constitution. He
says it should leave other governmental powers up to the citizens of the
individual states, rather than to concentrate power in Washington DC;
where the Military-Industrial (and now Political) Complex has bankrupted the
nation and unconstitutionally regulates all of us; even those few who do
actually know better. To quote the iconic cartoon character Charlie Brown,
"Good Grief." Bennett says he is self-aware enough to admit that he
has beliefs or positions that can be considered to be either liberal or